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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Library Paradox Paperback – July 17, 2008

5 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Vanessa Duncan Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Catherine Shaw's work is something very different. Inspired by Victorian literature and by the history of mathematics, she creates a powerfully driven story...a rare treat" --

About the Author

"Catherine Shaw" is a pseudonym for a British academic and mathematician.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem (July 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934609110
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934609118
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paula Burch on March 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I just read Catherine Shaw's The Library Paradox and enjoyed it mightily all the way through. I found the plot to move quickly without dragging. The case is presented as a logic problem, with an intriguing venture into the world of Hasidic Jews in 1896 London. A reference to Sherlock Holmes indicates that he is real and not fictional to the characters of this fictional book.

The publishers, Felony & Mayhem, recommend this book as being most enjoyable for fans of Anne Perry and of Jacqueline Winspear's "Maisie Dobbs" series. It's true in my case. I will be looking closely at other recommendations by this publisher. I am eager to read more by Catherine Shaw.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By antarctica_girl on December 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a good read. I would compare it generally to 'Some Danger Involved' by Will Thomas, 'A Conspiracy of Paper' by David Liss, and 'The Alienist' by Caleb Carr. It is set in historical London and features amateur detective work to solve the crime. The main difference with 'The Library Paradox' is the protagonist. She is a woman. The investigation in the book follows a slightly more behind-the-scenes approach than the other three books I mentioned due to societal norms- one that the protagonist is good at circumventing, but not necessarily "against". She is a typical woman of privilege of her times- one that tends to wind up in the role of detective through fate more than any will of her own. She is, however, very good at this hobby of hers and solving the crime with her throughout the book (it is written as a sort-of diary and we get to read her inner thoughts and tangents about her own 'library paradox' theories) was the treat of the book.

Various Jewish cultures and the setting of London are all seen afresh through her eyes (as they are through the readers' from her perspective), which also adds an element of "observer" to the "detective" role of the protagonist, and this further adds to the element of solving the crime along with her. The foremost plot was also well-backed by international events from history highlighting the antisemitism which we now know will fallout in the two world wars.

One con is that I'm not a big fan of court-room scenes, but that's just me- and that's all I'll say.

I highly recommend this read for anyone who enjoys amateur armchair sleuthing and has just finished reading one too many of the predictable modern paperback mysteries (i.e.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Boytim on September 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is set in London in the late 1800's. It focuses on a amateur female detective, Vanessa Duncan, now married with 2 small children. I didn't realize when I got it that it was part of a series, and is actually the third book. Nonetheless, it was easy to follow the actual mystery. A professor, who lived in an apartment above the library, was murdered in his study. Witnesses outside heard a struggle and the shot, but found no one inside. Vanessa must find out who might have murdered the man, who was an ardent anti-Semitic. Was it the mysterious elderly Hasidic man, or someone else. Vanessa is aided by a former pupil and her friends, who are Jewish and give her an inside look into the London Jewish community. The Library Paradox is presented which was an actual logical puzzle proposed by Bertrand Russell. In the end, I figured out the outcome, but the reasoning behind it was interesting. I may go back and get the earlier books in the series.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Huston on November 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When the weather starts to turn cold, it seems like perfect time to start enjoying a well-written thriller or two. To me, one of the happiest ways to spend an afternoon is to bundle up on the sofa, have a pot of tea nearby and settle in with a book or two. A new line of mysteries has been appearing in my book catalogues lately, under the tagline of 'Felony and Mayhem,' and what titles I have read from the series have been pretty good. So far.

That is, until I reached The Library Paradox, by Catherine Shaw.

Told through the eyes of Vanessa Weathrburn, in the form of her journal, this story combines quite a few elements and plotlines, with a mathematical puzzle at the center. A noted professor at King's College in London has been murdered. The body and weapon, however, were in the man's private study - and that was locked from the inside. So who murdered Ralston?

As the story unfolds, and Vanessa uncovers the man's associates and students, it appears that there were quite a few people who wouldn't have minded seeing Professor Ralston dead. For the professor had been assembling and writing about anti-Semitism, and being a very vocal one at that. Most of all, he appears to have been researching the canard of 'blood-libel' - the particularly disgusting notion that blood from Christian children was needed to bake the matzah consumed at Passover. Among his papers Vanessa finds a list of events that chronicled deaths of children, and the resulting violence against Jewish communities. At the bottom of the list, and underlined, is a recent murder - that of James Wilson, a young child who was found with his throat cut.

Two men from London's Jewish community were tried for the crime, with one of them being hanged, and the other sent to prison.
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