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The Geographer's Library    by Jon Fasman order for
Geographer's Library
by Jon Fasman
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Mystery lovers have lots of puzzles to solve in The Geographer's Library. And there are murders and betrayals aplenty. Paul is a young journalist assigned to do an obituary of an obscure professor discovered dead in his home. The descriptions of the editor, another writer and the atmosphere and conversation at this small-town paper are all wonderfully realized.

In trying to make the obituary at least somewhat interesting, Paul stumbles on to the fact that the professor's life was just a little bit more exciting than it first seemed. There were, for example, those shots from his window and the subsequent cover-up - twice.

Interspersed with the chapters of Paul's progress are the stories of objects taken from a library assembled in the 1100s. These chapters each provide some background to the story in which Paul is involved, but even at the end their purpose is still murky, because by that time there is yet another, more important object that turns out to be the linchpin of the story.

This is a first novel by a first-rate writer. Although the work has received positive critical acclaim, this reader felt that the pieces did not really come together very well. Here's hoping Jon Fasman's next novel lives more fully up to his promise.

Listen to a podcast interview with Jon Fasman at

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