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The Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Series #4)

The Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Series #4)

4.6 3
by Ian Sansom

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“[Israel’s] fish-out-of-water dilemmas and encounters with kooky locals will resonate with Alexander McCall Smith fans.” —Publishers Weekly


Author Ian Sansom “clearly loves a good laugh” (Washington Post), as his delightful mystery series featuring rumpled, fish-out-of-water, Jewish vegetarian


“[Israel’s] fish-out-of-water dilemmas and encounters with kooky locals will resonate with Alexander McCall Smith fans.” —Publishers Weekly


Author Ian Sansom “clearly loves a good laugh” (Washington Post), as his delightful mystery series featuring rumpled, fish-out-of-water, Jewish vegetarian librarian Israel Armstrong indisputably proves. The Bad Book Affair is Israel’s fourth hilarious adventure as he tools around Ireland in a rattletrap bookmobile trying to solve the mystery of a missing teenage girl while trying to keep his mess of a personal life in order. Sansom’s Mobile Library Mystery series has made a big splash with critics on both sides of “the Pond.” The New York Times Book Review loves their “formidable reserves of insight and humor,” while the London Times calls Israel “one of the most original and exciting amateur sleuths around.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Sansom's satiric fourth mobile library mystery (after 2008's The Book Stops Here), Israel Armstrong, an English Jewish vegetarian mobile librarian and amateur sleuth, embarks on yet another bumblingly endearing case in Tumdrum, “on the northernmost coast of the north of the north of Northern Ireland.” The day after Israel allows 14-year-old Lyndsay Morris to borrow a “bad book” (i.e., Philip Roth's American Pastoral), Lyndsay, daughter of prominent Unionist candidate Maurice Morris, disappears. The coincidence is enough to make Israel suspect in the eyes of his boss, Linda Wei, a lesbian Chinese single mother, as well as the police and a nosy newspaper reporter. Never mind the thin plot and minimal detection. Sansom uses the naïve Israel to poke fun at politics, religion, prejudice, and pretensions of all sorts. Readers will particularly enjoy the passages devoted to the efforts to keep books like American Pastoral out of the hands of the young and impressionable. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Ireland's only English Jewish vegetarian mobile librarian suffers through a bout of melancholia. Why bathe? he wonders. Why even get out of bed? Israel Armstrong, days away from turning 30, months away from having his former girlfriend Gloria answer his calls, has taken to his fetid bed in the rented, barely livable, redone chicken coop he now calls home in the relentlessly boring town of Tumdrum in the north of the north of northern Ireland. Ted, his Malaprop-spouting bookmobile partner, chases Israel out of bed and back to work, where the unthinkable happens: Israel lets a 14-year-old girl borrow one of the Unshelved, books deemed too unseemly for young eyes. Did Philip Roth's American Pastoral convince young Lyndsay to run away? Library director Linda Wei blames Israel, and so does Lyndsay's pa, ousted Unionist politician Maurice Morris, now campaigning for reelection. Veronica, the sultry reporter who earlier dangled herself before Israel, makes him an offer he can't refuse: Find Lyndsay or become the tabloid headline of the day. So off he goes to interview Lyndsay's mum, ex-boyfriend, fellow members of a charismatic religious group, and so forth. Their conversations allow the puckish author to satirize food, church, politics, kids, the Irish, the English, J.K. Rowling, audioWhither the mystery? one might ask. But that would be churlish in light of all the rollicking wit from satirist Sansom (The Book Stops Here, 2008, etc.).
The Belfast Telegraph
“[a] comic masterpiece”
Daily Mail (London)
“A wonderfully comic novel...Ian Sansom has an acute sense of the absurd, and does not allow sympathetic intimacy to stand in the way of some wicked barbs.”
LA Weekly
“A humane, big-hearted and sometimes devastatingly funny book.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“An endearing first novel...People cross paths, hook up, split up, say good-bye. Narrative unity derives less from the story than from the amiable persona of the narrator himself, in all his rambling, digressive warmth, and his mild insistence throughout
New York Newsday
“A work of tender and bonhomous refraction. ...Sansom is emphatically unpretentious in his portrayal of the ordinary lives of ordinary folk, and his gentle humor buoys their humdrum lives…pleasing, amusing and honest.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Mobile Library Series , #4
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Meet the Author

Ian Sansom is a frequent contributor and critic for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books, and The Spectator and a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. He is the author of nine books including Paper: An Elegy, and the Mobile Library Series.

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Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Series #4) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Mobile librarian Israel Armstrong reaches Tumdrum, in Northern Ireland to allow locals to borrow books. The next day, Israel is open for business thanks to his coop mate Ted's nagging. Fourteen year old Lyndsay Morris borrows an adult only Roth's American Pastoral that she knows her parents especially her politically ambitious father Maurice would ban from their home. When Lyndsay disappears, the local cops and the media believe Israel abducted her. Library director Linda Wei holds Israel culpable for lending a bad book to a child. Tabloid journalist Veronica threatens to turn him into red meat for a pack of rapid reporters and Maurice goes after him as a tool to regain his lost political seat. His traveling partner in the chicken coop Ted throws him out into the cold suggesting he get to work. If you seek a strong amateur sleuth, don't bother with the Bad Book Affair as the whodunit investigation is at best a modest proposal. However, if you seek a terrific satire that skewers the lofty affectations and posturing of political, media, and religious leaders by lampooning their holier than thou prejudices and sham social issues (for instance ban the book), than The Book Stops Here. Fans who enjoy a wild witty swift impaling of the self-aggrandizing will want to read the latest adventures of the innocent Israel. Harriet Klausner
Good_will_ambassador More than 1 year ago
Each book in the series just gets better! Is there a TV series in the future?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago