Archive for 'Sansom, Ian'
There are some books that, as you read them, you can really see as a movie. You play the scenes out in your head and mentally begin casting. This book is one of those. The Case of the Missing Books is about a librarian named Israel Armstrong. Israel is a somewhat down-at-heels, vegetarian British National of Irish/Jewish extraction and who has never realized his potential and really needs a job. He takes a position as a librarian in a small town in Northern Ireland, only to discover when he arrives that the library has been closed. He is now going to be in charge of the ancient and battered bookmobile. As soon as he can find the 15,000 books that are missing from the library. But he canâ€™t tell anyone they are missing. And yes, things go from bad to worse as they are wont to do in stories of this type.
And here is where the reader starts to mentally picture poor Israelâ€™s mental, physical, and emotional decline. First, Israel is being boarded in a chicken coop that comes complete with a living alarm clock. Then the quirky family hosting him damages select portions of his wardrobe and he is outfitted with t-shirts owned by the young male in the household – all of which have outrageously politically incorrect slogans. So Israel is very weary and somewhat eccentric looking as he tries to question the locals about the library books.
But here Israel comes up against a language barrier. Although technically speaking the same language, Israel and the locals have a significant failure to communicate. These stilted, sometimes circular, and frustrating conversations cry out to be spoken instead of just read.
Sansom is a very good writer and there are some fantastically funny bits in this book – the bathroom scene in the pub is priceless. This really is a great fish-out-of-water book, but it is light on the mystery end. The plot and ending are pretty predictable, but read it anyway because the execution is wonderful.
Favorite character? Probably Brownie, owner of the dubious shirts. Did I guess it? Yes. Will I read another? Yes. This is a delightfully colorful set of characters. And when is the movie coming out?
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007