03 April 2014

The Haunted Bookshop

Summary from Goodreads:
Volumes disappear and reappear on the shelves, but the ghosts of literature aren’t the only mysterious visitors in Roger Mifflin’s haunted bookshop.

Mifflin, who hawked books out of the back of his van in Christopher Morley’s beloved Parnassus on Wheels, has finally settled down with his own secondhand bookstore in Brooklyn. There, he and his wife, Helen, are content to live and work together, prescribing literature to those who hardly know how much they need it. When Aubrey Gilbert, a young advertising man, visits the shop, he quickly falls under the spell of Mifflin’s young assistant, Titania. But something is amiss in the bookshop, something Mifflin is too distracted to notice, and Gilbert has no choice but to take the young woman’s safety into his own hands. Her life—and the Mifflins’—may depend on it.

With a deep respect for the art of bookselling, and as much flair for drama as romance, Christopher Morley has crafted a lively, humorous tale for book lovers everywhere.

Finally catching up with the Mifflins now that they've settled in Brooklyn with Roger's bookshop.  The Haunted Bookshop is the "Parnassus at Home" and is (metaphorically) haunted by the ghosts of authors and books.  A strange idea to the young ad-man, Aubrey Gilbert, who stops by the shop looking to sell an advertising account.  He strikes up a friendship with Roger Mifflin and begins returning to the bookshop, particularly when a disappearing-reappearing-advertised as lost copy of Cromwell's Letters and Speeches raises his suspicions.  Aubrey further decides to keep an eye on the shop once he meets Roger's new clerk, Miss Titania Chapman (daughter of a businessman with an enormous advertising account at Aubrey's firm), and is smitten.

Through misguided attempts at safety, ill-advised house-breaking, and a terrorist sub-plot worthy of the television show 24, Roger Mifflin's love of books shines through.  From Morley's charming introduction to Roger's assertion that each book sold is an advertisement for the shop to the Corn Cob Club's ruminations to the entirety of Chapter IX (where Roger writes a long, winding letter to his brother-in-law about words and reading), The Haunted Bookshop is a lovely short novel for booklovers everywhere.  Even as our book formats change, the love of words remains.

Dear FTC: I purchased my copy through Melville House's Art of the Novella subscription.

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