The Sign of the Book is a Cliff Janeway Bookman novel by John Dunning. The Bookman series made a splash when Booked To Die hit the shelves in 1992. Dunning, who suffers from A.D.D., hasn't exactly been churning out Janeway stories the way many authors do when they have a hit character. Instead in the intervening years between 1992 and 2007 there have only been four more Janeway novels.
The Sign of the Book is, so to speak, classic Cliff Janeway. When Janeway's current girlfriend, power attorney Erin D'Angelo, receives a call to defend her former best friend from murdering the former love of her life Janeway finds himself doing a little sleuthing for the defense. Needless to say there are books involved and they are mostly all first editions. Was the murder motivated by the enormously valuable collection? Was theres something else at play? There is no way to tell as the defendant practically refuses to defend herself.
The Sign of the Book has a good many twists in it and is, like Dunning's previous work, very easy to read. It is a quick and generally entertaining read but it is far from being a great mystery and instead falls into the category of those annoying mysteries where the author keeps that one last detail to themselves so that the investigator will figure it all out before the reader does. Dunning is hardly the first, worst or best to do this. Dick Francis is another author who occasionally plays this trick on the reader and if you are generous enough not to let it annoy then you will definitely enjoy this book. If on the other hand you prefer to have all the same information as the investigator has then the last little bit of the book will annoy more than entertain.
The final verdict is that it is a good read but I don't like to be kept out of the loop so it is not something that will stay in my library.