Monday, February 21, 2011

Mystery Mondays: Jo Dereske's Miss Zukas Mystery Series

Since February is Library Lovers' Month, I thought I would start this week off with Jo Dereske's Miss Zukas mystery series.  Miss Helma Zukas is a librarian in the city of Bellehaven, Washington, who epitomizes the stereotypical middle-aged spinster librarian.  She is prim, proper, and uptight -- her daily routine is organized and unvarying, and she is perfectly content to let it stay that way despite the admonitions of her free-spirited friend Ruth Winthrop.  However, a murder in her beloved library forces Miss Zukas out of her normal routine, and she soon discovers that she has a previously unsuspected knack for solving crimes.  The attentions of the chief of police also threaten to disrupt her orderly existence, but as detection becomes more and more a part of her life, Helma Zukas begins to feel that perhaps this disruption is not such a bad thing after all!  There are eleven books in the series, with a new one due out some time this year.  The books are well written and the contrasting characters of Helma and Ruth are delightful.  The transformation of Helma Zukas from rigidly repressed to more spontaneous is a slow but inevitable process (and often amusing as well!), and you will find yourself drawn back to this series if only to check on Helma's progress!

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