The Case of the Missing Books–Ian Sansom


This is one of my favorite books. It’s a random one to be one of my favorites but it is and I love it. I read it probably twice a year, usually when I’m sad or stressed and want to feel happier.

It’s totally absurd, but so so funny.

The book features Israel Armstong, a nominally Jewish librarian. He’s always WANTED to be a librarian but has actually been working at a bookstore in a mall in England whilst living with his vastly more successful lawyer girlfriend.

He applies for and gets a job as a librarian in Ireland (Northern Ireland? my grasp of Irish distinctions is not good) which seems like a promising career move. His girlfriend encourages him to take the job and the readers realize far faster than Israel does that she’s dumping him via job offer. Harsh.

When he gets to Ireland, he discovers that his accommodations are in a chicken coop on a farm, his library is a mobile library, and the books are all completely missing.

He’s told he can’t quit because they won’t pay his way home if he does, and if he wants out he has to find the books.

He then spends the book trying to understand his Irish neighbors whilst solving his missing book problem. Humor ensues.

I don’t know why I love it so much, other people I know who have read it are pretty meh on it, but I do. And for that reason I recommend it. I think this, the first book in the series, is the best in the series.


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