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The bad book affair
Ian Sansom
Adult Fiction SANSOM

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In Sansom's satiric fourth mobile library mystery (after 2008's The Book Stops Here), Israel Armstrong, an English Jewish vegetarian mobile librarian and amateur sleuth, embarks on yet another bumblingly endearing case in Tumdrum, "on the northernmost coast of the north of the north of Northern Ireland." The day after Israel allows 14-year-old Lyndsay Morris to borrow a "bad book" (i.e., Philip Roth's American Pastoral), Lyndsay, daughter of prominent Unionist candidate Maurice Morris, disappears. The coincidence is enough to make Israel suspect in the eyes of his boss, Linda Wei, a lesbian Chinese single mother, as well as the police and a nosy newspaper reporter. Never mind the thin plot and minimal detection. Sansom uses the naive Israel to poke fun at politics, religion, prejudice, and pretensions of all sorts. Readers will particularly enjoy the passages devoted to the efforts to keep books like American Pastoral out of the hands of the young and impressionable. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Israel Armstrong (The Book Stops Here) is in a bad way-the Jewish, vegetarian, city-bred librarian is still stuck in rural Northern Ireland, still despised by his boss, and still battling the demands of his book mobile patrons. And now that his girlfriend has left, Israel has taken to his bed and new depths of pseudo-existential despair. There are many funny scenes and some horrifyingly realistic portrayals of the challenges in serving the reading (or nonreading) public that anyone who has worked a reference desk will relate to all too easily. But Israel's haplessness pales a bit in this fourth installment by Guardian contributor Sansom. Like others in the series, this entry features a mystery of sorts-a missing teen last seen checking out restricted material, which makes Israel a suspect-but the real point is the interplay between fish-out-of-water Israel and the colorful supporting characters. Verdict Fans of M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series will appreciate the local color and a less-than-admirable hero, but first-timers will prefer the earlier books, where Israel isn't such a pill.-Devon Thomas, DevIndexing, Chelsea, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Israel Armstrong
Vegetarian; disgruntled; works at a mobile library; returns to his home to attend a librarian convention; his mobile library becomes stolen.

Ted Carson
Israel's mobile library companion; travels with Israle to London for a librarian convention.

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