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'[A] well-planned story ... thrilling ... persistently interesting.' - Times Literary Supplement
'Intelligent, well characterised murder mystery with expert secondhand book trade setting.' - Maurice Richardson, The Observer
'[A] stylish, genuinely chilling author . . . He can be depended upon to sustain swift, sure, exciting, and absorbing stories . . . undoubtedly one of England's best practicing novelists in the tradition of the thriller novel.' - St. James Guide to Crime & Mystery Writers
'An interesting ... case concerning a rare book which some madman is collecting at the rate of a murder per copy.' - New York Times Book Review
When bookseller James Roach is found dead after paying an exorbitant sum for Grey Boulders, a rare but apparently valueless volume on mountaineering, the police write it off as suicide. But his young colleague John Cain suspects foul play when he discovers the book is missing and that someone has been going to great lengths to obtain every copy of Grey Boulders in existence. Is it a case of some deranged collector driven to murder by his bibliomania, or is there some secret contained in the book that is worth killing for? It's a race against time as Cain joins forces with egocentric adventurer J. Moldon Mott and beautiful heiress Julia Lent to solve the mystery. Can they stop the killer before he gets hold of the last remaining copy, or will one of them become his next victim?
A prolific author of thrillers and horror novels, John Blackburn (1923-1993) also managed a secondhand bookstore, and he draws on this background in Blue Octavo (1963), a clever and fast-paced tale set in the shady world of antiquarian bookselling. This edition features a new introduction by award-winning author and critic Mike Ripley.