I'm not even sure where to start with this book! The story is well written, and I didn't know until the very end who the murderer was. The characters are well thought out, and the descriptions of the town and surroundings are quite colorful. That being said, it was very difficult to like the main character, Helma Zukas. It's hard to picture a 36 yo woman who sleeps in a hairnet, whose closet is categorized by color and type of clothing, and who spends every waking minute correcting every phrase that people utter.
She was very contradictory, impertinent and at first unlikeable. But at the same time, she somehow fit into the story and I had to keep reading. She's very poised, at all times, and I wanted to scream at her to take the stick out of her backside and loosen up a little! I don't understand how a character who is wound so tightly could be appealing, but somehow, it works. Maybe it's her odd friend Ruth, who keeps calling her Helm, and who is constantly corrected with "it's Helma", which towards the end of the book I found myself saying out loud along with the book or that when the Chief agrees to share information and asks, "is it a deal?" she responds with "I prefer that it be an agreement." Whatevah, woman! Take a pill, go crazy, mess up your sock drawer! Considering all this, there is an undertone of humor, that while you have to look for it, it's there, and I found myself laughing at some points of the book. Helma is one of a kind, and so straightlaced and rigid you think she'll break in two, but yet, there's something about her you have to admire, if not like.
I'm actually going to read another one in this series to see if she takes my advice! I don't know why, but I liked it!
This is the first of the Miss Zukas series. I plan to read the rest of the series.
With the help of her not-so-proper best friend, Ruth, a six-foot-tall bohemian artist, Helma Zukas investigates the appearance of a dead body right in the middle of the library's fiction stacks.
Here is the series list in order (from http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/D_Authors/Dereske_Jo.html and FantasticFiction.com):
Helma Zukas, a librarian in Washington state, is featured in:
Miss Zukas and the Library Murders (1994)
Miss Zukas and the Island Murders (1995)
Miss Zukas and the Stroke of Death (1996)
Miss Zukas and the Raven's Dance (1996)
Out of Circulation (1997)
Final Notice (1998)
Miss Zukas in Death's Shadow (1999)
Miss Zukas Shelves the Evidence (2001)
Bookmarked to Die (2006)
Catalogue of Death (2007)
Librarian involved with solving murders. Lots of realistically odd ball characters, and humor that you might miss if you read too fast.
Kind of a quirky series with several unique characters. I enjoyed the first book and will be reading several more of these.
I really like Miss Zukas and her precise method of crime detection. She's my kind of amateur sleuth. This is the second in her series and the second I've read. It's fun and has a host of suspects with clues galore. I absolutely did not figure it out until the very end. I love the wonderful array of colorful supporting characters too.