A Mercy

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

by Allison Hoover Bartlett

Gail Reid: The subtitle of this book "The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession" tells it all. Who knew there was a wide world of crime behind rare books? The author spends years interviewing John Gilkey whose passion is collecting books through elaborate credit card fraud. Gilkey's crime is that he loves books too much. Ultimately he is caught through the intervention of Ken Sanders, a Salt Lake City-based bookstore owner and volunteer security chair of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. Colleagues throughout America refer to Sanders as "bibliodick" for his efforts to track down book thieves.

The author intersperses all sorts of information about the world of rare books over several centuries, so the fast paced story of criminal activities is balanced with the erudite world of creating and selling beautiful books. This blend of action and research makes for a very satisfying read.
Rating: ****

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