FYI, The Brown Booknook is being discontinued as a separate blog. All of my posts will now be found on The Brown Bookloft.

Gale Zasada, The Brown Bookloft.

Fahrenheit’s Books

Yesterday was Independent Bookstore Day. Today I discovered this gem of a used book store. They have an unusually deep collection. My posting is one day late for the celebration, but I think independent book stores should be celebrated more frequently!

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

Although I never worked on a bookmobile, my library system did have one when I started working there. I found this photo online from 1973, the year I started working for the Anne Arundel County Public Library. The photo was taken at the Anne Arundel County Fair. Do any of my former co-workers know who is in this photo?bookmobile-library-on-wheels-28-58982a6e443c8__880

I worked on a version of a bookmobile for 12 years, the library’s Care-A-Van. We delivered books to home bound people throughout the county. This was highly personalized service. We selected books for the patrons based on their interests or their  specific requests. We were on the road 2-3 days a week covering a 588 square mile area.

I remember one gentleman who lived in an old slave/sharecroppers shack on a tobacco farm.  The wood slat walls were insulated with newspaper. Another patron lived on the water with sweeping views of the Chesapeake Bay. We had patrons who were temporarily disabled and some who were bedridden. I visited homes of people who had lots of friends and family and others who were very much alone. There were several patrons that we got very attached to and went to their funerals when they passed away.

Due to budgets and changing times, this service was replaced with Books By Mail, which I worked on during the transition period. While it still provides library materials and services to those who are disabled, it just isn’t the same. I feel that the patrons and the library staff were both enriched by the one-on-one community outreach services. I know I was.

Circle of Influence by Annette Dashofy

Publication Date:March 19th 2014 by Henery Press

Summary: Zoe Chambers was at the town council meeting on a snowy night because her EMS partner Earl enjoyed witnessing town politics.  The crowded space, filled to capacity with town residents, was in an uproar. The chairman, Jerry McBirney, was making various demands like an angry despot and his cronies supported him. But when McBirney demanded that grandmotherly Sylvia Bassi be arrested for the theft of an old computer, the townspeople were appalled. Zoe’s friend, police chief Pete Adams, stepped in to try to settle the issue. Sylvia was the the police department’s secretary.Circle of Influence

Sylvia’s son, Ted, her daughter-in-law, Rose and her teenaged grandchildren Logan and Allison, all witnessed McBirney’s tirade against Mrs. Bassi. Zoe did what she could for Sylvia, too, as Rose was her best friend. Pete wondered why McBirney was in such an uproar over a computer that had been abandoned for a long time.

Shortly after this incident, Ted Bassi was found murdered in Jerry McBirney’s car. Initial evidence pointed to McBirney as the killer, but as Pete and Zoe dug deeper, the conclusions became murkier. Another body is soon found and another member of the Bassi family disappears. Someone is determined to see that Zoe doesn’t discover the truth.

Comments:  I discovered Circle of Influence on a list of finalists for the Agatha Award for First Novel.  When I started reading it, I expected a high-end cozy–in part because of the cover art. I was pleasantly surprised that there was much more to it. Although some of the characters were too predictable, not all were, and the book was well plotted. I look forward to reading more in the Zoe Chambers series.

Recommended for general mystery readers.


The Family Way by Rhys Bowen

Publication Date March, 2013 by Minotaur Books.

The Family Way promo art

The Family Way is the 12th book in the Molly Murphy series. There are currently 17 titles, so I’m almost caught up. A friend told me about Rhys Bowen a couple of years ago and I’m glad she did.

Molly is an Irish immigrant who must make her way in New York City in the early 1900’s. After trying and failing at more traditional jobs for a woman, she decides to become a private detective.

Some of the escapades Molly gets into are preposterous, but I love these books for relaxing, escapist reading. If you like mysteries with historical settings and spunky female protagonists, I highly recommend this series.