The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault

From “In the maze of cubicles at Samuelson Company, editorial assistant Billy Webb struggles to focus while helping to prepare the next edition of a dictionary. But there are distractions. He senses that something suspicious is going on beneath this company’s academic façade. What’s more, his (possibly) flirtatious co-worker Mona Minot has just made a startling discovery: a trove of puzzling citations, all taken from the same book, The Broken Teaglass. Billy and Mona soon learn that no such book exists. And the quotations read like a confession, coyly hinting at a hidden identity, a secret liaison, a crime. As Billy and Mona try to unearth the truth, the puzzle begins to take on bigger meaning for both of them, compelling them to redefine their notions of themselves and each other.

The Broken Teaglass is at once a literary mystery, a cautious love story, and an ingenious suspense novel that will delight fans of brilliantly inventive fiction.”

My dad picked this one up in California and I read it as soon as he’d finished it. (As an aside, I think books get better when you read them outside, in what is technically winter, in the sun, with a latte next to you.) I can see why it was a NY Times Notable Crime Book of The Year: it’s well-written and ponderous, but also suspenseful. The characters are likeable, even though I felt a bit too much is made of the dictionary office being so quiet and the people there so odd – a quiet office seems nice to me and none of the people there seemed as weird as they were made out to be. But that could just say something about me..

It’s a good read – I gave it three stars on Goodreads – and I’d recommend it to those of you word nerds out there, who will be dazzled by the dictionary office as well as the mystery.

Also, I want to be a lexicographer when I grow up.


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