Disgruntled, disheveled, fish-out-of-water mobile librarian Israel Armstrong is finally going home to London, rattling along with his irascible companion Ted Carson in their rust bucket book van en route to the Mobile Meet. The annual library convention gives Israel the opportunity to catch up with his family, eat paprika chicken and baklava, and drink good coffee. But they've barely found parking when the unimaginable occurs: their library-on-wheels is stolen!
Who on earth would want to take a thirty-year-old traveling disaster with the words "The Book Stops Here" painted across the back? Israel and Ted are determined to find out. But their search is leading them on a very twisty trail through the countryside in pursuit of a suspicious convoy of New Age travelers. And the hunt is raising numerous troubling questions – such as where exactly is Israel's high-flying girlfriend, Gloria? And is Ted really making a move on Israel's widowed mother?
Israel Armstrong – the hapless duffle coat wearing, navel-gazing librarian who solves crimes and domestic problems whilst driving a mobile library around the north coast of Ireland – finds himself on the brink of thirty. But any celebration, planned or otherwise, must be put on hold when a troubled teenager – the daughter of a local politician – mysteriously vanishes. Israel suspects the girl's disappearance has something to do with his lending her American Pastoral from the library's special "Unshelved" category. Now he has to find the lost teen before he's run out of town – while he attempts to recover from his recent breakup with his girlfriend, Gloria, and tries to figure out where in Tumdrum a Jewish vegetarian might celebrate his thirtieth birthday.
This title introduces Israel Armstrong, one of literature's most unlikely detectives in the first of a series of novels from the author of the critically acclaimed "Ring Road". Israel is an intelligent, shy, passionate, sensitive sort of soul: he's Jewish; he's a vegetarian; he could maybe do with losing a little weight. And he's just arrived in Ireland to take up his first post as a librarian. But the library's been shut down and Israel ends up stranded on the North Antrim coast driving an old mobile library. There's nice scenery, but 15,000 fewer books than there should be. Who on earth steals that many books? How? When would they have time to read them all? And is there anywhere in this godforsaken place where he can get a proper cappuccino and a decent newspaper? Israel wants answers…