* This suggestion is part of our National Library Week 2015 series. To celebrate libraries everywhere, we are posting a library-related suggestion every day this week. *
As I read about the misadventures of Israel Armstrong in The Case of the Missing Books, I was reminded of a line from a song on the old Hee-Haw TV show: “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”
Poor Israel just wants to be a librarian, and so he is rather excited when he gets the job as librarian of the Tumdrum and District Public Library in Northern Ireland. His bubble is burst in a big way , however, when he arrives after a harrowing trip from London to find the library permanently closed. The good news, however, according to his boss, Linda Wei, Deputy Head of Entertainment, Leisure and Community Services, is that he still has a job as the Outreach Support Officer of the mobile library.
Israel has no intention of driving a mobile library, but when Linda shows him the contract he signed, he has no choice. Ted, an ex-pugilist and gruff mobile library assistant, shows Isreal the rusted-out mobile library van and takes him to the closed library to load the books. To their shock, they discover that all 15,000 books are missing. So begins Israel’s adventure, which is nothing more than one mishap after another with a healthy dose of culture shock thrown in for good measure. I am tempted to tell you some of the hilarious things he suffers, but I do not want to take away any of the wonder of the reading experience.
This book is a joy to read. I laughed at Israel’s misfortunes, but commiserated with him at the same time. Being a ‘Yank’ (American), I suffered the culture shock along with him as I read. The book is full of colorful characters — from a South African Presbyterian minister who loves mystery stories to the pub owner who is a teetotaler and yet brews his own hooch. These people come to life in this book and I wish they really were alive so I could travel to Tumdrum and meet them. This book is the first in the Mobile Library Mystery series and I can’t wait to read the rest! Once you read it, I am certain you will feel the same.