Ian Sansom - Shastrix Books

Ian Sansom

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The Norfolk Mystery

The Norfolk Mystery

Ian Sansom

2nd January 2020

This first mystery in the County Guides series spends a lot of time introducing us to the main characters before what is ostensibly the plot kicks off.

While generally inoffensive (although some of the characters are painted in a dated light to reflect the time the story is set), there’s little to say for the story.

The characters aren’t particularly compelling, and the mystery doesn’t seem to follow the classic setup that allows the reader to follow along with the clues.

Ultimately, a bit boring - I’m not really sure what compelled me to pick this up, and I doubt I’ll put much effort into following the rest of the series.

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Mr Dixon Disappears

Mr Dixon Disappears

Ian Sansom

6th December 2014

In book two of the Mobile Library series the reader rejoins Israel Armstrong - reluctant mobile librarian in a Northern Irish town who is surprised to be arrested on suspicion of robbery and kidnapping. I paid far too much for this novel for what it was worth, having accidentally given myself permission to go on a minor book-buying spree.

I had thought the first book was okay and commented at the time that I felt it ended too abruptly, so I was keen to find out what happened next. The chief problem with this book is that not a lot happens next, and what little does fails to really make sense. I wonder if this is meant to be part of the charm of this story - that we see everything from the point of view of the main character who isn't up to understanding what's going on around him - but I think that if that were the case it would be funnier if the reader could see him being a bit naive and understanding things better themselves. It actually comes across as the people of Northern Ireland being weird, which is probably a bit offensive.

Ultimately a disappointment, and after two chances I'm ready to give up on this series. The crime aspect of the story was weak, predictable, and straightforwardly implemented, and the character was weak and uninspiring. Oh well.

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The Case of the Missing Books

The Case of the Missing Books

Ian Sansom

17th May 2014

This is the first book in the Mobile Library series, in which Israel Armstrong moves to Northern Ireland to become a librarian, and finds his library closed and all the books missing. I picked up the book in a library sale because it sounded interesting from the cover.

I found it took some time to get into the book. The narrative is dialogue heavy throughout and I find this style quite hard to read - I suppose I'm more used to reading novels with heavy introspection and where action speaks louder than words, but eventually I got used to it.

The main character also takes some time to get into - he comes across quite whiny and dull for a lot of the book, and as we're aligned with him some of the events don't really seem to make any sense to the reader. However I also got used to this by the end of the story, and was slightly disappointed by how abruptly it ends and was hoping for a little more.

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Unreviewed books

Westmoreland Alone

Top books

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  2. The Case of the Missing Books
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  4. Mr Dixon Disappears
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  6. The Norfolk Mystery