BOOK REVIEW: MISS ZUKAS
This is the first of Jo Dereske’s books I have read. It is a delightful light and sometimes humorous fast read. Helma Zukas is a librarian who works with a bunch of characters in Bellehaven Library. The story opens as Binky, who we find out is a dog, has passed away. Binky’s owner, Patrice, a coworker in the library was stricken at the passing of Binky. Several work in the library under Head Librarian, Ms. Moon, some friendly, and some stand-offish, but they do have to obey boss lady.
A murder victim is found in an alley outside Helma’s friend, Ruth’s house. Ruth called Helma to come over immediately to help her since Helma is an amateur sleuth and a close friend of police Chief Gallant. When Helma arrives she discovers the body and finds out that Ruth had not called the police! Helma took over and the police were called, starting an investigation that goes on throughout most of the book. Add Helma’s visiting cat, Boy Cat Zukas, who appears outside Helmas’ sliding doors but he knows he is not allowed into Helma’s apartment.
The library has entered a team in the “Snow to Turf” contest. This is a long and grueling race that involves skiing, running, canoeing, and more, competing against other teams around the area. Before the race, all involved have to practice to get physically ready for the big race. Helma had a canoe in storage that her Uncle Tony built many years ago for her. She had the canoe shipped to her and the hard work began to be ready for the competition!
There are several mysteries mixed through the book, most with a surprising ending, all of which help make the book very enjoyable and humorous. Helma continues being amateur sleuth while the police don’t want her to interfere but still they really value her opinions and help. The race is exciting and makes for an anxious outlook as the end nears. I think you will enjoy this book with its many serious, but laughable characters. How can one be serious and laughable at the same time? Read the book and you will see.
REVIEWED BY CY HILTERMAN
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