The Bad Book Affair
by Ian Sansom
Published January 2010
Escape this summer's next big thriller - slip away from all the scintillating suspense and plucky police procedurals and settle down with Ian Sansom's cantankerous cozy, The Bad Book Affair. Why? Because nobody's life could be as bad as Israel Armstrong's, even a librarian's.
Israel is a pathetic, morose, kvetching, displaced mobile librarian in the midst of a mid-life crisis on the north coast of Ireland when he gets in to a bit of a bother with the local police. It seems he was the last one to have seen the local politician's 14-year-old daughter who has now gone missing.
And Israel didn't only see her but, unluckily, checked her out a book from the "unshelved," a category of books deemed morally inappropriate for Tumdrum's youth. This is not looking good for his six month review neither is the fact that he's missed a week's work because he was drunk, depressed, and wallowing in self pity. Ted, Israel's co-worker, and the other characters of this backwater town eventually save him despite himself. The mystery isn't complicated. Israel isn't a courageous hero. There are no incredibly evil villains and the climax is anti-climatic. Whew... what a relief!
If you are a pushover for any book about books, libraries, or librarians you will laugh out loud, shake your head, and smile more than once - easily enough compensation for the missing mystery.
From the Publisher -
Israel Armstrong—the hapless duffle coat wearing, navel-gazing librarian who solves crimes and domestic problems whilst driving a mobile library around the north coast of Ireland—finds himself on the brink of thirty. But any celebration, planned or otherwise, must be put on hold when a troubled teenager—the daughter of a local politician—mysteriously vanishes. Israel suspects the girl's disappearance has something to do with his lending her American Pastoral from the library's special "Unshelved" category. Now he has to find the lost teen before he's run out of town—while he attempts to recover from his recent breakup with his girlfriend, Gloria, and tries to figure out where in Tumdrum a Jewish vegetarian might celebrate his thirtieth birthday.
Ian Sansom bibliography - The Case of the Missing Books (2006), Mr. Dixon Disappears (2006),
The Book Stops Here (2008), The Bad Book Affair (2010)