The title: Drive Me Crazy
The author: Nancy Warren
Publication: Kensington, 2004
Got it from: Amazon.com
Alex Forrest is the town librarian in sleepy Swiftcurrent, Oregon. She loves her library and being organized and efficient, but her man prospects are dim. Enter rumpled, devil-may-care art professor Duncan Forbes. Duncan is in town ostensibly to work on a book, but this "Indiana Jones of the Art World" is really trying to track down a missing Van Gogh that may have been stolen by Alex's grandfather. Naturally, the professor and the librarian immediately dislike each other despite the sparks flying between them. On his first day in the library, Alex charges Duncan two hundred dollars for underlining in a book - ten dollars for the book, one hundred and ninety for defacing public property.
Things get more complicated the next day when Alex shows up to work and finds a dead body in the stacks - the art section. Naturally, Alex and Duncan have to put aside their differences to solve the mystery together. There's also a side plot involving Alex's troubled cousin Gillian and the town cop Tom Perkins, who was her high school crush.
While the book was fun and light, none of the characters seemed particularly memorable. I found myself not really warming to Duncan and Alex. Duncan seemed too pushy at times and bordered on being an a**hole. Warren played up Alex's prissy-but-dresses-like-a-hooker schtick a little too much. What I found more interesting was Gillian's relationship with Tom and their romance do-over. It seemed more natural and sweeter than Duncan and Alex's immediately hopping into bed routine. My other problem was the obviousness of the solution to the mystery. You could spot it from so far away you'd have time to do your taxes and go out for coffee before it arrived.* I did enjoy this book, but I can't see myself re-reading it.
*Hint: Alex's key-shaped necklace that she got as a present from her grandfather is mentioned in the opening chapters.