A Perfect Bind


A Perfect Bind (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
by Dorothy St. James

About A Perfect Bind

A Perfect Bind (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (September 28, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593098609
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593098608
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08SJLRBJN

Librarian Tru Beckett, ardent defender of the printed word, is about to find out that keeping murder checked out of her beloved library is much harder than she thought…

Tru Beckett succeeded in building a secret book room in her now bookless library, where book lovers from lovely Cypress, South Carolina, can rejoice in the printed word. Now she’s working hard to maintain the little library downstairs while keeping her “real job” upstairs in the bookless technology center. The last thing she needs is a mysterious vandal who seems intent on breaking into her secret book-filled sanctuary and creating chaos. The nasty interloper doesn’t steal anything, but brutalizes the books, damaging them and knocking them off shelves.

A patron of the secret book room tells Tru that there have been creepy goings-on at the library for years, especially in the basement where the secret book room is located. He’s heard rumors of a poltergeist that haunts the library, determined to scare off readers. Tru is certain it’s hogwash, but she’s at a loss to think of who might be vandalizing the beautiful books she fought so hard to protect. And when a dead body shows up right behind the library, Tru is certain that it’s not a ghost but a cold-blooded killer that she and her trusty tabby Dewey Decimal will need to uncover.


About Dorothy St. James

Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener Mysteries and the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries. She lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sister’s in Crime (SInC). This is her second Beloved Bookroom Mystery.

Q&A With the Author

When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?

I think I was born a writer. Some of my favorite early memories are of me attempting to pen my own books, most notably was “Help, the Purple People Eater is Here!”

But dreams are sometimes too big, too important. I let go of my dream to write books out of fear. My English and Lit grades in high school weren’t stellar. The books they had us read were old and boring. I couldn’t imagine chasing my dream to write into college only to see it crushed by my failure.

It wasn’t until many years later that my dream gave me a nudge, then a push, then started shouting in my ear. I began to write again. I wrote during my lunch break, after work, on weekends. Any free moment, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I even quit my job so I’d have more time to write. Eventually, I managed to publish my first novel. It was a dream come true!

What advice do you have for a new writer?

Read. If you’re just starting out, read as much as you can. If you’ve been writing for a while, still read. Read the best-sellers. Read debut authors. Read how-to books. When a passage in a book makes you feel something, stop. Then, ask yourself, “What did the author just do here?” Study the books you are reading. These are your textbooks. Take note of what works. Take note of what parts you tend to skip and why. Soon, you’ll be able to write a book that conveys all the emotions that you have pictured in your mind. 

What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?

Facing the blank page and filling it with raw words is hard for me. Painfully, hard. It’s like going to a party and not knowing anyone there. Excuse me while I slink behind that potted palm over there.

Revising the messy work that I’ve labored over is where I feel the most comfortable. I know where the story is trying to go. I’ve met the people at that party (the characters). They’re my friends now. I’m ready to have some fun!

What is your favorite part of this story?

I had a blast working on A Perfect Bind! There are so many moments in it that make me laugh. One of my favorite plots in the story is the trouble Tori Green, my main character’s best friend, gets herself into when she sees her boyfriend with a beautiful woman. Here’s a snippet from the book:

Still not seeing my friend Tori at any of the tables or in any of the booths, I started to leave the diner. That’s when I heard a strange hiss.

Or perhaps it was more like a pssst.

I followed the leaky-air sound to the diner’s back corner. A lone person occupied the booth there. She held a magazine up high, covering her entire face.

“Tori?” Hiding her face wasn’t typical behavior for my normally super-outgoing friend. “Are we spying on the enemy?”

She shushed me, sounding alarmingly like Mrs. Farnsworth. “I don’t want him to see me,” she whispered as she peeked over the top of the magazine to peer at someone behind me.

“Who?” I asked.

“Don’t look!” she snapped when I started to turn around. That’s when I noticed the magazine she was hiding behind.

Brides Today?” I asked, unable to conceal my surprise.

My friend, while in possession of some of the keenest instincts of anyone I’ve ever met, made terrible choices when it came to men. She’d been married four times and already had her sights set on number five—the town’s new bookstore owner. Although he seemed like a nice guy and owned a bookstore (how dreamy was that?) they had only known each other for less than a month. Even for Tori, that wasn’t enough time between the first meet and the getting serious phase to start planning her next wedding.

And my goodness, Tori and I were both in our thirties. Shouldn’t there be a rule that you couldn’t have more marriages than the number of decades you’ve lived? Or a rule that you should give your best friend the chance to marry at least once before slipping a fifth golden ring onto your finger? I had to say something.

“Rushing the romance a little recklessly, don’t you think?” I asked, surprised that I sounded like a bitter old maid.

She gave me a startled look. I pointed to the title of the magazine she was still using as a shield.

“This old thing? I subscribed to it while planning my wedding to Number Three and decided it would be easier to keep the subscription coming after the wedding. That way I wouldn’t have to play catch up learning all the new styles and trends the next time I walked down the aisle.”

“If you were thinking like that when you were planning your wedding to Number Three, why did you go through with it?” Cancelling that wedding would have saved me from having to buy that hideously expensive neon green bridesmaid gown that did unspeakable things to my complexion. Every conversation I had at her reception started with someone concerned about my health.

Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why? 

Are you seriously going to make me pick my favorite child? I cannot do that. It wouldn’t be fair to my other characters. I love them all equally.

But if I must, I love writing about Tori Green (see my excerpt above.) Tori is beautiful, outgoing, and outrageous. She spurs my sometimes-shy sleuth—Trudell Becket—to step outside her comfort zone and to stop taking life so seriously. She says things that no one else will, and I love her for it.

Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?

Believe it or not, writing Tru’s precocious kitty, Dewey Decimal, has been one of my biggest challenges with writing A Perfect Bind. Don’t get me wrong. I love Dewey. He’s a slinky tabby cat who puts himself in the middle of the mystery. He provides Tru with clues to solving the murders in his standoffish-I’m-better-than-you-kittycat way.

And that’s the problem. I have to get into the mind of the cat. Not just any ordinary cat, but an Einstein of cats. Being a mere human, that’s not something that’s easily done. So I muddle along, hoping to do my character justice, while knowing that cats of the world will read the book and smirk and the stupid mistakes that I make. 

I hope I made Dewey proud though. If you read A Perfect Bind, be sure to let me know what you think of the kitty in the book!

Follow Dorothy Online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothy.stjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothywrites

Instagram: www.instagram.com/dorothymcfalls

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

Purchase Links – AmazonPenguin Random HouseB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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