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.
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.
Kind of a quirky series with several unique characters. I enjoyed the first book and will be reading several more of these.
I read about half of this book and just couldn't care less about the outcome and gave up trying. This book details the life of an incredibly boring librarian who sort of (when she gets around to it) investigates a murder that happened in the library. It's more a book of her dry as dirt daily life than about solving the mystery. Just not my thing.
First in the series. Miss Zukas is definitely someone to get to know!
Ms. Zukas is the coolest librarian ever! Her stories are always intriguing and hard to figure out who did it, but they don't bring someone out of left field - you just have to pay attention!
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest in the series!
As a librarian, I hoped I would love this book but I found the main character unappealing and stereotypical. The mystery itself didn't interest me. As this is 1st in a long series, I did finish reading to see if Miss Zukas changed or mellowed, but, alas, did not.
Good first story, hope the characters continue to develop. Lots of room for the story to grow. Enjoyable.
Great series about a librarian sleuth. How can you not love it. The characters are amazing and the murders are well written that you can't guess the who did it until your main sleuth does. Give this series a chance and you won't stop reading books by Jo Dereske.
First of a cozy series about a librarian...loved the descriptions of Washington State having lived there myself, but the main character got on my nerves. She was almost stereotypically a librarian and marginally OCD. Gratefully, she seemed to thaw a bit toward the end. I had high hopes as I had heard lots of good things about this series and I may yet read more, but I'm glad it was a library copy. These will not be keepers for me.
A library patron is stabbed with the metal rod of the card catalog.
As a Libraian myself, I was really looking forward to this book & series. I was very disappointed! Miss Zukas is a most unlikable character. She is the stereotypical old school librarian. A prudish, boring old maid. The supporting characters were much more interesting. I won't read another book in the series. It was work to get through this one!
What a fun first book for this series! Miss Zukas has this dry humor and this sarcastic seriousness to her. She's a very confident woman and a great sleuth, along with being a very professional librarian! I was guessing until the end. I can't wait to read the next one. Great cozy series so far.
Helma Zukas is a no nonsense woman, some would call her uptight, or obsessive compulsive, I call her entrenched in her ways. She does remind me of a few librarians back in the day. Hair in a bun, glasses set perfectly on her nose, clothes that cover and do not enhance her figure. She is only 36 but she is who she is and there is no changing her. She also has a keen attention to detail and that makes her a great amateur sleuth. Her best-friend, Ruth, is the total opposite of Helma in every way. She is the perfect Watson to Helma's Sherlock.
I really enjoyed this mystery. A dead body in the library gives us a fantastic start. Helma is drawn to investigate because the murder has brought disorder to her very orderly life. The police don't seem to have any suspects. When Helma finds a clue in the city directory she decides to figure things out for herself before sharing anything with the police. This probably wasn't her brightest idea. There were several suspects and I missed some important clues because I put it together just before the killer was revealed.
Helma may not be the kind of main character we are used to reading about in cozy mysteries today. Maybe that is why I liked her, she is different. I even found her quite funny at times in a dry humorous kind of way.
This was a fast read, not overly complex, with interesting characters. The "Z" book for my challenge is complete. I plan to read the next one, Miss Zukas and the Island Murders, for the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge next year.