Kate Carlisle is the bestselling author of the Bibliophile Mysteries and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries (as seen on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries). Her latest Bibliophile Mystery—Once upon a Spine—is a must-read for readers who love books about books. RT Book Reviews calls Once Upon a Spine “Truly laugh-out-loud hysterical… a great tale of who didn’t do it!” Read Chapters 1 and 2 free at KateCarlisle.com.

By Kate Carlisle

Each Bibliophile Mystery centers on a murder connected to a rare book being restored by San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, and the themes of the rare book are echoed in the modern day mystery. This makes the books so much fun to plot! Readers love finding all the little connections between today’s murder and the book from long ago.

I had an especially raucous time of it when plotting Once Upon a Spine because this time around, the book in Brooklyn’s care is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, perhaps the best known example of literary nonsense. In her own way, Brooklyn falls down the rabbit hole, too, and I hope readers will love going along for the ride.

Five Things You Never Knew about Alice in Wonderland


  1. Lewis Carroll’s real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. If anyone reading this has the middle name Lutwidge, submit proof to me by email through my website, KateCarlisle.com, and I’ll send you a signed book.


  1. “Alice in Wonderland” isn’t the title! It’s actually Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But even that wasn’t the original title. Lewis Carroll’s handwritten first draft was titled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. Other rejected titles include Alice Among the Fairies and Alice’s Golden Hour.


  1. The story was conceived on a rowboat on the Isis, as Dodgson entertained three young girls. Yes, one of the girls was named Alice.


  1. once upon a spineAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland has never been out of print, but when it was released, it wasn’t well reviewed. (Take heart, writers!)


  1. There are two first editions. Three, if you count the US first printing, but no one does. Illustrator John Tenniel was unhappy with the quality of the printing, so Lewis Carroll told the publisher to recall the first print run of 2,000. (As an aside, I do not have that kind of power.) Carroll kept 50 author copies and gave them to friends and family. The second first edition is worth about twenty-five thousand dollars. Sounds like a lot—until you find out that the original first edition sold recently for almost two million!


About Kate’s new book ONCE UPON A SPINE

San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright stumbles through the looking glass in a tale of murder, rare books, and a quest for the perfect pie…

Brooklyn’s oh-so-proper future in-laws are traveling from England to meet her, and if that’s not enough to set her on edge, rumors abound that the charming Courtyard Shops across the street may be replaced by high-rise apartments. Their trendy neighborhood will be ruined unless Brooklyn and her fiancé Derek Stone can persuade the shopkeepers not to sell.

But with a rare edition of Alice in Wonderland causing bad blood at the Brothers Bookshop and a string of petty vandalism making everyone nervous, Brooklyn and Derek feel like they’re attempting six impossible things before breakfast. Then the owner of The Rabbit Hole juice bar is felled by his own heavy shelves, and the local cobbler lies dead beside him. An accident . . . or something more sinister? Things get curiouser and curiouser when a second priceless copy of Alice is discovered. Will it stir up more trouble within the close-knit community?

As the Brits descend, Brooklyn learns they’re not so stuffy, after all. Derek’s dad is won over with chocolate cream pie, and his psychic mum would kill to help Brooklyn solve this murder—before another victim takes a tumble.

What classic book from literature would you like to see Brooklyn Wainwright work on next, and why? Can you think of fun ways that the themes of that book could be woven in to a modern murder mystery?