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Miss Zukas and the Library Murders (Miss Zukas #1)

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  906 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Meet Miss Zukas . . . the very proper, exceedingly conscientious, and relentlessly curious local librarian of tiny Bellehaven, Washington--and one heck of an amateur sleuth! The Bellehaven police are baffled when a dead body turns up right in the middle of the library's fiction stacks. But Miss Helma Zukas--who never fails to make note of the slightest deviation from the n ...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published March 1st 1994 by Avon Books
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One for the Money by Janet EvanovichThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Cozy Mystery Series
85th out of 454 books — 1,334 voters
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Best Cozy Mystery Series
114th out of 968 books — 1,104 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,689)
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Jenn Estepp
Librarian mystery, because why not? I appreciated some of the professional details, but would love it if the main character would take the stick out of her butt. Also, super convoluted mystery aspect is no great shakes.
Patrick Henry
Aug 21, 2009 Patrick Henry rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults and YA
These are just fun mysteries to read (there are 8 in the series). Although we catalog as adult, YA readers may enjoy them as well.

Miss Zukas is the main character and is trying to solve a murder that occured in the library in the fiction aisle while the branch was closed.

Miss Zukas is very serious, single, a little social inept, librarian. Her friend Ruth is just the opposite. It's fun to read the interections that the two of them have.
The author is pretty good in decribing places...

This is a "
...more
JoAnne
This book is okay as far as the mystery, which is why I gave it 2 stars. However, the main character (Miss Zukas) is completely unlikeable. She is a librarian, only 36, but a prissy woman who acts like she is 90. She doesn't like anything about anyone; she makes disparaging remarks about her co-workers, and she can't understand why she is friends with Ruth (supposedly her best friend). These two are SO different, you can't imagine them as even wanting to spend time with each other. The friend is ...more
Dianna
One of my all-time favorite mystery series!! Miss Helma Zukas's love for order and attention to detail make her a great librarian . . . and a natural for ferreting out the truth in mysteries. The author gives us terrific details about Miss Zukas that help us to really feel that we know this person. For example, Helma hates hot-tubbing (who wants to sit around in warmed over water that other people have been bathing in???) It is an added bonus that this series is set just outside of Seattle with ...more
Janet
Okay, I admit it. If Helma hadn’t been a librarian, I probably would be more willing to continue in this series. I couldn’t get over the fact that—whether she meant to or not—Dereske seems to have played into the typical stereotype for a librarian. Helma has a tidy bun, glasses, fussy mannerisms, and no-nonsense outfits in drab colors. I thought she was elderly until the author let it slip she’s only in her 30s. Call it childish, but I have no interest in the further adventures of Miss Z.
Katharine Kimbriel
All right, just to be confusing, I'll say you'll have to check my other review connected to this series. I am ruling the series uneven. I happened to find the first one again and re-read it. Still a nice introduction. But I feel the author's handling of her characters has changed in later books, as if she's forgotten what made them charming.

This was what I really enjoyed about the series. Recommended.
❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes)
I'm not sure what to think about this one - it started off with Miss Zukas being so prudish and prim that it wasn't enjoyable to read, but I could see character development as the story progressed. I guess the culprit almost from the beginning, but it was still a great storyline.
Michelle
I am currently reading Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske.

Miss Zukas And The Library Muders
Jo Dereske
Mystery
258 pages

Meet Miss Zukas . . . the very proper, exceedingly conscientious, and relentlessly curious local librarian of tiny Bellehaven, Washington—and one heck of an amateur sleuth!

The Bellehaven police are baffled when a dead body turns up right in the middle of the library's fiction stacks. But Miss Helma Zukas—who never fails to make note of the slightest deviation f
...more
Spuddie
#1 Helma Zukas mystery. Wilhelmina "Helma" Zukas, a thirty-something librarian working in a smallish seaside town in Washington State, is a very precise woman. So when she is a little late for work one morning (she knocked over a houseplant when she went back into the apartment to make sure she'd drawn the blinds--and had to clean it up) only to find a police car parked in HER spot, she's a little put out. Arriving inside, she finds that there's a murdered body in the Mo-Ne aisle of the fiction ...more
Elizabeth
Only a few pages into the book, but I like it so far - read some of the very negative reviews, but I think I will like the qualities of Miss Zukas that other readers are criticizing.

An easy read, but I particularly enjoyed the references to library settings (shifting books, weeding collections, answering reference questions).

I like Helma Zukas. I like that her apartment is pristine and her clothes are arranged in categories and she keeps her car in like-new condition and that she wants to turn o
...more
Scilla
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann
For those of us who have worked in public libraries, Jo Dereske has written a most entertaining cozy mystery. Helma Zukas is a wonderful, if compulsive character, and her friend Ruth is the perfect foil.

Actually "Miss Zukas and the Library Murders" is the first title in the twelve book series, which ends with "Farewell Miss Zukas." I originally read most of the titles in paperback years ago and notice that many are now available again if only for Kindle.

Helma Zukas, a very serious and precise pe
...more
Nicole
Miss Zukas character is fastidious, formal, and habitual while her cousin, Ruth, is the large, rumpled, opposite in every trait. They became friends in the circumstances of their childhood so continue despite making the other slightly uncomfortable.
Miss Zukas chances to find a note left by the victim in the city directories he had looked at the day he was killed in the library. Then begins a series of really silly interactions between the amateur sleuths and the murderer. Silly on the scale of
...more
Barbara
This was my first read by this author, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was not deep. It was not complex. It had a cute little puzzle. The characters in this slim volume were more caricatures, but with hints of history and depth that could be revealed later and a bit at a time through a series.

Prim and proper librarian Wilhelmina Zukas is totally unlike me (I'm a messie, folks), but her friend Ruth has the flamboyance she lacks. The two go well together. I expect I'll go back and pick
...more
Robin B
I adored this series set in the library world, and quickly grew attached to Miss Zukas and her "silver-dime" voice.
Reenie Peppers
It was interesting, mostly because the sleuth was a librarian. However, there are so many other mystery authors that I think are more enjoyable.
Susan
Helma Zukas is a reference librarian who likes order and accuracy. When a body is found in the library, Helma recognizes the man as someone who has recently used one of the reference books. She can't help but think that she can contribute something to the police investigation, though the handsome, divorced police chief seems to think otherwise. Helma has the help of her Bohemian artist friend Ruth, and the hindrance of her widowed mother, who lives nearby. Many librarians feel that Helma plays t ...more
Lbaker
Wouldn't we all like to be as organized, as measured and calculated as Miss Helma Zukas - at least sometimes? I always envy those people who always look correct, act correct and seem to know exactly what they are doing and where they are going, and Miss Zukas is certainly one of those people.

However, it is very pleasing (perhaps this shows a bad side of my personality, but..) to see things go wrong for someone who seems so perfect.

I adore her friend Ruth - madcap, silly and over the top, a perf
...more
Caitlin
So I picked this up because it was in a book club book bag at one of the libraries I visited. I thought that being a book club pick would make it a some what good choice, boy was I wrong. The female heroine is what I would compare to the female version of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. She is very logical and speaks English very well. I just didn't relate to the character and while the writing was good, I just didn't find it funny when it was suppose to be, it didn't make up for the ma ...more
Donna
I love mysteries (obviously) and I love librarians (of course), but this Miss Zukas really got on my nerves. She's Saint Marian Paroo with OCD. The way she knows her apartment was burgled defies the imagination...see my home for an example!

However, Helma seems to develop a bit as the story proceeds and I might be willing to read the next in the series.

I was able to figure out the murderer before Miss Zukas, but I still don't exactly understand what he was doing to earn his fortune.
Erika
I finished this book only because I commit to finishing all my club reads, but the journey was painfully dull. Miss Zukas is simultaneously unpleasant and uninteresting. The book is not standing the test of time, either; while many books lacking reference to current technology and other modern trappings retain vibrancy, this one feels washed out and simple, like a seventies made-for-TV movie. Something is missing, and it's not just flashy, up-to-the-minute props and references.
Janice
This book was okay, the main character is an anal-retentive prissy librarian, with occassional human feeling and compassion making a brief appearance. I think with more books Helma may develop into a more likeable character. This was a very quick light read, not sure if I will pursue more in this series. I mainly read this because of the setting, Washington state, as my son lives there now, and I like learning more about that area of the country.
LJ
MISS ZUKAS AND THE LIBRARY MURDERS - G
Dereske, Jo - 1st in Miss Zukas series

With the help of her not-so-proper best friend, Ruth, a six-foot-tall bohemian artist, Helma Zukas investigates the appearance of a dead body right in the middle of the library's fiction stacks.

The story is very light with a slightly annoying protagonist, but I did like it more than I expected. Still, I doubt I'll read more of this series.
Sheila
This was the first in the Helma Zukas mystery series. I would classify this as a cozy mystery starring Helma Zukas prim and proper librarian. I didn't find the character of Helma very endearing as she seemed like a "stuffed shirt" and way too OCD for me. I'm not sure I would bother reading any further in the series unless I was pretty desparate for somethhing to read. I'll be generous and give it ★★★'s.
Awallens
this book made me chuckle. Miss Zukas is so proper it hurts, but you can slowly see her loosen up if only a bit at the conclusion of the book. The conclusion of the mystery was tied up to fast, though, and I felt the author rushed it a bit. I will definitely read more in the series, if only to see the character progression of Miss Zukas, but I won't hold out much hope for the mysteries themselves.
Ryan Mishap
Wilhelmina Zukas is a Northern Washington coast public librarian of Lithuanian descent. She is very particular in her thoughts, daily routine, and beliefs. Dereske does a great job of crafting an uptight character without making her a caricature--and ever so slowly growing the character as the books progress.
Most of the mysteries are good and these books are fun little diversions.
Tam
I read this series a number of years ago and was just reminded of it. I really enjoyed the books, they're not overly complicated, and it has a bit of whimsy. Helma is a librarian who keeps stumbling into murders, uncovering the clues and solving the crime before her policeman beau can do it. Typical cozy fair, but enjoyable and somewhat generic.
Cindy
Sep 08, 2007 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Shelves: mysteries
I really enjoyed this one. It's the first in the series and it's been a few years since I read it. Miss Zukas is a self-contained, efficient librarian who finds her routine is disturbed when a body is found in the library. Since she dislikes to leave things unresolved, she decides she must get to the bottom of it.

A fun, light book that's easy to read.
Rebecca
This is out of print in paperback, but not in Kindle. I think I like it best of the twelve (!) Miss Zukas mysteries, even though the promising plot (coded notes hidden in library books) completely falls apart at the end. It's lively and has some wry fun with the librarian stereotype. This series deserves to be more widely known.
Deb
Aug 25, 2009 Deb added it
If u like mysteries and want one based on the West Coast -- Bellhaven, WA to be exact -- this is a great series. Miss Zukas is a 30-something librarian that solves mysteries w/her artist friend. I read the books in order (i'm anal that way) and am on the latest book of the series. Looking forward to Jo D. writing more!
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260800

I grew up in rural Michigan, greatly influenced by my Lithuanian roots. I'm one of those tedious people who wanted to write stories as soon as I learned to read, but believed I had to leave Michigan first. In fact, I couldn't wait to shake off that Michigan dust! Curiously, everything I write seems to have a connection to Michigan or my Lithuanian heritage.
I now live in the beautiful foothills of

...more
More about Jo Dereske...
Miss Zukas and the Island Murders (Miss Zukas, #2) Miss Zukas and the Stroke of Death (Miss Zukas, #3) Bookmarked to Die (Miss Zukas, #9) Catalogue of Death (Miss Zukas, #10) Miss Zukas and the Raven's Dance (Miss Zukas, #4)

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