By: William LeRoy
Publisher: Mossik Press
Publication Date: April 1, 2022
Reviewed by Diane Lunsford
Review Date: May 27, 2022
Case of a Puzzling Book by William LeRoy takes the reader on a whimsical path of whodunits full of twists and turns along the way.
Popo Crowder owns the Twisted Sister Coffeehouse in the unassuming small town of Henryetta, Oklahoma. In addition to the purchase of a cup of coffee, patrons can select a free book from the shop’s library book exchange. There are lots of genres to choose from ranging from erotic to literary fiction. However, Popo’s twin sister Eppie does not necessarily see eye-to-eye when it comes to the content of said free books. Eppie frowns when it comes to the ‘literary’ titles offered up. This notion motivates Eppie and her ‘group’ to edit books of questionable nature. This alone is fodder for strong differences of opinions between the sisters. A rift akin to the ‘Hatfield’s and McCoy’s’ is alive and well between the sisters and is the backdrop for the mystery that unfolds.
Imagine Popo’s curiosity when a stranger takes Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence and in exchange leaves The Same Old Story by William LeRoy. This in and of itself should not raise eyebrows. However, Popo is confused when she flips through the pages of Lady Chatterley’s Lover only to discover words and complete sentences missing from select pages in the book. Popo decides to hire private detective Maximo “Max” Morgan to investigate the mystery. It is only fitting that Max’s role model is private eye Brad Runyon; the character created by novelist Dashiell Hammet. Max’s proposition is to dive deeper into the oddity of what Popo believes was intentional degradation of the literary work The Same Old Story. Only time and Max’s true ‘gumshoe’ detective work will solve the mystery of these happenstances.
William LeRoy serves up a fantastic novel with a terrific blend (and balance) of plot twists and turns that compel his audience to pay close attention. There are three different voices sharing the spotlight (Popo, Eppie, and Detective Morgan). I find this fascinating that Mr. LeRoy has managed to breathe equal life and depth into each character. There is a delightful journey of multifaceted layers applied to each unique personality. Not only do the descriptions complement, but there is a tone of individuality identified that moves the story and pace forward. There is a sister rivalry that plays out throughout the read that brought a smile to my face often given I have two sisters of my own and therefore could relate. While there are several passages to select; early on, Mr. LeRoy does a superb job of nailing the opposite ends of the spectrum the sisters occupy—Popo being the renegade and Eppie, hands down, the prim and proper do-gooder: “…Entering the dining room and finding Eppie already primly seated at table, she further relished the prospect of wiping the bright-eyed, self-satisfied smirk from her sister’s face…” Priceless! Mr. LeRoy sprinkles nuggets like this through this entire read highlighting the diverse personalities of these sisters! This is quite the engaging and enjoyable read.
Quill says: Case of a Puzzling Book is an intriguing read and just when you think you have solved the ‘mystery’ ...think again.