Israel Armstrong, a new Emerald Isle bookmobile attendant, discovers that the roving library’s 15,000 books have disappeared and that he cannot resign from his job until he finds them.
Like a magazine rack at the grocery store or a comedic variety show, cozy mysteries offer something for everyone without the gruesome violence of a hard-boiled detective novel. While this is not a new genre by any means (classic authors include Agatha Christie and Donald Bain), the themes covered by the genre have evolved to capture the attention of anyone with a hobby. Fans of baking can be entertained as well as inspired by the mysteries and recipes included with books such as the Charmed Pie Shoppe series by Ellery Adams and the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke. There’s also the Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun and the Birder Murder series by Jan Dunlap for animal lovers.
For readers who want a little less fluffy filler and a little more grit in their cozy mystery series, however, Ian Sansom helps fill the void with his Mobile Library mystery series featuring book mobile driver and librarian Israel Armstrong. A vegetarian and coffee snob who travels to Northern Ireland in search of a promising job opportunity but winds up tending shop for the community’s library-on-wheels, Israel finds himself solving the problems that accompany small town antics. In The Case of the Missing Books he must uncover what has happened to every single volume the bookmobile carries, and in Mr. Dixon Disappears he must also solve what has happened to a local magician and one hundred thousand dollars. Unlike more traditional cozy mystery lead characters, Israel has a dirty mouth with some colorful local slang that might not fare well with some readers but certainly helps showcase a less traditional cozy series.