April 20, 2008

Most valuable and unlauded investigative resource

A great quote from James Lee Burke's novel The Tin Roof Blowdown:

Then I used the most valuable and unlauded investigative resource in the United States, the lowly reference librarian. Their salaries are wretched and they receive credit for nothing. Their desks are usually tucked away in the stacks or in a remote corner where they have to shush noisy high school students or put up with street people blowing wine in their faces or snoring in in the stuffed chairs. But their ability to find obscure information is remarkable and they persevere like Spartans.

The Tin Roof Blowdown is one of Burke's Dave Robicheaux Louisiana detective novels, this one set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I've read about a dozen of the Robicheaux novels and this is definitely one of the best; it's well worth reading even for those not normally mystery fans. It's also worth noting that Burke was named the 10th best all time crime writer by the Times ahead of people like Dashiell Hammett, P.D. James and Jim Thompson.

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