Set in present day, but has the slow, elegant feel of an historical. Not a traditional mystery. The sleuth, a librarian, solves the problem of a missing item (turns out to be a watch), partly with his knowledge of Dewey classifications. Funny funny description of the staff post-inventory party, which includes a Dewey classification competition called Class Struggle, and a 'chariot' race around the Reading Room. Class Struggle winner gets to run the library any way he wants for the rest of the party; he takes his oath on a copy of the _ALA Handbook_.
Like the janitor on _Scrubs_, the library janitor knows far more than most people suspect, and can assist in ways only the janitor can. If you know (or are) a reference or catalog librarian, you may like this. I like the librarian, adore the janitor, am ambivalent about the watch-seeker, and sometimes want to smack the wife. Clever (but fiction, so improbable) mental revenge aided by way-modern technology. Usually I like all loose ends wrapped up. This has some uncertainty at the end, but it seems appropriate to the book.
I loved this book and read it in two days during which I could barely put it down.
If you love or loved libraries, their stacks and eccentric inhabitants, you will delight in familiar haunts.
The people are complicated, their inventions inspiring and their relationships are so whacky they will make you feel masterful in yours!
There was something kind of... dispassionate about this, despite the story line involving being _too_ passionate about the watch in question. I just felt that every time the detailed descriptions of the research popped up, I just didn't care. I finished it, because part of me wanted to know what happened, but I also didn't much care one way or the other if I did. I just had nothing better to do, so I read it all the way through. Turns out i really wasn't satisfied at the end, I didn't like any of the characters much - especially his girlfriend, and probably wouldn't read anything else by this author again.
Wonderfully inventive, a Hitchcock-like zig zag inspired by a real life theft [USA Today]
A literate, cerebral thriller about objects and the people who tetishize them, Grade A [Entertainment Weekly]
Book jacket: a delicious compendium of quirky colleagues, erotic pop ups, deviant passions, and miraculous examples of theft; the book is a grand and complicated 'timepiece' and told with a devilish sense of fun.