The Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Series #4)

The Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Series #4)

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 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.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061966040
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/19/2010
Series: Mobile Library Series , #4
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,072,982
File size: 505 KB

About the Author

Ian Sansom is the author of 10 books of fiction and non-fiction. He is a former Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and a former Writer-in-Residence at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in Belfast. He is currently a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3 and he writes for The Guardian and The London Review of Books.

Customer Reviews

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Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Series #4) 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 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?
clue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth in the Moblie Library Mystery series and while this isn't my favorite I still found it entertaining. This series features a very quirky main character, an English Jewish vegetarian mobile librarian in Northern Ireland who keeps finding himself involved in rather unusual circumstances. In this case, he lends a book from the mobile library (a Philip Roth) to a 14 year old girl who disappears a short time later. The plot is rather thin but it provides the reader with some laughs and gives Sansom the opportunity to feature a serious topic, the efforts to restrict the availability of certain books to the "impressionable".
Tricoteuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When it comes to books I tend to prefer a good plot over anything else, so in that respect I found this book a little disappointing. As mysteries go it wasn't very mysterious, and not much really happens in the book. That said, I found myself really connecting to the main character, which is why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Perhaps because I'm also a librarian and of a similar age to Israel, I liked him much more than I thought I would when I first started reading the story. I think a book about him, minus the pale attempts at detective work, would've been much more interesting.
allenkl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the only book I've read from the Mobile Library Mystery Series. Frankly, if it were not a LibraryThing Early Reviewers book I would not have finished it.There is no real mystery. The main character, Israel Armstrong, has some possibilities but unfortunately his character remains undeveloped until he eventually becomes a whiny, self-absorbed old man lamenting his approaching 30th birthday. Both Ted and Pearce were more interesting characters and at times made the book humorous.A small point but what is annoyingly distracting is the author's occasionally odd placement of type and use of white space for no apparent reason and with no effect on the atmosphere or development of the story. Also, about once every page of dialogue the author has Israel say "Erm" at the beginning of a sentence. Again, a pointless distraction.I was disappointed. The setting is charming, the characters have potential but sadly I was very glad when I read the last page.
lesliecp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Israel Armstrong is a librarian who isn't entirely clear how he ended up running a mobile library in a tiny Irish town in the north of the north of Ireland. He is trying to cope with a nasty break-up and come to terms with an impending significant birthday. The health of his closest friend seems to be failing. And then, there are his strained relations with the local police and a missing girl who happened to borrow 'bad books' from the mobile library just prior to her disappearance.This was my favorite book in the series, so far. Israel's reactions to the townspeople are often hilarious and/or moving. As a plus, there was a lot of good book banter. A nice, light mystery.
cindysprocket on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading [The Case of the Missing Books], I was hoping this one would be better. I was waiting for the mystery to happen. I just wouldn't classify this as a mystery. There were some humorous spots and I do enjoy the character Ted. I think Pearce should have had a bigger part in the book. Not sure if I would read any more of his books.
Oreillynsf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The mobile library series is hard to describe but oh so easy to read. A series of absurd mysteries with a highly likely protagonist -- a vegetarian Jewish mobile librarian living in a chicken coop in northernmost Northern Ireland. If that sentence puts a smile on yer face, get this book immediately. I recommend you start at the beginning of the series, though each book gives you enough in chapter one to get the laughs you most certainly will savor.
benjclark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Israel Armstrong is turning 30, his girlfriend has dumped him without explanation, and he still doesn't enjoy living in sleepy Tumdrum. And life has worsened when the local law enforcement want to tie Israel to the disappearance of a local politician's teenage daughter and with the death of one of his only friends in Tumdrum. All in time for his six-month job review with his boss. This is my second outing w/ Israel Armstrong, and I enjoyed it, but I think it was more me than the book. I too am turning 30 shortly, have had many of the same feelings as Israel, personally and professionally. Then I frantically hope I am not like him, because he's pretty pathetic. The "mystery" part of the title can be omitted, as there is almost nothing at all about it, nor is it hard to figure out.The good: Sansom's writing has improved. Israel is pathetic, but not pitiful and comes off less whiny, which nearly caused me to not finish the first book. The characters are better, more clearly drawn than in the first book as well. Ted is wonderful, but I liked him in just the portion we got in this book.This book makes me wonder what I missed in between books 1 and 5. Honestly, the plot and story of book 5 dovetail very nicely w/ 1 so I feel like I haven't missed anything. I liked it and look forward to the next installment most importantly to learn the fate of a rather large, old private collection of books that is suddenly trying to find its way in the world. Until then, I think I'll check out the earlier books I skipped to see what I missed.
Somer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received The Bad Book Affair by Ian Sansom as a Library Thing Early Reviewer. This book is part of the Mobile Library Mystery series, but as a mystery it is very disappointing. I was more than 100 pages into the (368-page) book before the mystery appeared, and even then it didn't play a large part in the book. The book was more about the main character, Israel Armstrong's, depression over a break-up and turning 30. That said, the book made me chuckle more than once, and I did enjoy the characters. It just wasn't what I expected.
eenerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another in the Mobile Librarian series by Ian Sansom, starring the old-codger-before-his-time, Israel Armstrong. The citizens of Tumdrum are the best part of these books, and this one is enjoyably strong in that respect. Maybe in the next installment we can expect "Ted's Lexicon". Although there was some classic Tumdrumisms, this was a little more philosphical than the other books--like more about the man (Israel) than the mystery--the mystery part of it seemed more a means to an end, or even more an afterthought. Like Sansom got into this other vein and then remembered there was supposed to be a mystery in here too. Just a little different, but a good read nonetheless and a treat for those of us fans of Tumdrum and district in the north of the north of Ireland.
icewoman96 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Israel sets out to discover the fate of the daughter of a local politician who goes missing after reading some of the Unshelved books in the mobile library. I was somewhat disappointed in this book as the term Mystery was very loosely applied to this book. If you are looking for your usual mystery story, you will not find it in this novel. I found it to be more of a novel about Israel's depression surrounding the break-up of his girlfriend Gloria, his upcoming thirtieth birthday, and his state over being 'just a librarian'. There were some funny moments in the novel and some quirky dialogue , but overall a disappointment.
bibliovermis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this books for free at an ALA conference and I really enjoyed it. It's not a traditional mystery novel at all. However, I think I would have gotten much more out of it had I read the first four books in the series.
MurderMysteryMayhem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Escape this summer's next big thriller - slip away from all the scintillating suspense and plucky police procedurals and settle down with Ian Sansom's cantankerous cozy, The Bad Book Affair. Why? Because nobody's life could be as bad as Israel Armstrong's, even a librarian's.Israel is a pathetic, morose, kvetching, displaced mobile librarian in the midst of a mid-life crisis on the north coast of Ireland when he gets in to a bit of a bother with the local police. It seems he was the last one to have seen the local politician's 14-year-old daughter who has now gone missing.And Israel didn't only see her but, unluckily, checked her out a book from the "unshelved," a category of books deemed morally inappropriate for Tumdrum's youth. This is not looking good for his six month review neither is the fact that he's missed a week's work because he was drunk, depressed, and wallowing in self pity. Ted, Israel's co-worker, and the other characters of this backwater town eventually save him despite himself. The mystery isn't complicated. Israel isn't a courageous hero. There are no incredibly evil villains and the climax is anti-climatic. Whew... what a relief!If you are a pushover for any book about books, libraries, or librarians you will laugh out loud, shake your head, and smile more than once - easily enough compensation for the missing mystery.
WillowOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't. By the middle of the book I was skipping pages and pages of non-dialogue just to find out what would happen and how it would end. Prior to reading this I was planning on reading the other books in this series, but now I will not.
madnessabides on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ll admit it, I am a sucker for books where books play a role in the story - even if it is just something small, like the main character being a librarian. This is sort of a hard review because even though I had high expectations when starting this book, and was ultimately a bit let down, The Bad Book Affair, as far as I am concerned, was a relatively enjoyable read - not a bad book (haha, bad pun intended), just not a great book either. I will be giving other books in the series a shot sometime in the future
lindapanzo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love mysteries and I never ever stop reading a book before I finish it. This so-called "mystery" was an exception. I hated it from the start and kept thinking it was a waste of time for me.It is the fourth book in the mobile library series so someone must like these. I don't. The only good news is that it was an ER book so at least I didn't waste my money, just my time.
NewsieQ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The world's favorite Jewish vegetarian mobile librarian is back again for another adventure. Well, not really an adventure, but a search for a missing 14-year-old girl. Somehow, officials in Tumdrum (Ireland) get it into their heads that Israel Armstrong had something to do with the disappearance of the daughter of a local politician. It seems Israel allowed her to check out an "unshelved book." one deemed noxious enough that it isn't displayed on the shelves, but has to be asked for. That puts him in hot water with his thoroughly unlikable (and business-cliche-spouting) boss. Although one of the book blurbs compares this book to Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, don't believe it for a minute. Although both authors deal with the mundane activities of life, Ian Sansom's character is dour, depressed, curmudgeonly (at age 29) and altogether unlikable ... while McCall Smith's Precious is a darling who's full of hope and good cheer. That's not to say Israel Armstrong isn't a great character, funny, with a delightful take on life and its inanities. (Those readers who dislike profanity should know that Ian Sansom always manages to get the f-word into his dialogue just so you know he's a serious writer. Ugh!)02/18/2010
Anonymous More than 1 year ago