Perez-Reverte, Arturo. The Club Dumas. Harvest Books, 1993, 362 p.

Lucas Corso is asked to verify the authenticity of a previously unknown manuscript that seems to have been written by Alexander Dumas. The manuscript is a chapter for the serialization of The Three Musketeers, which appeared in a French magazine in the 18th century. Soon enough Corso is given another job. This time he is given one of three extant copies of book condemned by the Inquisition in the 16th century and whose author was burned at the stake. After several assault attempts, Corso wonders how the books are tied together and who is out to do him in.

Perez-Reverte took me on a ride full of unexpected twists and turns. He explores the darker corners of the rare book world, taking the reader along to meet the wealthy and the obsessed who inhabit this world. Full of sly references to many other authors and books, this book will keep you guessing until the end. Then it doesn't so much tie up all the loose ends as leave you the opportunity to create your own ending.

Picking this up at a local bookstore, I was expecting a literate kind of DaVinci Code. Boy, was I wrong. I guarantee you'll be taken by surprise as Perez-Reverte tosses out all the rules of writing a mystery story.


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