Monday, 1 October 2007

Hearing the sad news of the death of Philip Callow prompted me to revisit some of the other books featuring booksellers which I have enjoyed. George Sims sprang immediately to mind. He was a good friend to my father, a first-rate bookseller himself (we also recommend his Rare Book Game trilogy), erstwhile consultant to Bertram Rota Ltd and a much missed, highly charismatic, somewhat eccentric individual. I have a copy of The Last Best Friend inscribed to me which features Ned Balfour, a dealer in manuscripts and autograph letters, and explores “the quirkier fringes of the book world”. See also

Then there is Cliff Janeway, Denver-based bookman and hero of Booked to Die and The Bookman’s Wake, and, a little tangentially, the police procedural The Death of an Ardent Bibliophile by Bartholomew Gill who also wrote The Death of a Joyce Scholar.

Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte produced The Club Dumas in 1993, echoing his previous work The Flanders Panel, both set in the world of antiquarian booksellers, the former becoming Polanski’s The Ninth Gate featuring Johnny Depp.

If you’re looking for a real page-turner though, try Robert Lindsey’s A Gathering of Saints. It’s one of a number of books on the subject – the Mormon forgeries of Mark Hofmann - but it’s a great thriller whether you are interested in books and manuscripts or not.

No comments: