In the end she turned the key but left it in the lock, and stepped cautiously through the door she had opened into what had probably been a dining room but was as large as the ballroom of her aunt’s house in Mayfair. It was lined floor to ceiling with books: goods boxes had been stacked on top of the original ten-foot bookshelves, and planks stretched over windows and doors so that no one square foot of the original paneling showed and the tops of the highest ranks brushed the coffered ceiling. Yellow-backed adventure novels by Conan Doyle and Clifford Ashdown shouldered worn calf saints’ lives, antiquated chemistry texts, Carlyle, Gibbon, de Sade, Balzac, cheap modern reprints of Aeschylus and Plato, Galsworthy, Wilde, Shaw.
Traveling with the Dead (James Asher #2) by Barbara Hambly
Need I say that the name Balzac grabbed my attention! There is another great quote from later in the book when one of the vampires says, “We follow families, names, neighborhoods for years, sometimes decades. To us, chains of events are like the lives of Balzac’s characters, or Dickens’. The nights are long.”
I was unfamiliar with the name Clifford Ashdown. Research showed that it is a nom de plume used by Richard Austin Freeman and John James Pitcairn for books on which they collaborated.