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The Case of the Missing Books

August 17, 2009

From the librarian’s recommendation shelf of the SLC downtown library, I nabbed Ian Sansom’s The Case of the Missing Books.

The book sounded perfect.  Israel Armstrong, awkward newbie librarian, lands a gig in a small Irish town, only to arrive and discover that he’ll be driving the mobile library, the library’s 15,000 books have gone missing, and he’s under contract to stay and track down the missing inventory.  What could be better than the story of a librarian-turned-PI?

After reading this book, I understand the expression “trying too hard” much more fully.  The author makes great effort to make Israel and the residents of Tumdrum (the humdrum town where the book is set) humorously and  quirkily endearing.  And yet, there were more than one too many gags involving Israel tripping, crashing, falling, being (what should be) comically threatened by his new boss, or misinterpreting the thickly accented speech of his new neighbors.  The result is a book that I kept hoping would get better, to no avail.

I’m clearly on a mystery kick lately.  Any recommendations for a plot driven mystery with great writing and captivating characters?

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