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Learn more about Amazon Prime. The first entry in the popular Miss Zukas mystery series. When a dead body turns up right in the middle of the fiction stacks, the police are baffled. But librarian Helma Zukas, who never fails to make note of the slightest deviation from the norm of everyday life, is tracking some baffling questions of her own. Read more Read less. Audible book Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1.

Product details File Size: November 4, Sold by: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention mystery librarian helma murder ruth cozy police dereske stereotypical childhood prim sleuth proper delightful plan enjoyable solving dead sometimes protagonist.

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The protagonist, Miss Helma Zukas, is a most prim and proper librarian, so prim and proper that, at times, the book was boring. She did have her quirks such as never eating anything purple.

She is also very sharp. It is Ruth, so very different than Helma, who adds sparkle. Ruth is flamboyant and drinks too much. What a pair of unlikely sleuths! Together they solve the mystery of the library murders. It was a fun and entertaining read. Miss Helma Zukas, the protagonist, is the vision of the stereotypical librarian but more interesting.

The way she dresses and keeps her apartment is hilarious.

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She is the librarian you want to be friends with and learn a lot from because she researches everything. I really liked how Helma says "Oh, Faulkner! It was a good story, well written, with enriching characters. This is a charming story located in Bellehaven, Washington, about the life of librarian Miss Zukas who becomes involved in solving a murder that happens in the fiction stacks at her library.

Helma uses her librarian and deductive skills to assist, though not asked, in solving the murders. In addition, you get to know about Miss Zukas childhood friend Ruth, her mom and relationship with the police chief. The book is not a deep and mysterious mystery, just a quick and funny read. I look forward to reading the other books in the Miss Zukas mysteries series. If you love libraries and would like to read a quick and entertaining mystery, this story is for you.

One person found this helpful. Miss Zukas is a young librarian on the staid side. She sees things pretty much as black or white. Nonetheless she's a likable character and a smart one. Her friend Ruth is quite different, a flamboyant artist who drinks too much and isn't particularly choosy when it comes to men. Or maybe I should say she makes it easy and just chooses them all. It's likely Miss Zukas and Ruth wouldn't be friends if they hadn't grown up together. A murder is committed in the library after hours and Miss Zukas begins to wonder about a few patrons that have been coming into the library in recent days.

Like many cozy mystery heroines she doesn't initially plan on solving or becoming involved in the murder but a cryptic note falls into her hands, one that she isn't sure is part of the mystery and her home is broken into though nothing is stolen. Unfortunately, Miss Zukas blindly walks right into the murderer's trap. It was a surprise to both of us. Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase.


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Miss Zukas is just as the title promises; a murder mystery that takes place in a library with Miss Zukas trying to solve it. What is wonderful about this story is how Miss Zukas is the a-typical librarian that everyone has always heard of. Prime, proper and very set in her ways. Once a murder is committed in her library Miss Zukas becomes involved without really knowing it. She and her best friend from childhood work together to solve the crime and in the middle get mixed up in more action then they bargained for.

A quick and nice read. It appears she is so self-centered and selfish, that she is the only one that matters in life. I spend my life trying to avoid these types of people. It appears Miss Zukas is an opinionated, bigoted egotist, and has no endearing or redeeming qualities. She does remind me of a few librarians back in the day. Hair in a bun, glasses set perfectly on her nose, clothes that cover and do not enhance her figure. She is only 36 but she is who she is and there is no changing her.

She also has a keen attention to detail and that makes her a great amateur sleuth. Her best-friend, Ruth, is the total opposite of Helma in every way. I really enjoyed this mystery. A dead body in the library gives us a fantastic start. Helma is drawn to investigate because the murder has brought disorder to her very orderly life.

Miss Zukas and the Library Murders

When Helma finds a clue in the city directory she decides to figure things out for herself before sharing anything with the police. There were several suspects and I missed some important clues because I put it together just before the killer was revealed. Helma may not be the kind of main character we are used to reading about in cozy mysteries today. Maybe that is why I liked her, she is different.

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I even found her quite funny at times in a dry humorous kind of way. This was a fast read, not overly complex, with interesting characters. Mar 04, Dianna rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of my all-time favorite mystery series!! Miss Helma Zukas's love for order and attention to detail make her a great librarian. The author gives us terrific details about Miss Zukas that help us to really feel that we know this person.

Jo Dereske

For example, Helma hates hot-tubbing who wants to sit around in warmed over water that other people have been bathing in??? It is an added bonus that this series is set just outside of Seattle with One of my all-time favorite mystery series!! It is an added bonus that this series is set just outside of Seattle with spectacular views of the Kitsap Peninsula and the water.

There are 12 books in the series and I've read them all except the last one, which is not yet available. If you like "light" murders and memorable characters, you will love this series Aug 23, Janet rated it it was ok Shelves: Okay, I admit it. Helma has a tidy bun, glasses, fussy mannerisms, and no-nonsense outfits in drab colors. Call it childish, but I have no interest in the further adventures of Miss Z. Nov 08, Ann rated it really liked it Shelves: For those of us who have worked in public libraries, Jo Dereske has written a most entertaining cozy mystery.

Helma Zukas is a wonderful, if compulsive character, and her friend Ruth is the perfect foil. Helma Zukas, a very serious and precise pe For those of us who have worked in public libraries, Jo Dereske has written a most entertaining cozy mystery.

Miss Zukas and the Library Murders (Miss Zukas, #1) by Jo Dereske

Helma Zukas, a very serious and precise person with Lithuanian roots in Michigan, now lives and works in Bellehaven, Washington at the public library. Her best friend Ruth, a flamboyant bohemian artist, has a way of causing Helma's ordered world to skew. It's all great fun. Feb 28, Leslie McLean rated it it was amazing.

I love this series. Of course they are an intentional send-up of librarians. I don't get how people can miss the point so thoroughly so much of the time. And yet they are a loving send-up. Sure, Miss Helma would drive you nuts if you were her friend, just as she drives her best friend, Ruth Winthrop, nuts, but she makes a great character. And she is everything modern American society tends not to be: May 31, Katharine Kimbriel rated it really liked it Shelves: All right, just to be confusing, I'll say you'll have to check my other review connected to this series. I am ruling the series uneven.

I happened to find the first one again and re-read it. Still a nice introduction. But I feel the author's handling of her characters has changed in later books, as if she's forgotten what made them charming. This was what I really enjoyed about the series. I'm not sure what to think about this one - it started off with Miss Zukas being so prudish and prim that it wasn't enjoyable to read, but I could see character development as the story progressed.

I guess the culprit almost from the beginning, but it was still a great storyline. Mar 14, Jackson Matthews rated it it was amazing. Oh, she's fun alrighty. Jun 15, Nancy Williams added it Shelves: I quite enjoyed this story about the reluctant librarian Thank goodness for Ruth The protagonist, Miss Helma Zukas, is a most prim and proper librarian, so prim and proper that, at times, the book was boring. She did have her quirks such as never eating anything purple. She is also very sharp. It is Ruth, so very different than Helma, who adds sparkle.

Ruth is flamboyant and drinks too much. What a pair of unlikely sleuths! Together the Thank goodness for Ruth Together they solve the mystery of the library murders. Feb 25, Mark Isaak rated it liked it. The characters are stereotypes -- ultra-sensible librarian, flamboyant artist, gallant policeman in fact, his name is Gallant -- but they work to get me interested in their actions and fates.

The plot reminds me of Nancy Drew who gets a call-out early in the book ; solution to the mystery comes from persistently stumbling forward, followed by resourcefulness to escape when the bad guys come after you, with luck assisting throughout. Oct 23, Michelle Connell rated it really liked it Shelves: This is the first book in an older series. I enjoyed the main characters, Helma, a reference librarian in the Bellehaven library, and Ruth, an eccentric artist.

When a murder occurs in the library, Helma becomes involved and meets the dashing Chief Gallant. Helma stumbles on a clue by accident and then her apartment is broken into and other events begin that put both Ruth and Helma in danger. Can they figure out what is going on in their nice quiet town before it's too late? Jan 12, Donna Chester rated it it was amazing. I love this fun, quirky series about a librarian who lives in Washington state. Just my kind of mystery.

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Nov 27, Tribefan rated it really liked it Shelves: At first I wasn't sure I woud like this book at all, I didn't like the main character at all in the beginning, but as I continued to read, she grew on me and in the end I enjoyed reading this one very much! Feb 11, Bea rated it liked it. A librarian cozy mystery. I enjoyed this story with the slightly off-kilter sidekick in Ruth. However, I did not identify too much with any of the characters. I would be willing to try 2 to see if the series evolves into people I would find in my everyday world.

Would recommend to those who like mysteries with a warm heart. I liked the friendship of two women that had formed in childhood and stood the test of being polar opposites. Nov 14, Patti rated it really liked it. Cozy mystery, good characters. Oct 25, Lisa Stethem rated it liked it. Quick read and hits the nail on the head in the workings of a library. Aug 19, Ann Fleming rated it really liked it Shelves: Found this book at a used book store. The author grabbed my interest and I could not put the book down.

Dec 24, Spuddie rated it really liked it. Wilhelmina "Helma" Zukas, a thirty-something librarian working in a smallish seaside town in Washington State, is a very precise woman. So when she is a little late for work one morning she knocked over a houseplant when she went back into the apartment to make sure she'd drawn the blinds--and had to clean it up only to find a police car parked in HER spot, she's a little put out.

Arriving inside, she finds that there's a murdered body in the Mo-Ne aisle of the fiction 1 Helma Zukas mystery. Arriving inside, she finds that there's a murdered body in the Mo-Ne aisle of the fiction stacks--not one of their regulars, thank heavens! Helma takes it as almost a personal affront and sets off doing a parallel investigation to the police.

I was a little leery of this book as I've had bad experiences with most cozy mysteries of late, but I actually liked this one.

Miss Zukas obviously has a touch of OCD obsessive-compulsive disorder and could keep company with Mr. Monk without too much trouble I think. LOL But although she's rather rigid and epitomizes the 'spinster librarian' stereotype, there is an undercurrent of wry humor and her bawdy friend Ruth rather offsets Helma's prim and properness. I did have one of my 'gut feelings' about the bad guy, but didn't figure out the hows and whys of the mystery until closer to the end.

I've already set out to procure the second one in this series. Jul 04, Michelle rated it it was amazing. But Miss Helma Zukas—who never fails to make note of the slightest deviation from the norm of everyday life—is not willing to let this rather nasty disruption stand.

Her precious literary sanctuary has been violated, and if the local law cannot get to the bottom of this case, Miss Zukas certainly intends to—with the help of her not-so-proper best friend, Ruth, a six-foot-tall bohemian artist with a nose for gossip and a penchant for getting into trouble.