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The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library Mystery #1)
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The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library Mystery #1)

3.05 of 5 stars 3.05  ·  rating details  ·  2,047 ratings  ·  460 reviews
Israel Armstrong is a passionate soul, lured to Ireland by the promise of an exciting new career. Alas, the job that awaits him is not quite what he has in mind. Still, Israel is not one to dwell on disappointment, as he prepares to drive a mobile library around a small, damp Irish town. After all, the scenery is lovely, the people are charming--but where are the books? Th ...more
Paperback, 329 pages
Published January 2nd 2006 by Harper Collins Publishers (first published 2005)
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Avete presente quei commenti in copertina scritti per chissà quanti millemila euro da giornali importanti, come il New York Times etc. etc.? Vorrei dire, quei commenti che ci prendono per il culo 'Scrittura magistrale, una storia da togliere il fiato' e lusinghe varie? Ecco, io mica ci credo mai a queste cazzatine che scrivono sullo stile, su quant'è bravo Tal dei Tali, su quanto la sua storia sia una spirale di emozioni, però, quando ho letto 'Antidoto alla malinconia' scritto dal The Guardian ...more
It was obvious from when I ordered this book that it would not be your average mystery: young Jewish (half Irish) man arrives from joblessness in London to a small town in Ireland - Tumdrum - in the expectation of taking up a post as the new town librarian. After a hellish trip, which turns out to be fairly typical of his luck, he discovers that funding has been cut, the library will be sold and razed, and his new job is to be driving the mobile library replacing the brick and mortar stationary ...more
I did not like this book. It’s a fish-out-of-water tale where Israel Armstrong moves from London to northern Ireland to be a librarian. As are many small communities, Israel has a rough transition that is exacerbated by almost every member of the community. He’s so hapless that his continual misfortunes don’t garner an abundance of sympathy. I did not find a single character in this book likable.

He also must solve the mystery of the missing library books which goes just as badly as his transitio
Mar 15, 2008 Carolyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all librarians
Recommended to Carolyn by: Washington Post Book Review
This is a charmer. This is the story of a vegetarian librarian from London who finds himself in rural Ireland running a run down bookmobile with no books. Israel Atmstrong, the librarian, is a composite of Walter Mitty, Inspector Clouseau and a bit of Ignatius Reilly. The people in the village would also be right at home in Twin Peaks. How can anyone resist this? The joy in this read is the richness of the characters coupled with wonderful writing of Ian Sansom. I have read some criticism that i ...more
Mary Tuley
Nov 20, 2007 Mary Tuley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who's hipper than me, and that should be a large group
I know I should've loved this book, but I really didn't -- probably because it's rougher and grimmer than I could enjoy right now. However, I still think it deserves four or five stars, for all the open-minded readers who WILL enjoy it. Besides, the main premise -- that the new librarian has to go search for the library's books, all of which have been misplaced -- gets automatic points for originality and fun.
BJ Rose
Israel Armstrong is an overweight vegetarian Englishman with a Jewish mother and an Irish father who takes the job of librarian in a Northern Ireland village. A few problems erupt immediately, however. The library is closed permanently, the Mobile Library he's supposed to use is an empty, rusty van, AND all the books are missing! And the craziness begins.

I do not enjoy slapstick comedy, and I'm sure I would not like a movie version of this book. But I think that the reason this works in book for
Israel Armstrong, a half-Jewish, half-Irish slacker is hired by the local council of Tumdrum, a small town in Northern Ireland, to be the librarian for a newly-instituted mobile library. There's only one small problem (aside from the fact that Israel hates everyone in and everything about Tumdrum): the library's entire collection of books is missing and Israel is expected to find it. Our hero becomes an unlikely gumshoe, determined to trace his missing collection and in the process discovers tha ...more
Ruth Turner


I really wanted to like this book, but I didn't.

A cast of unlikeable characters, inane dialogue and a little too much slapstick. At times I was reminded of the Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First."


Rob Kitchin
The Case of the Missing Books is effectively a cozy set in Northern Ireland. It has a quirky, awkward, central character as the sleuth and a cast of other colourful characters, and it takes place in a small town where everybody knows everybody else. The central plot revolves around Armstrong trying to find his feet in a strange place, where the locals are at one level welcoming and, at another, standoffish, whilst he tries to locate the missing books. It’s one of those books that I’m kind of amb ...more
I loved this book although I realize that it won't be everyone's cup of tea. Israel Armstrong is a librarian--well, he has his degree and has worked in several short-term situations--who is willing to relocate from London to Tumdrum, a small town in Northern Ireland, in order to finally have a job in a full-time position. Israel is around 30 and is a Jewish vegetarian who arrives in Tumdrum to find the library closed and all of the books missing. In fact, his new supervisor, Linda Wei (Northern ...more
When I finished reading this book the three words that first came to my mind were; clever, funny, and human. I give it 3.5 stars.

The Case of the Missing Books is the first in a series about Israel Armstrong, a librarian who takes a new job only to discover it is not at all what he expected. His library is closed and all the books are missing. To top things off he is in a "quirky" small town in Ireland far from anyone he knows and surrounded by a very, um, unique set of towns people. The people i
"Israel Armstrong is a passionate soul, lured to Ireland by the promise of an exciting new career. Alas, the job that awaits him is not quite what he had in mind. Still, Israel is not one to dwell on disappointment, as he prepares to drive a mobile library around a small, damp Irish town. After all, the scenery is lovely, the people are charming -- but where are the books? The rolling library's 15,000 volumes have mysteriously gone missing, and it's up to Israel to discover who would steal them ...more
Kind of goofy, but I liked it. I liked the setting (Ireland) and the subject (libraries). I didn't especially like Israel Armstrong, the main character, but I'm not sure I was supposed to like him all that much. I really don't think life had to be that hard for him. Plenty of quirky townspeople. Plenty of possibility for more mobile library adventures.

Loved the following passage:
Israel had grown up in and around libraries. Libraries were where he belonged. Libraries to Israel had always been a
Why, oh, why don't I find incompetent librarians, obtuse supervisors, and uncooperative customers funny? Israel (the character, not the country) failed to win my sympathy (okay, maybe we're talking about the country as well). He's hostile (although it could have been blood sugar and bad travel karma - that would do it for me) and clumsy. The woman at the council is two-dimensional and her fatness and constant eating of junk food is insulting to those of us who love junk food, I guess.
Israel is
The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom is the first installment of Israel Armstrong, librarian/inept detective. Israel is a Jewish librarian from London who accepts a position as librarian in a small town in Ireland at the urging of his girlfriend. It is significant that Israel is Jewish because it is a very big deal to the residents of this small town.

Once in Ireland, Israel suffers a series of mishaps that leave him physically and emotionally bruised, penniless, and the unhappy librarian
This book reminded me, in a way, of Cold Comfort Farm - also starring a relatively-sophisticated urbanite amongst incomprehensible rural people. In this case, a bumbling, headache-prone librarian finds that the rural library that has hired him is administered by a woman whose food habits alone make him wince. The local Council has decided to close the library building and replace it with bookmobile service - not at all what Israel Armstrong had expected. Before he can begin, though, he has to fi ...more
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Kate Schindler
I had a hard time getting into this. It's about a hapless Jewish librarian from London who goes to a village in Ireland only to find out that the library he was supposed to run is closed. He's in charge of the mobile library, but the books are all missing. Some of the conversations he has are just galling. To paraphrase one between him and his boss, a bureaucrat:

Librarian: But how can I be the librarian with no books?
Boss: Looks like you'll have to find them.
Librarian: Alone?! I don't know anyon
A light, fluffy, slightly slapstick cozy mystery that is an easy and pleasant read with a few laugh-out-loud moments. I love cozy mysteries like this for their refreshingly inconsequential crimes — following the search for 15,000 missing library books makes for a nice break from the dramatic build up (and often inevitable let down) of other more serious mystery and crime novels.
Another book that I forced myself to read 100 pages and then could not stomach it after that. I have a hard time putting up with blundering idiots in real life so it's little wonder why I can't tolerate them in my books. The main character of this novel is whiny and kind of mean and the author blames it on the fact that he is a book person and therefore sensitive and shy. In other words his love of books has led him to have no fortitude. That was the first big tip off that I was probably not goi ...more
First, I have to thank Bonnie for her review of book 4 in this series: I'd never heard of Ian Sansom and the Mobile Library Mysteries before, but her great review made me want to read them.

I loved every minute of reading this book. I don't have one of those dainty, giggly-girl laughs, I have an embarrassingly loud, guffaw-type of laugh, and let me tell you, I've embarrassed myself in the lunchroom, the doctor's waiting room, and woken up my husband laughing out loud at this book. The dialog is
I decided to carry on reading this book even though it was full of dreadful cliched characters and a weak plot. I just wanted to find out where the books were. I can't find any info about Ian Sampson but I am assuming he is English, and at times I felt that this book could be a bit insulting to Irish people in the way he portrayed them. On the other hand, they may be so easy going as to say "Ach, its only a silly book" as one of his characters may say.

On the plus side, it was a pretty quick read
A vegetarian Jewish Londoner gets his first librarian job in a small town in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, the library is closed. He's assigned to drive the mobile library, but first he has to find out where the fifteen thousand books disappeared. Meanwhile, he tries to fit into a small town where he's constantly reminded about church, offered a lot of meat, and forced to sleep in a chicken coop. Hilarious! The author writes with a sly, dry wit, and the small-town life details are almost cyni ...more
Huh. I must have read this shortly before I joined goodreads, since I clearly remember doing so but don't have it noted here. Anyway, it was cute, but not interesting enough to read the rest of the series, if I recall correctly. I really wanted more about the librarians interactions with the patrons and the books, not so much the librarian as a person beyond his role, and not so much 'mystery' and small-town politics.
Mi sono avvicinato al libro attratto dalla copertina assai accattivante, rustica e ho deciso di acquistarlo nella speranza di assaggiare un pò d'Irlanda, paese che mi ha sempre affascinato. Così ho fatto la conoscenza dell' "Eroe Riluttante" Israel Armstrong personaggio particolare ma non per questo poco realistico, che viene a trovarsi in un posto ostile, circondato da persone diffidenti e impegnato a risolvere il caso della sparizione dei libri dalla biblioteca comunale di Tundrum.
Il racconto
this was a charity shop find, and I'm glad I brought it home, full of funny characters, in situations that were perfectly believable (well, possibly not the books, but the way new people are treated in a small village)
I particualrly enjoyed the character of TEd, off to look for more now!
I worked in a public library for 5 years and this book is an insult to library staff! All the characters seem to be caricatured and not one of them was likeable. The premise of the 'stolen library books' was ridiculous nonsense (I won't spoil the plot by revealing where they were but let's just say 'impossible in a small community') and the world of rural Northern Ireland must surely not be quite so closed and simple minded as implied here. 'Israel' came dangerously close to a racist slur on the ...more
This is the first novel in The Mobile Library series and follows Israel Armstrong as he travels to Ireland and begins his new job as the librarian for Tumdrum. On arrival he discovers that the library has been closed as result of council cuts and he is to resurrect the old Mobile Library service. He has a clapped out bus that can serve as the mobile library, but no books! They have all mysteriously disappeared! The rest of the novel follows Israel as he meets the natives (animals and human) and ...more
I read this years ago, after it first came out. I remember liking it, but not so much that I followed up on the author's other works -- or maybe I'd forgotten about it by the time the next book came out.
Tony Fisher
I was looking forward to reading this book, mainly as I enjoy mystery/crime books with the added bonus of being set in Northern Ireland with added humour.
I was disappointed .

Certainly I did not like the Northern Irish characters at the start of the book, as they were so unwelcoming and generally ripping off the central newly arrived character, Israel Armstrong, from London. A little too much slapstick without any warmth to begin with. Unbelievable when Israel is housed in a Chicken Coop as his
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Fiction Addiction: * The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom 3 8 Nov 15, 2013 02:26AM  
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  • The Librarian: A Novel
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Other Books in the Series

Mobile Library Mystery (4 books)
  • Mr. Dixon Disappears (Mobile Library Mystery #2)
  • The Book Stops Here (Mobile Library Mystery, #3)
  • The Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Mystery, #4)
Mr. Dixon Disappears (Mobile Library Mystery #2) The Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Mystery, #4) The Book Stops Here (Mobile Library Mystery, #3) The Norfolk Mystery (The County Guides, #1) Paper: An Elegy

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