If you like to spend time in bookstores, or enjoy mysteries, you will be captivated by this smart, twisty novel. You also will find out that lonely regulars who spend many hours perusing bookshelves are called -- "BookFrogs" by this author; an interesting term.
The story begins as Lydia, a clerk in the Bright Ideas Bookstore, is starting to close for the night. All of a sudden she hears books being dropped from the floors above. One of the youngest BookFrogs, Joey, is still up there.
He is by far Lydia's favorite: a shattered young man with far reaching interests: Masonic rites; chaos theory; the Federal Reserve, are just a few of the subjects he enjoys reading about. When Lydia hurries up to the third floor, she is shocked to find Joey hovering in the air from a rope.
Lydia runs toward him screaming which brings another clerk rushing to help. It is too late because Joey is lifeless; in his front pocket is a folded photograph of Lydia as a child.
As Lydia takes the girlhood picture from Joey, she wonders how he came to possess it. There were two of her friends in the photo, Raj Patel and Carol O'Toole. The picture was from the fourth grade, the same year that Lydia and her father fled to the mountains without saying goodbye to anyone.
Lydia ponders the photo, and realizes that Joey's suicide has opened doors long closed in her life – doors that involved her father whom she hadn't seen in several years. He still lives in a cabin in the mountains.
The next conundrum occurs when Lydia receives a postcard that reads: “Moberg here. Just if you want more.” The postcard is from Detective Harry Moberg. Retired. Homicide. Apparently Moberg recognized her image in the newspaper, in a story that ran after Joey's suicide.
The plot thickens and the past comes alive for Lydia, who remains perplexed about Moberg’s interest in her and Joey’s possession of the fourth grade photograph. To further complicate the mystery, Joey bequeaths his meager worldly possessions to Lydia, including his books. When she flips through them she finds they are cut up in ways unexplainable, yet them seem to be trying to deliver a hidden message.
“Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” has several more interesting characters to introduce as the mystery unfolds. The author captured my attention and held it throughout the story, wondering what was going to happen next in Lydia’s life. This novel was a very intriguing read.