antique books lamp pitcher

Book Review: The Bookwoman’s Last Fling by John Dunning

The book I am reading currently is set in two parallel worlds that I barely know anything about. These are the world of book collectors and the world of horse racing. I am learning a lot about both these fields. The icing on the cake is that the book also involves a murder mystery (my favourite recreational reading).

For me, a book is something to be read and  enjoyed for pleasure or for learning. I have never really thought of a book as a “thing” or an object to collect. This book deals with first editions and limited editions, their antique value and collectible status. I have learned several new terms:


(or bookman), which I previously knew as bibliophile.

bookwoman synonyms two pigeons

Image credit :



bookplate (or book-plate, as it was commonly styled until the early 20th century), also known as ex-librīs (Latin for “from the books (or library)”), is usually a small printed or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the front endpaper, to indicate ownership.

bookplate decoration flower
A sample Bookplate
Image by Emmie_Norfolk from Pixabay


Ginney: A groom; a corruption of the English “Guinea,” which in days past was the traditional award to the groom of a winner.

Hot walker:

Hot Walker: A stable hand who leads a horse around the shed row or walking ring in the “cooling out” process following a race or a workout. Walking hots is usually the first job given a novice stable employee.

horse race
Photo by Pietro Mattia on Unsplash
The story is about an ex detective who has now become a dealer and appraiser of old books. He is called in to evaluate the antique book collection of a dead millionaire who has also left behind valuable racehorses. He poses as a hot walker to find out more about the dead man’s family. While doing so he stumbles on to the suspicious death of the dead man’s wife thirty years ago. She is the “bookwoman” in the title.
Featured Image : Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

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