Defective Detective Departments

What happens when cranky, poorly motivated or seemingly-incompetent individuals are all sidelined together into a single work unit? They end up solving the mysteries that no one else could, of course. Or, at least, in fiction they do. These books are all the first in series that find professional pariahs taking care of business.

The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Chief Detective Carl Morck has always been difficult to get along with, but he was tolerated because he was good at his job. Sidelined after a shooting left him injured and his partner paralyzed, Carl finds himself dubiously in charge of Department Q, responsible for cold cases. With just a lackluster assistant, Assad, Carl starts investigating the 5-year-old disappearance of politician Merete Lynggaard. The reader knows Lynggaard is still alive; can Carl and Assad find her? While darkly humorous, this novel shares elements with other Scandinavian Noir mysteries such as Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, including some violence and a more somber undertone.

The Awkward Squad by Sophie Hénaff
French police officer Anne Capestan, on suspension for injudiciously firing her service weapon, expects to be fired. Instead, she’s put in charge of a new squad of misfits, including an officer considered bad luck and one who uses coworkers as inspiration for TV crime drama scripts. Consigned to a satellite office, they’re given boxes of cold cases to sift through. When Capestan and her crew start investigating the separate murders of an old woman and a sailor, the rest of the police force may not be prepared for what they find. With a light tone and humorous banter among the characters, this novel is a light read with a compellingly twisty set of mysteries at its heart.

The Department of Sensitive Crimes
by Alexander McCall Smith
McCall Smith, author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, is back with this first in a new series. Ulf Varg has been placed in charge of Malmö, Sweden’s Department of Sensitive Crimes, the group relegated to investigating crimes that are too minor or weird for the main Criminal Investigation Authority to deal with. Ulf and his quirky colleagues investigate three crimes: a market vendor who was stabbed in the knee; the disappearance of a made-up boyfriend; and the reports of a werewolf at a spa in the nighttime. As with McCall Smith’s other books, character thoughts and interpersonal relationships take the lead in the narrative, while the various mysteries investigated give the reader a look into Swedish society and culture.

~ posted by Andrea G.

Toni Morrison and the Library

From a small town girl to a big city woman, Toni Morrison had a deep, enduring connection to libraries. As a teenager, after school, she did housework for a white family. Complaining about the treatment she received, her sister helped her get a job shelving books at the Lorain Public Library. This experience was the beginning of a lifelong connection to libraries.  “[The] Lorain Public Library,” she says, “was so important in my life. And the reason it was important was not only because much of the time I worked there and made a little change. But basically because it was the place I spent long, long hours reading and it was a place where a group of women were  very careful with avid reading children,” Morrison said. Continue reading “Toni Morrison and the Library”

Thanks Obama: Summer Edition

We have just a little over a month before we say good bye to summer and hello to fall, which gives you plenty of time to read some of former president Barack Obama’s summer reading favorites!

Toni Morrison’s collected works, including Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and Beloved – a longtime popular author even before her death at the beginning of August. I definitely suggest placing a request since her books have been flying off the shelf!

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#BookBingoNW2019: By an author from Mexico or Canada

If you’re still working away on your Adult Summer Book Bingo, we’re back with some suggestions for authors from Mexico and Canada to check out. I’ve focused on writers with a new book out in the past few years, but try our longer list in the catalog for even more suggestions including some classic authors from each country.

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New Music Mixtape

This year is giving me life when it comes to new albums coming my way by some old favorites and new loves. Brooks and Dunn from my childhood; the Hotel Cafe alumni, Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, who were the soundtrack of my twenties; and the band Joseph is a gem my husband shared with me a few years back that I can’t get enough of…now if Fiona Apple were to come back on the scene my life would be complete! Sprinkled throughout is music others have sent or shared that has added to this incredible year. Hope you enjoy this mix as much as I have. Happy listening!!

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