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“The Broken Teaglass” by Emily Arsenault Book Review


Emily Arsenault has worked as a lexicographer, an English teacher, a children’s librarian, and a Peace Corps volunteer. She wrote The Broken Teaglass to pass the long, quiet evenings in her mud brick house while living in rural South Africa. She now lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with her husband. You can visit Emily Arsenault’s website at


I picked up this book without really knowing what it was about.  And I have to tell you if you love words and you love mystery then this is certainly the book for you.

This book centers around the Samuelson Dictionary company – a fascinating place in it’s own right.  Billy Webb has just recently accepted a job as an editorial assistant, and although it isn’t necessarily his dream job he is just happy to find work.  He soon finds that he works with some very unique individuals, but the one he enjoys the most is Mona Minot.  He meets her after he is given a letter to answer by a man who is possibly “stalking” her with his questions – he goes to her to find out a little more about the so called stalker and they strike up a friendship of sorts. 

But, the real star of his book is The Broken Teaglass, a book that is quoted numerous times in the cit files of Samuelson.  But, Mona has done extensive research and has not found any evidence that such a book exists.  So, what are the cits that they find, and who is Dolores Beekmim?

I found many of this books fascinating, from the job of a lexicographer, to the mystery behind The Broken Teaglass.  I would highly recommend this!

Thanks to Cheryl of Pump Up Your Book Promotion for letting me be part of Emily’s virtual book tour!


The dusty files of a venerable dictionary publisher . . . a hidden cache of coded clues . . . a story written by a phantom author . . . an unsolved murder in a gritty urban park–all collide memorably in Emily Arsenault’s magnificent debut, at once a teasing literary puzzle, an ingenious suspense novel, and an exploration of definitions: of words, of who we are, and of the stories we choose to define us.

In the maze of cubicles at Samuelson Company, editors toil away in silence, studying the English language, poring over new expressions and freshly coined words–all in preparation for the next new edition of the Samuelson Dictionary. Among them is editorial assistant Billy Webb, just out of college, struggling to stay awake and appear competent. But there are a few distractions. His intriguing coworker Mona Minot may or may not be flirting with him. And he’s starting to sense something suspicious going on beneath this company’s academic facade.

Mona 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 from it are far too long, twisting, and bizarre for any dictionary. They read like a confessional, coyly hinting at a hidden identity, a secret liaison, a crime. As Billy and Mona ransack the office files, a chilling story begins to emerge: a story about a lonely young woman, a long-unsolved mystery, a moment of shattering violence. And as they piece together its fragments, the puzzle begins to take on bigger personal meaning for both of them, compelling them to redefine their notions of themselves and each other.

Charged with wit and intelligence, set against a sweetly cautious love story, The Broken Teaglass is a tale that will delight lovers of words, lovers of mysteries, and fans of smart, funny, brilliantly inventive fiction.

3 comments to “The Broken Teaglass” by Emily Arsenault Book Review

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