When he got there, he thought it was a waste of time — all theory and no practice. Since leaving Ireland for London in his early 20s, Scott has spent most of his adult life in England. But recently, he bought himself a house in Dublin, a city he says he has come to realise is much more than a home. For a long time, he felt alienated from Ireland — associating it with the Catholic church, bigotry and archaic views on homosexuality and abortion. England, he thought, was a relatively progressive, liberal country, but not any more.
Brexit is a factor, he says. The development of Ireland. The emancipation of Ireland. I find it very moving. And that has certainly dissipated. For me it began with the marriage referendum in Then last year we had the abortion referendum. For once the words just pour out. It would have been under the surface and I always felt loved. But I definitely came over here to have some breathing space and find out who I could be.
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When the marriage referendum happened, I bought a little house in Dublin. I had a real feeling of wanting to be involved in Ireland, and Irish culture, and the Irish people. Was he angry with Ireland? He answers in the present tense. Unbelievable abuse, extraordinary abuse, and priests having affairs with people, and the damage is limitless. What did he feel shame and guilt about? Or that you can live a life less ordinary and still have the attributes of kindness and compassion and community.
Is he still Catholic? I give him a look. Are his parents Catholic? I was brought up Catholic. So you are disowning your Catholicism? A lot of my family are Catholic, and I totally respect that. I really found myself in being able to embrace those thoughts and still be a good person.
The Dirty Book Murder (Rare Book Mystery, #1) by Thomas Shawver
In a world of innovation, I feel we lack innovation when it comes to sexuality and relationships. When did he first say out loud that he was not Catholic? He bursts out laughing. Normally I would say I was brought up Catholic, and actually why do I have to say that? Does he feel different for saying it out loud? Do I look different? I ask if his parents are liberal. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In this smart, fast-paced mystery debut, Thomas Shawver introduces a charming, unlikely hero from the rarefied world of antique books.
Book merchant Michael Bevan arrives at the Kansas City auction house hoping to uncover some hidden literary gold. Though the auction ad had mentioned erotica, Michael is amazed to find lovely Japanese Shunga scrolls and a first edition of a In this smart, fast-paced mystery debut, Thomas Shawver introduces a charming, unlikely hero from the rarefied world of antique books. Though the auction ad had mentioned erotica, Michael is amazed to find lovely Japanese Shunga scrolls and a first edition of a novel by French author Colette with an inscription by Ernest Hemingway.
The Clue in the Old Album
This one item alone could fetch a small fortune in the right market. As Michael and fellow dealer Gareth Hughes are warming up for battle, a stranger comes out of nowhere and outbids them—to the tune of sixty grand. But Gareth is unwilling to leave the auction house empty-handed, so he steals two volumes, including the Colette novel. Now the attorney-turned-bookman must find out who wanted the Colette so badly that they would kill for it—and frame Michael.
Unfortunately for Michael, one dead book dealer is only the opening chapter in a terrifying tale of high culture and lowlifes. Get A Copy. More Details Rare Book Mystery 1. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Dirty Book Murder , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Dirty Book Murder.
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More filters. Sort order. Mar 26, Jenna rated it liked it Shelves: to-review , netgalley. Michael Bevan was getting his life in order and ironing out the kinks in his marriage when his life fell completely apart. After attending a party together and consuming too much alcohol, his wife insisted that they leave and of course that she drive. It was this ride home that would change the course or Mike's life as well as his daughter.
While Mike was passed out in the car, his wife apparently fell asleep at the wheel and ran off of the road and she died due to head injuries. Living with thi Michael Bevan was getting his life in order and ironing out the kinks in his marriage when his life fell completely apart. Living with this guilt, Mike soon turns to booze as his only means of coping and unable to care for his daughter, he sends her off to be raised by other family members, which eventually puts an enormous wedge right in the middle of their relationship, or lack thereof.
With his new full-time job of being inebriated, it isn't long before he is disbarred and forced to hit rock bottom. Eventually he somewhat gets his life in order to persue a career as an antiquarian and opens a small shop in town. After learning of some rare Japanese erotica that will be auctioned off, he goes in with the feeling that he is the only one vying for their ownership only to discover that two other acquantances of his are there as well. They all make an agreement to go in together but are soon outbid by a mysteriously auspicious-looking man.
But one of his fellow acquanances Gareth pockets two of the books before leaving. Mike later confronts Gareth at a local pub and all hell breaks loose and their night ends on the sidewalk outside of the pub after punches were thrown. They eventually talk it out and I guess you could say that they made up and went on their merry ways, both drunk.
After Gareth is found dead the following morning, all eyes turn to Mike who was last seen with him, and fighting with him, for that matter. Mike soon goes on a mission to figure out who could have killed Gareth and in search of a way to clear his name. I thought that this was a nice read. I am in the middle with it, not overly excited and not overly disappointed. I don't read that many mysteries so I find it hard to get into them as much as the avid mystery conisseur. I would recommend this read to friends and I know many mystery readers who would enjoy this one.
Feb 21, Judy Lesley rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery. Did I enjoy it? Do I want to read the next book in the series? Did this one have subject matter that surprised and bothered me? To begin with, the cover of this novel just might give a false impression. It looks kind of cutely harmless and yet the subject matter goes from standard mystery fare to really dark and difficult to read about. I have a hard time enjoying reading novels dealing with torture for sexual gratification but that is what I found here.
Yet on the other hand, it was very difficult for me to believe this was a debut novel by Thomas Shawver because the result here is very polished and articulate, well plotted and well written. Plus this author wrote about what he knows from his life experiences which gives his subject matter a huge feeling of authenticity when he talks about old or rare books and being an attorney as well as time served in the military.
My expectation was to read about the antiquarian book trade where someone had some highly valuable erotica for sale and that lead to a murder. That was partially correct, but only to get the whole story started. So be aware, these are definitely not cookie-cutter characters. They change from good to bad to purely evil in a way that sneaks up on you as you read. As I think about the book now it is easy to see that most of the characters are really damaged individuals and the overall tone of the novel is actually dark.
If you are expecting to get a novel of sweet, fluffy characters sitting around a table in a second-hand bookstore sharing gossip and chocolate chip cookies, you will be very surprised, perhaps even disappointed. And who knew there was such an Irish centered community in Kansas City, Missouri? Certainly that came as another aspect of the novel that kept me a little off kilter. Kansas City is wonderfully described, by the way, and you will definitely feel as if you are right there where the action is taking place. I was curious about Shawver as an author and wanted to read his novel.
What I found was unexpected and, yes, surprising. The opinions expressed are my own. View all 4 comments. Jan 15, Sandy rated it liked it Shelves: suspense , contemporary-fiction , humour. Turns out being an antiquarian can be fatal to your health It provides a modest existence where his biggest challenges are dealing with employees Violet, a bitter woman who lost her own store in a 3. His earlier life in the fast lane cost him everything. Daughter Anne, now 20, was raised by her grandparents in England but is attending U of Colorado on Mike's dime.
That's the only thing she accepts from him. She's currently dating Bob Langston, a has been Hollywood director on the comeback trail, 30 years her senior. He's perusing the paper one day when he notices an ad for a local book auction that includes rare Japanese erotica. He figures not many people will know what they're actually worth but arrives to find two old competitors in attendance.
Richard Chezik is a sneaky, lowlife dealer who has stolen books from Mike's store in the past. But his crap day is about to get a lot worse. Gareth walks away, the last time Mike sees him alive. On a jog the next morning, Mike is drawn to a crowd gathered by the bridge. On the bank below, he watches as police drag Gareth's pulverized body from the water.
And lying nearby is a hurling stick covered in blood Worse, the detective running the scene is Lt. Buford Higgins, an old nemesis from his days as a defence lawyer. And so it begins. The book is written in the first person so we get the story from Mike's point of view. And there's quite a variety.
But not everyone is who they appear to be. May 26, Liviania rated it really liked it. The murders are mercifully briefly described, but there is sex and drugs and sexualized torture. It's set in a close-knit part of Kansas City, with an unlikely detective: the local used and antiquarian bookstore owner. Of course, he's also a former Marine and lawyer with past alcohol and drug problems who still likes going out to the pub and getting a bit rowdy. It's an unusual mix that I suspect will greatly appeal to readers who have been looking for something like it.
The plot kicks off when Michael Bevan goes to an auction that advertised some rare erotica. It soon turns into a heated battle between him, two known dealers, and a strange man clearly there on behalf of someone else. While the lot goes for tens of thousands of dollars, one of the dealers steals two of the most valuable books. He's dead by the next day, and Michael is the most likely suspect.
He sets off to clear his name and finds that there is much more at stake than two rare books. There is still a lot of character setup, putting people into place such as former and future loves for the inevitable sequels. I think some of the character work went too quickly, leading to some of Michael's most important relationships coming off very shallowly and strange.
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And, well, I found most of the characters unlikeable. I really found the way that Michael intrudes on his daughter's personal life to be uncomfortable, even if she is dating a much older man. It didn't help the other descriptions of women that make Michael come off as pretty sexist. I don't, however, need the characters to be likeable in a murder mystery. Most of the characters are people capable of murder, after all.
But it was definitely a point away from the "cozy" side of the equation. I particularly liked the scenes about valuing books and running the shops. It's an intriguing look into the ongoing life of books. And there's a mention of the Ransom Center at my alma mater, guaranteed to make me smile. Michael's career is more than just set dressing, and the book is better for it.
View 2 comments. May 11, Marlene rated it really liked it. Originally published at Reading Reality Dirty books, dirty politics, dirty money. But in this mystery, they all lead to the same place and the same dirty people. Kansas City bookman Michael Bevan has a used book store that keeps him mostly out of trouble.
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And Michael needs to be kept out of trouble, because he let himself into much too much of it when he was the lawyer for most of the shady Originally published at Reading Reality Dirty books, dirty politics, dirty money. And Michael needs to be kept out of trouble, because he let himself into much too much of it when he was the lawyer for most of the shady operators in town. Sampling too much of the illegal merchandise on offer got him disbarred.
But he discovers that bookselling can be way more interesting, and dangerous, than he ever imagined. He has hopes of getting into the antique book trade by scooping up a single lot of rare erotica at an auction. Along the way, Bevan is accused of murdering one of his rivals, and discovers that his adult daughter is using drugs. His life only gets messier when he gets involved with a local reporter who may either be one of the criminals, one of the investigators, or both.
The worst part is that the murder has nothing to do with dirt in the books. Secrets that are worth killing for. The concept is similar, a used book dealer with an interesting past finds himself investigating crimes that involve rare books. Booklovers will find The Dirty Book Murder a treat. The story gets into both the provenance of a couple of very particular, and valuable books, but the murder is about the secrets that someone hid inside one of those books.
Enough to bring down some careers. There are some very thick plot-strands in this story; who framed Michael for the first murder, who wants the blackmail material, and who is the murder. As bodies start piling up, there seems to be more than one. Michael is interesting but not always a sympathetic character.
He seems to have screwed up a lot in his life, and is barely keeping it together. He has lots of acquaintances but no one is close. The ultimate villain and there definitely is one is pretty much batshit-crazy. This particular person turning out to be the prime mover of events seemed a bit over the top. Aug 18, Debbie rated it really liked it Shelves: ebooks , net-galley-books. I requested this book because I discovered it was the prequel to a book I had just received. I inadvertently saw a review from someone who said they couldn't finish the book because of the sexual matter.
However, while the subject matter does involve erotica and it is touched on, there are not pages and pages of heavy breathing, groping, etc. It describes sexual acts, but doesn't make you read through them. That being said, I really liked this book. It was definitely suspenseful and kept my attention as I raced through it.
I'm really glad I have the sequel already because I don't want to stop reading about this character. Cuba is now supported by societies the societies in which the film has circulated, in addition to the United States that are characterized by economic and social liberalism that could hardly tolerate the persecution of sexual freedoms the film acknowledges support from Mexican and Spanish film entities, as well as from Robert Redford, who has taken a special interest in Cuban filmmaking.
I will have more to say about the importance of the particular period in which the film is made, as well as the significance of this historical distance. On both these levels, there are ideological problems that must be addressed. These problems have to do with the horizons of coherence with respect to sexual practices at the level of the circumstances in which the characters of the film are immersed, and they have to do with what the film conceives, through its strategic handling of the story of those lives, of the possibilities of relating same-sex relationships to the postrevolutionary "hombre nuevo," a strategic phrase that appears in the title of the Senel Paz short story on which the film is based.
On the level of the story being told, the film subscribes to a series of ideological assumptions that it, it reduplicates them that characterize fundamental assumptions regarding sexuality and the parameters of same sex relations, even while at the same time it is satirizing many of them toward presumably forging a critique that might induce their revision, while enveloping everything to a delightful degree in a broadly picaresque Cuban sense of humor. The film turns on the desire of Diego, a minor cultural bureaucrat, to seduce David, a serious university student, apparently firmly committed to the principles of the Juventud Comunista Communist Youth.
Diego has taken photographs of David in a production of The Doll's House , and he hopes that offering David these photographs will draw him into a relationship one suspects subsequently that these photographs never existed, since, after all, David never obtains them from Diego.
Since places at the table are limited, Diego joins David, who is sitting alone at a table, and attempts to put his plan of seduction into action. An additional detail is to display in full view on the table books that are impossible to obtain in Cuba i. In this way, the film recycles a set of Latin American stereotypes that eventually become problematical for the film.
The most significant one is the disjunction between the straight man and the flamboyant homosexual. David, as played by Vladimir Cruz, is almost grimly straight. Although he has a boyish body, he is fully conscious of the heterosexist responsibility of being a man, with an intense and forthright gaze that brooks no doubt from the other as to his fulfillment of a prescribed inventory of features in appearance, bearing, and speech that conform to patriarchal norms.
Under the circumstances, given the sexual hygiene that was integral to the Juventud, this is equivalent of flashing a marriage band under the nose of one's seducer: in a homosexual context, it means that one is not available; in a same-sex context, it is the suggestion of the brass knuckles awaiting the queer 1 tempter in the homophobic violence that is the only appropriate response to the insistent come-on. David, however, is still interested in the photographs Diego has, and thus he remains engaged in conversation with the latter, while also at the same time barely refraining from converting his request for the photos into a threatening demand.
Toward this end, Fresa implicitly mocks David's attitudes, and the rhetoric of the film's language tends to convince the audience of the ridiculousness of his behavior: his phobic horror of Diego's come-on and the transparency of his attempts to engage him seductively, the franticness with which he is on guard against the possibilities of further seduction when he does agree to go to Diego's apartment including the way in which he is made the butt of Diego's joking reference, in the collective taxi upon arriving at his house, to David as "Papito" "Daddy" ; the joke is picked up by one of the other passengers in the cab ; his alarm when he finds homoerotic icons in Diego's apartment; the comic.
Of particular interest is the way in which the film implies a critique of David's duplicitous when he decides to pretend to be Diego's friend at Manuel's suggestion in order to get the goods on the subversive faggot. This is a particularly noteworthy detail of the film, because it underscores the possibility of consciousness of two crucial facts. The first concerns how the repugnant nature of the disingenuousness of the practices whereby the straight set out to entrap the queer, out of the belief that the queer is so repugnant, so vile, so injurious to public well-being that no attempt to identify them and liquidate them can lie beyond the pale of what is morally or ethically acceptable: given the horror same-sex desire and its practices, no act of betrayal can be so grossly unjust as to be reproachable.
Thus, when David subsequently warms to Diego's person, when a true bond of friendship but never homoerotic love? The second matter at issue here is countermanding the way in which queers are allegedly duplicitous in their conquest of straight men. The assumption appears to be that because straight men possess a sane and healthy sexuality, they can only be gotten to through subterfuge and deceit they must be tricked into yielding up their healthy manhood to the corruption of the queer.
However, these are fun and games by comparison to the betrayal of friendship that David agrees with Manuel to participate in so as to trap Diego and more effectively to denounce him to the authorities. Thus, David returns to Diego's apartment, ostensibly in search of the promised banned books and ostensibly to progressively thaw out in his icy distance from Diego.
The interpersonal dynamics of David's stringing Diego along requires David to accept Diego's offer of black market, U. What makes this jump cut a source for the ridiculousness of David's behavior is that, in passing, the only real action of homoerotic behavior of the entire film takes place at this juncture: the two men are in their underwear and, after holding David's head under the cold water faucet, Miguel playfully slaps him on the buttocks, exclaiming at how nice and chubby his culito ass has become.
Given the fact that Diego never touches David of his own accord, this bit of homosocial bonding, built around the ritual of the good buddy helping one through the rough spots of a bad hangover, cannot help but be read as the film's further attempt to underscore the ridiculousness of the soberly straight line David attempts to sustain in conformance with Manuel's recommendations.
There is, however, another framing of David's mentality that is even more slyly critical than the representation of his reaction to Diego's attempts to seduce him, and that is the way in which, even before Diego appears on the scene, the first ten? The film opens with David and his girlfriend Vivian having just arrived at a seedy hotel where lovers go to resolve the perennial problem of a lack of any other private space in which to make love. Although Daniel is determined to have sex with Vivian and is further encouraged in his desire by the scene in the next room he spies on through a peep hole he accidentally discovers while Vivian goes to the bathroom, he is quickly confused by her "All you want is to have sex with me speech.
This scene is designed to provoke the first outburst of laughter from the audience, because it is obvious that poor David completely loses himself in the sexual script her is expected to follow, with the result is that he blows his opportunity to assert his machismo and, thereby, to have sex with the very willing Vivian, who, after all, is only following the social script assigned to her not to be sexually aggressive, but rather to be virginally reticent. The camera cuts to Vivian's splendid wedding day, teasing with the audience as to the identity of her bridegroom.
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