For the first time in nearly twenty years, Delhi Laine’s family is whole. But that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. With no proof to condemn her daughter’s kidnappers, Delhi’s family is forced to share Elisa with her “adopted” parents. But when they suddenly perish in a mysterious house fire, Elisa is heartbroken…and Delhi’s husband, Colin, is charged with their murder. Delhi knows it’s up to her to prove his innocence, but the deeper she digs, the more it becomes evident that nothing is as it seems. When Elisa goes missing, Delhi fears her nightmare may be repeating itself. If she can’t clear Colin’s name and find Elisa again, there may not be another chance. Twenty years ago she lost her daughter…if she fails now, she might lose everything—and everyone—she holds dear.
Quite often, when I think of my life as hard, I come across a character in a book who, while fictional, has a life far worse than mine. Delhi Laine is one such person. I can't even imagine going through what she did when one of her young twin daughters was kidnapped. And then those people, who raised her Elisa as their own, die in a house fire with most people, including Elisa, blaming Colin for their deaths.
A Bookmarked Death is the 4th installment of the "Secondhand Prose Series". It all started with A Novel Death and An Illustrated Death, which dealt more with Delhi's business of rare books. In the third book of the series, A Photographic Death, (which I reviewed last year) the focus is more on what happened to Dehli's family when their daughter was kidnapped nineteen years previously.
I liked how Ms. Culbertson brought out the ethical dilemma faced by Delhi and Colin, They weren't dancing up and down with glee that their daughter's kidnappers had died, but they weren't in mourning for them either. I would be hard-pressed not to have a similar reaction to someone who had stolen one of my children.
Of course, it couldn't have been easy for Elisa either. She had found out that the people she believed were her mother and father were not, and she then knew how they had come to 'include her in their family'. But they had treated her well, and to lose people for whom you had cared for so long in such a grizzly manner, that's something "I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy", as they say.
For those who like their stories all tied up with the ribbons and bows of a happy ending, I cannot provide you with such a gift. Not that I wouldn't like to, but I don't do spoilers, and I cannot deprive you of indulging yourself to this very real, very well-written story. Enjoy.
Judi Culbertson draws on her experience as a used-and-rare book dealer, social worker, and world traveler to create her bibliophile mysteries. No stranger to cemeteries, she also co-authored five illustrated guides with her husband, Tom Randall, starting with Permanent Parisians. She lives in Port Jefferson, New York, with her family.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)