Once Upon a Spine – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

I’m thrilled to be reviewing Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle today! Once Upon a Spine is the 11th book in the Bibliophile Mystery series and it surpassed Ripped from the Pages as my favorite in the series!

Book Cover: Once Upon a Spine: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle - background is the front window of a bookshop - in the foreground are a wrought iron table and chair with a teapot & cups/saucers on the table along with a cat. On the chair is a copy of "Alice in Wonderland"

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line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
©Graphic Garden


San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright stumbles through the looking glass in a tale of murder, rare books, and a quest for the perfect pie.

Brooklyn’s oh-so-proper future in-laws are traveling from England to meet her, and if that’s not enough to set her on edge, rumors abound that the charming Courtyard Shops across the street may be replaced by high-rise apartments. Their trendy neighborhood will be ruined unless Brooklyn and her fiancé, Derek Stone, can persuade the shopkeepers not to sell.

But with a rare edition of Alice in Wonderland causing bad blood at the Brothers Bookshop and a string of petty vandalism making everyone nervous, Brooklyn and Derek feel like they’re attempting six impossible things before breakfast. Then the owner of the Rabbit Hole juice bar is felled by his own heavy shelves, and the local cobbler lies dead beside him. An accident . . . or something more sinister? Things get curiouser and curiouser when a second priceless copy of Alice is discovered. Will it stir up more trouble within the close-knit community?

As the Brits descend, Brooklyn learns they’re not so stuffy after all. Derek’s dad is won over with chocolate cream pie, and his psychic mum would kill to help Brooklyn solve this murder before another victim takes a tumble.

line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
©Graphic Garden


Once Upon a Spine is absolutely delightful! Kate Carlisle has worked her magic once again and provided us with a fun-filled mystery with down-to-earth characters, exciting plots, and fascinating sub-plots!

This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and it’s because I just absolutely love the characters. Brooklyn and Derek are one of my favorite fictional couples and they always come with a host of lovable, quirky secondary characters. This book is no exception as we meet Derek’s parents for the first time. They’re just as fun-loving and quirky as Brooklyn’s parents and the two sets get along wonderfully!

We learn about a new area of Brooklyn & Derek’s neighborhood in this book. The setting descriptions were terrific. I was able to imagine the area thoroughly and yet I didn’t feel like Ms. Carlisle had gone overboard in her descriptions.

The book pace is steady to semi-fast. I felt that it moved along faster than other books in the series, but it wasn’t so fast that you get confused about what’s happening. The prose flows well from one section to another without awkward transitions.

All in all, this book is absolutely wonderful! I HIGHLY recommend it, but if you’re new to the series, I suggest starting with the first book, Homicide in Hardcover, as it will provide you with much-needed back story on the interpersonal relationships of the series. Check it out today!

line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
©Graphic Garden

7 thoughts on “Once Upon a Spine – REVIEW

  1. Okay, so I have not yet begun the series, and I was mainly attracted, upon coming across your post, of the cover (I mean, a cat sitting in front of a bookshop!!! *cuteness overload* !), but your review is absolutely delightful!
    The series sounds absolutely delightful and could perhaps be just what I need to help me out of my reading slump! A mystery, a bookshop, allusions to Alice in Wonderland??? So much to fall in love with!
    Definitely will be adding to my every increasing TBR pile!
    Thanks for sharing and happy reading to ya 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds really charming actually and you had me at rare Alice In Wonderland. I love storylines that surround bookstores, sounds like the pacing is spot on as well. Wonderful review, really enjoyed it and lovely to meet you through the #SFATW

    Liked by 1 person

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