Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom

The Case of the Missing Books is a madcap story that takes a half-Jewish, half-Irish librarian from London and deposits him in the remote, Northern Irish town of Tundrum. Israel Armstrong has never had a library job in spite of having qualified some years before. His girlfriend, Gloria, says this is his big opportunity to start his library career.

But his stint in Tundrum gets off to a troublesome start – the library he is supposed to manage has been closed by the council; he will instead be running a mobile library using a decrepit bus that has been stored in a chicken shed. On top of this, all the books are missing and Israel has to track them down. He is helped by the belligerent ex-boxer, Ted, who gets the bus going again, and genial Dennis the carpenter, who refits the shelving.

The Case of the Missing Books is the first in the Mobile Library mystery series and while hunting down what has happened to tens of thousands of library books is a crucial part of the plot, much of the story is about Israel’s introduction to a town full of quirky characters. He’s a stranger in town and often the butt of jokes and ruses, all the funnier because of Israel’s bumbling and oversensitive character. The book is full of hilarious banter and laugh-out-loud moments, and Sansom has a fine ear for the humorous quirks of language.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue Link: The Case of the Missing Books

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