It’s difficult to imagine that work at a dictionary company and word definitions and citations could be mysterious. But these are the elements that Emily Arsenault quite artfully combines in The Broken Teaglass.

Billy Webb is a new hire at Samuelson Company, an esteemed dictionary publisher in New England. Billy recently graduated from college and is now working as an editor. Parts of his responsibilities include obtaining new citations or “cits” for word usage, as well as checking previously filed cits to determine if usage and definitions have changed. He discovers several cits for a book but cannot find any reference to the book in the library or anywhere else. Curiously the cits are rather long and seem to be telling a story, the story of a murder. Even more curious, the cits seem to make reference to Samuelson and several employees. Billy, with the help of a Mona Minot – a coworker, begins to investigate and seek out more cits in order to learn the entire story. 

The cits tell a story of despair and in many ways seem to reflect Billy’s life. Billy and Mona seem to have a friendship that borders romance, just like their mysterious author. Their stories are revealed bit by bit, just as they unravel the mystery of the cits bit by bit. Although Billy is in his mid-twenties, in many ways this is also a coming-of-age tale in addition to a mystery. I wasn’t sure about the story when I first read the blurbs as I presumed it would be a dry or plodding tale. Imagine my surprise when I began reading and simply couldn’t tear myself away (even with the reading block). The Broken Teaglass is an artfully crafted story to be savored, perhaps while drinking a delicious cup of tea (may I suggest Darjeeling or Oolong).

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”