The Bad Book Affair
A Mobile Library Mystery
By Ian Sansom
(William Morrow Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780061452017, 368pp.)
Publication Date: January 2010
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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 is a regular contributor to The Guardian and the London Review of Books. He lives in Northern Ireland.
“…the dialogue is certainly amusing. Readers who enjoy send-ups of crime novels, talk-radio hosts, city pomposities and rural eccentricities will queue up for the series…”
“[THE BOOK STOPS HERE] succeeds as a light farce . . . The book’s high point is the acerbic portrayal of the personalities making up the Mobile Library Steering Committee, but most every page will elicit a grin, if not a chuckle.”
“[Sansom’s] fish-out-of-water dilemmas and encounters with kooky locals will resonate with Alexander McCall Smith fans”
“[a] comic masterpiece”
-The Belfast Telegraph
“A work of tender and bonhomous refraction. ...Sansom is emphatically unpretentious in his portrayal of the ordinary lives of ordinary folk, and his gentle humor buoys their humdrum lives…pleasing, amusing and honest.”
-New York Newsday
“A wonderfully comic novel...Ian Sansom has an acute sense of the absurd, and does not allow sympathetic intimacy to stand in the way of some wicked barbs.”
-Daily Mail (London)
“A humane, big-hearted and sometimes devastatingly funny book.”
“A clever, affectionate poke in the ribs…. Sansom...discovers an exceptionally lively world.”
“An endearing first novel...People cross paths, hook up, split up, say good-bye. Narrative unity derives less from the story than from the amiable persona of the narrator himself, in all his rambling, digressive warmth, and his mild insistence throughout
-Daily Telegraph (London)