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Publisher's Summary

Rare book dealer, ex-homicide cop, and private eye, Cliff Janeway is resourceful, impulsive, and hell-bent for danger. A unique character in crime fiction, Janeway is beloved by bibliophiles and mystery fans alike. In The Bookwoman's Last Fling, John Dunning puts Janeway back in the saddle, literally.

Tempted out of his bookstore into the world of horseracing, Janeway accepts an invitation from wealthy horse trainer H.R. Geiger to travel to Idaho and look at some rare first-edition books. The books are stunning, flawless children's classics that render the usually eloquent Janeway speechless. It's a collection worth millions of dollars, a fact that Janeway would be happy to discuss with Mr. Geiger if the man wasn't dead. Janeway becomes convinced that someone has been cherry-picking the book collection for personal profit. Soon he's off on Geiger's cold trail, to the California Races at Golden Gates Fields and Santa Anita Park.

Bringing together his inside knowledge of both books and horseracing, John Dunning provides another memorable, hard-boiled detective adventure, filled with all the authenticity and delicious trivia that fans have come to expect from the Bookman series.

©2006 John Dunning; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Dunning's exceptional gifts at plotting and characterization should help win him many new readers, while the horse-racing angle is sure to lure Dick Francis fans." (Publishers Weekly)
"Bursting with inside dope about forged autographed copies and other dastardly examples of book's great fun thumbing the pages with Janeway, who knows his business and takes a keen, almost sensual pleasure in a virgin edition." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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Wish I could enter "unrated"

Because I listened to only a couple of hours -- and part of that time I had my ear buds out so I could skip a part. Just couldn't take it anymore -- and all of this for reasons that might very well have been unrelated to the central plot.

The problem? One of the major characters -- presumably -- owned and operated a rescue farm for old or abused horses. Fine and dandy -- I admire people like that more than I can say. BUT.. but... as the story continued, as Janway began to get to know this character, there seemed to be an almost unless litany of stories of abused horses, so much that I just couldn't take it. I don't want to read -- or listen to -- stories of abused animals of any kind. Does it exist? Of course. But all sorts of things go on in this world that I don't want to spend leisure time hearing about. It's just too painful.

What a shame! I've both listened to and read every other one of the Cliff Janway books at least twice, some three times, over the years. I love them. I love the book trivia, the tales of collectors, of the obsession with books, some part of which I'm chagrined to admit I share. You can imagine how disappointed I was to have to deep-six this last one in the series.

But I can't listen to accounts of horribly abused horses. Life is too short, y'know?

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Another Good Book in the Cliff Janeway Series

I like the books by John Dunning. If you are new to the Cliff Janeway series, I suggest that you read them in order.

1. Booked to Die

2. The Bookman's Promise (currently not being offered on Audible, hopefully they will bring it back)

3. The Bookman's Wake

4. The Bookwoman's Last Fling

The Bookwoman's Last Fling has a bit more character development, and many more leads to chase down.

Readers, who like the Cliff Janeway, enjoy the journey of the story besides just trying to get to the end. This books pace is a bit slower, much like classical literature.

The narrator, George Guidall does an excellent job reading. I love this reader! Four years ago, I use to pick books by readers, sorted by "average Customer Rating" instead of genre.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not sure what others are so cranky about

Yup, this was a very descriptive book, with lots of detail about the world of 'racetracking', and if you're a Dick Francis fan it's interesting to hear about horse racing from an American groom's perspective instead of the British jockey's. The story had some surprising twists, and the slower paced story suits the nature of the protagonist for the duration. While not as 'book-y' as the others, it was enjoyable, though I enjoyed the others more. This one gets 4 stars because I gave his other books 5 stars.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • PLACITAS, NM, United States
  • 10-30-06

Good read

I was happy to see another book in John Dunning's "The Bookman" series. I wish there had been more about book collecting in this one but the subject was certainly a key factor in the plot. The ending was a little weak but overall it was an engrossing read.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brad
  • rolling hills estates, CA, United States
  • 08-09-06

Bookwoman's last fling

My first review and I hate to be negative, but I thought this was so boring I almost did not finish it. Hour after hour of meaningless filler, not to mention the whole premise is ridiculous. It is the only book that I have listened to where I could also listen to the radio.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Struggling to Improve

At this stage Janeway is still on his big he-man trip, though less obnoxious than the last episode. He's still the kind of guy who would -- and does -- call a truck a "big bastard" and inform us, whether we're interested or not, that the sight of a rare book makes his least elegant private parts tingle. I never mind R-rated language, so I took a look at why his is so objectionable. I think it's because it's always inappropriate to any situation, and put forth as a form of showing off. And there are other off-puts. When he, a years-long, top homicide cop, jammed his pen down the barrel of a recently fired gun to protect the evidence, all I could do was sigh. I sighed a lot through this one. The best parts are his you-are-there renderings of interesting things like rare book markets and, in this case, horse racing. Worth having bought, but just barely.

The reader is as awful as ever, slapping down each pronouncement as if it were the height of brilliance and wit. Worse, he has such a narrow vocal range that you often can't tell which character is speaking.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A total disappointment

I listened to the entire book, hoping to find some redeeming spark, but even the ending was weak and contrived. The characters were one-dimensional, the dialog was completely unbelievable, the plot implausible and the whole thing was utterly pointless. One of the worst books I have ever read. Sorry to be so negative, but my rating would be less than 1 star.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Way too long...

I had previously read another book in the same series (Booked to Die) and thought I might also like this one. Bad assumption. I felt like I suffered through a very long explanation of basic routines in horse racing tracks. The best part was the rare book trivia, as usual. In addition the narrator's attempts at interpreting women's voices were very annoying. The bottom line is that unless you have a great deal of interest in horse racing, this probably won't be so thrilling...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Some will like it

The narration is great but I didn't finish listening because of the cursing. Strange that a mystery about a book collector would have such limited vocabulary. But this is just me... I belong in the Rex Stout generation.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • E Azevedo
  • WALNUT CREEK, CA, United States
  • 04-14-16

Well written-page turner

Enjoyed the book tremendously. His story soused true, and the twists and turns were fun to follow. Recommend to those who love a mystery.