The Case of the Missing Books

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 April, 2006, 12:00am

The Case of the Missing Books

by Ian Sansom

HarperCollins, $96

Technically, this is detective fiction, but really it's a farce. In fact, The Case of the Missing Books is pure comedy with its less-than-subtle contrivances and larger-than-life characters. Jewish accidental hero Israel Armstrong is not your typical sleuth: he's shy, sensitive, fat, vegetarian and bookish. When he moves from London to the Northern Irish town of Tumdrum to start work at its library, he finds it has closed. He is relegated to mobile librarian - but all 15,000 of his books have been stolen. The 'investigation' that ensues allows author Ian Sansom to parade the local eccentrics, some of whom will surely reappear in this Mobile Library series. 'The missing tomes are almost incidental to the slapstick comedy and hilarious cultural misunderstandings that keep the pages turning,' said The Daily Mail. The Guardian was equally amused, with its reviewer understanding why Sansom couldn't 'resist overegging the pudding in places'. He added: 'It's not truly satisfying as a piece of detective fiction, but ... that was not Sansom's intention.'




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