Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: The Case of the Missing Books

Author: Ian Sansom
Format: Trade paperback, 336 pages
Characters: Israel Armstrong
Subject: bookmobiles (mobile libraries)
Genre: cozy mystery
Source: public library
Challenge: Support your local library

Another new series for me.  I'd seen this one recommended by several readers on LT threads, and our local library had a copy to check out.  It's not great lit, not even great mystery writing, but it is an amusing, pleasant cozy read.  Israel Armstrong, a down and out librarian wannabe from London, tires of his job working in a bookstore, and prodded by his girlfriend (who appears to be tiring of his "Poor me" attitude) takes a job as librarian in Tumdrum, County Antrim.  He arrives to find a notice on the door that the library is closed due to 'reallocation of resources'.  He is shocked and dismayed to find that he is expected to drive a mobile library (i.e., a bookmobile), live in a renovated chicken coop, and Oh the way, the library's books --all 15,000 of them--- seem to have disappeared.

His misadventures due to language difficulties and his personal fuddy-duddiness (is that a word?) are somewhat humorous, and are the stuff of which BBC comedy shows are made.

As I said, it was a fun read, but nothing to rave about.  I'm not sure how on earth the author is going to make a series out of this, so I'll probably try one more just to see how the rather thin plot is expanded.


  1. Some of the best words I know are made-up ones. I think fuddy-duddiness is an excellent word.

  2. I'm sorry you didn't like this one more. I thoroughly enjoyed it when I read it. But since I'm not a mystery reader, perhaps I was looking for (and found) something different in the book than you did. I liked the insight into the Irish village and Israel's realization that just because he's the only Jew in town, he can be a part of the community if he puts forth the effort.

    Plus, and this is totally shallow, I adore the cover. ;-)


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