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Dewey Decimated (Werner-Bok Library Mysteries #1)

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  88 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Mass Market Paperback, 245 pages
Published January 1st 1988 by Harper Perennial (first published March 1st 1977)
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Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The author is my great uncle - one of my favorite people and a great mentor! His writing style is humorous and witty and his personality is quite obvious through each book published.
Jan C
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Fascinating. This book was so informative that it made up for the slow start.

Unless you are a librarian, this has everything you probably ever wanted to know about rare books and incunabula (a phrase I've not often used since I was in Library School).

It has jealousy, envy, hatred - all of the academic kind that one might find in a research library. And, of course, it has murder, mayhem and poses the question of just how easy (or hard) might it be to steal from the rare books collection.

The he
This is a reread for me, and an enjoyable one. Someone is accusing the Werner-Bok Library in Washington DC of acquiring rare books of insufficient quality for its world renowned collection. After several leters and bad press, the director brings in his friend and a former library director himself, Professor Edward George, to nose around a bit. Meanwhile two employees of the Werner-Bok are murdered. Are all of these events connected? Professor George is ably assisted by Crighton Jones, a young wo ...more
May 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Fairly dated. Apparently smoke detectors weren't a common thing in the late '70s?? It's a wonder anyone survived.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'll read almost anything set in libraries or with librarians. This book was written in 1977, the year I started college and declared my major as "library science", so I was reading it a little more critically than I do some other books.

Goodrum did a good job of painting the pictures of major libraries that have very old books and both manuscript and rare book collections. The descriptions of the closed stacks, the methods for tracking materials and they "how" of the murder all rang very true to
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
"The serene world of rare books and cultivated librarians beset by theft and murder." (front-page)

Someone has been sending letters to the press suggesting that the famous Werner-Bok collections are obviously ridiculous idea! Until a most unlibrary-like murder occurs. Though written in 1977 I bet many rare book libraries are still run in a very similar fashion today (though I suppose the clerks aren't using typewriters). More difficult for modern sensibilities is the character of
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pros: Brisk, delightful, old-school mystery set in the hallowed stacks of a rare books & manuscripts library in the heart of DC. Written by a former research director of the Library of Congress. Not the 'cozy mystery' genre that so many library-set stories end up falling into.

Cons: Takes a stab at featuring an awesomely-named, vocally-feminist heroine, but squashes her agency and personality at every turn. To the point that it starts to seem deliberate.

Also, while the title is delightfully c
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Proving that librarians and historians kick ass (unless you happen to be a woman- this book is pretty damn sexist I'm afraid to say), this book was an interesting, funny and almost disturbing read. As a librarian, I kept shaking my head at conventions that are STILL in practice today. This book was written in 1977 for Christ's sake! And we still operate in much the same way! That's frakking ridiculous!!! Although this book marginalized me as a woman, it empowered me as a librarian and for that i ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
It's not very well-written, but it's still charming and library-geeky. And if you ignore the speechy dialogue, odd pacing, uncertain handling of point-of-view, even more uncertain handling of female characters, and weird explications (really, the library director has never heard of "foxing"?), there's a clever crime and a couple genuinely chilling moments--especially a locked-in-the-library-stacks-in-pitch-blackness scene that is definitely drawn from life.
Christopher Everest
First published in 1977 this is the world of card catalog(ue)s in libraries. Where it was more feasible to steal rare books and to even read rare books. The computer is about to change lives but this still holds up as one of the great library series of crime fiction. This is also the book where Steve Carson meets Crichton Jones first.
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first fell hopelessly in love with this book as an undergraduate library science student way back in the early '80s. After many years it's good to see that there are others that love it too. I'm looking forward to reading it again after many many years.
May 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Since I'm a librarian and am writing a book featuring libraries, I'm always interested in books about the subject. This, while old, wasn't really out-of-date. I'll have to research to discover whether Werner-Bok is a real library. I liked the main characters.
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
When the head of the prestigious Werner-Bok Library's manuscript division is found dead, there are few mourners. But three people--visiting retired librarian Edward George, the library's public relations person Crighton Jones, and graduate student Steve Carson--suspect that it may be murder.
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Don't read it at night in a library! Suspense, humor, books, research, sex...this book has it all, and it's by my Great Uncle Chuck, too!
Rachel Cohen
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Definitely not the best book I've read between the sexist language and loose ends never tied up, but slightly enjoyable nonetheless.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Great mystery for librarians. Loved it!
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This mystery is super-campy and very library- and archives-heavy. So of course I loved it!
Apr 16, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: exceptionally bored librarians
tepid mystery about a rare book library. totally boring, uninspired, and moderately sexist.
Thoroughly enjoyable!
Lynne Cosmano
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
semi obvious who dun it and a bit old fashioned sounding
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May 01, 2011
Maggie Graham
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Aug 18, 2015
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Nov 26, 2012
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Jun 12, 2012
Debbie Darwine
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Apr 19, 2011
Mike Fazey
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Oct 16, 2013
Edward Sargisson
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Apr 24, 2010
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Aug 17, 2010
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Of Springfield, Virginia, passed away on Friday, September 21, 2012 at his residence. Beloved husband of Donna Belle Goodrum; devoted father of Christopher Kent Goodrum of California, Julia Belle (Peter) Freitag of Wake Forest, NC and Geoffrey Paul Goodrum of Alexandria, VA; loving grandfather of Gregory, Rachel and Tristan Freitag.
He received degrees from W
More about Charles A. Goodrum...

Other Books in the Series

Werner-Bok Library Mysteries (4 books)
  • Carnage of the Realm
  • The Best Cellar
  • A Slip of the Tong