Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Book Stops Here-Ian Sansom

The Book Stops Here
Ian Sansom
Harper, Aug 2008, $13.95
ISBN: 0061452009

In Tumdrum, Northern Ireland Jewish mobile librarian Israel Armstrong informs his peer Ted Carson that for him THE BOOK STOPS HERE as he plans to tell their boss Linda he is resigning so he can restart his exciting London life especially with his girlfriend. However, before he can open his moth, Linda tells Israel and Ted they will to London on an all paid expenses trip to represent their district at the annual mobile library gala. Ted does not want to go claiming he once went to Belfast, which was enough of a big city for him. However, Israel, dropping his quitting plans at least until after the trip, cons his mobile partner into going by betting the prideful Carson that their library vehicle will win no prizes from the Mobile Library Steering Committee unless there is something given for the worst.

On the way to London, the duo stops in Finchley to see Israel’s mom only to lose the van, which makes no sense to Israel as the vehicle is a crappy rusty junker older than him. He, his Londoner mom, and Ted search for the lost mobile in a quest that takes them to Stonehenge in order to recover and bring the mobile to the competition before Linda learns they lost the vehicle.

The third Mobile Library mystery (see THE CASE OF THE MISSING BOOKS and MR. DIXON DISAPPEARS) is a lighthearted frolic that never takes itself seriously. The stolen van mystery is low keyed as the tale focuses on the misadventures of the lead pair and the ensemble support cast consisting mostly of family, the Mobile Library Committee, the thieves and a few other eccentrics. Although crime buffs will pass, fans of an amusing satirical mystery will laugh at the antics of those crime busting buddies "not" Israel and Ted.

Harriet Klausner