Jeff Abbott's Do Unto Others (Ballantine. 1994. ISBN 0-345-38948-4. pap. $6.50) introduces small-town head librarian (though non-MLS) Jordan Poteet, who leaves a Boston publishing job for his Texas home town to care for his ailing mother. Jordan's run-in with local gadfly and ex-library board member Beta Harcher over removing "smut" from the shelves takes an ugly turn when Harcher is found beaten to death in the library. The weapon, a baseball bat, bears Jordan's fingerprints. Fortunately for Jordan, the victim left a list of other potential suspects complete with topical Bible verses. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
When his mama gets Alzheimer's and needs a caregiver, Jordan Poteet leaves his job in Boston to go home to Mirabeau, Texas. Luckily, the job as head of the Mirabeau library opens up, so even though Jordy doesn't have an MLS (gasp!), he's hired. Local harpy Beta Harcher immediately jumps on Jordy's case about the library's owning smut by authors like Twain, Lawrence, and Hawthorne. Unfortunately, the day after she and Jordy have a big argument, the woman is found bludgeoned to death, and Jordy ends up tops on Sheriff "Junebug" Moncrief's suspect list. Jordy knows he didn't kill Beta, and he doesn't want to end up in the pokey, so he decides to find the murderer. Abbott's writing is folksy and full of cornpone humor, and the plot is one of those every-small-town-has-secrets types, but there are some nice comic touches, Jordy is a likable fellow, the action is flashy, and the ending is heartwarming. And it's always nice to encounter a librarian-sleuth, even one sadly lacking in professional credentials.