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The Book Stops Here: A Mobile Library Mystery    by Ian Sansom order for
Book Stops Here
by Ian Sansom
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2008 (2008)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Book Stops Here, third in the Mobile Library Mystery series - is actually light on mystery (even for a cozy), and heavy on banter and irony. It's narrated by Israel Armstrong, whose great dream of 'a life communing with books' has been reduced - in his role 'as a mobile librarian on the perpetually damp north coast of the north of the north of Ireland' - to living in a Tumdrum chicken coop and communing with tomes with titles like The Official US Navy Seals Diet or How to Become a Babillionaire - Tomorrow!

Israel's ongoing plans to resign from his life in exile are cut short by his boss and nemesis, Linda Wei, offering Israel and his colleague Ted the opportunity to upgrade Ted's beloved (but rather decrepit) van and attend the Mobile Meet (where mobile librarians 'swap experiences and discuss the latest technology', participate in sessions like Bibliotherapy, and compete in a Concours d'Elégance for the best-looking van) - in England. Israel jumps at the opportunity to head home and reconnect with his girlfriend Gloria, dragging a reluctant Ted (and his dog) with him - they even make a bet on the outcome.

Of course, we all know what happens to the best laid plans. While Israel and Gloria never seem to connect, his mother Eva and Ted get on like a house on fire. Then the van is stolen, sending the mobile librarians careening around the country. After the pursuit takes the daring duo to Stonehenge, they even make the Mobile Meet - before the police catch up with them. I loved the concept, the initial Northern Ireland setting (where I grew up), the satire of reading tastes, and the wry humor throughout. But I would have preferred a little more mystery in this Mobile Library Mystery series - perhaps next time.

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