Thursday, January 22, 2009

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plumb, my favorite bounty hunter, is on the trail of Martin Munch, boy genius who received his doctorate degree in quantum physics at the age of 22. Munch is on Stephanie’s radar because he has failed to appear in court for stealing a monster cesium vapor magnetometer, after busting his boss’s nose with a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup. To complicate matters Stephanie wakes up one morning to find Carl the monkey tied to her apartment door. There’s a note tied to the money asking Stephanie to look after Carl until his owner gets back into town.

As the investigation continues Stephanie learns that Martin has teamed up with Wulf Grimoire, an opportunist who can kill without remorse, disappear like smoke, and wants world domination. Helping Stephanie is a weird guy named Diesel. Diesel is also a bounty hunter but he has special skills when it comes to tracking men. While on the hunt, Diesel and Stephanie end up in the Pine Barrens, where they run into strange characters like the retired Easter Bunny and a man who really looks like a Sasquatch.

All of this may seem really strange to you but to Stephanie it’s pretty much an ordinary day on the job. If you want to know how she “gets her man”, read the book.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dewey: A small-town Library Cat who Touched the World

I love cats! I have five of them myself. When I saw the book Dewey: A Small-town Library Cat who Touched the World by Vicki Myron come into our library I knew I had to read it a) because it was about a cat, and (b) the cat on the cover was so cute! Okay, not the best reason to choose a book but that is how we do it sometimes, don’t we?

In the winter of 1988 in Spencer Iowa, the library staff discovered that someone had dropped a small kitten into the library drop-box during one of the coldest nights of the year. After thawing out the frozen little guy and seeing that he was going to survive, they sought permission to keep him as the library cat. A contest was held to name him & he officially became known as Dewey Readmore Books. (In the library world, "Dewey" is the filing system, invented by Melville Dewey, we use to put the books in order on the shelf) It was very appropriate to name this cat Dewey and he soon became an ambassador for the Spencer Public Library. His arrival there was during the time when one of the worse economic crisis of the 1980s hit America. The farming community was devastated by low crop prices and factory closures. As people began to come to the library to use the job bank, Dewey would be there to meet them. He greeted everyone who came through the door & would often be found on a warm lap, helping to read the paper or sitting with the children’s group as they listened to stories.

Dewey continued to be the library cat for 19 years and became famous far and wide. People traveled out of their way on their holidays to meet Dewey and have their pictures taken with him. Even people who are not cat lovers, like some of us, will enjoy this story. It is one of hope and good will during difficult times. It is the story of Dewey- a library cat - who touched the world, starting with one small library in one small town.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Girl of his Dreams by Donna Leon

I’m of two minds about the title of this book by Donna Leon. The title, The Girl of his Dreams, suggests that the book is a romance, but this book falls into the mystery genre. It is however, a great title for this book. “The girl of his dreams” is a young gypsy girl who has fallen into a canal in Venice, and her image haunts Commissario Guido Brunetti’s dreams.

The girl is gypsy, or Rom, as they are now called by the commissario’s politically correct superiors. The Rom in Italy live on the fringes of society, and survive by working where they can, or stealing. Often the children are sent to do the stealing because they cannot be charged with theft.

In the book the child has slipped into the canal, drowned, and stolen goods are found on her during the autopsy. But did she slip, or was she pushed. That is what Brunetti wants to find out. But while his superiors attend conferences on dealing with the ostracized, and write memos about cultural sensitivity, they are quick to throw up their hands and dismiss this case. With single-minded determination Brunetti fits together the pieces of this puzzle, and all the while the reader suspects he may be committing professional suicide.

This book is more than just a murder mystery. Particularly enjoyable are the glimpses we get of everyday life in Venice. The Venitians set their own pace centering on family, food, and friendships. This was the first Donna Leon mystery I’ve read, and I will definitely try others.