Mr Monk in Trouble by Lee Goldberg
Summary: The little town of Trouble just can't stay out of it-first it was part of the Gold Rush, then there was the still unsolved 1962 train robbery, and now a watchman, formerly of the SFPD, at the museum was killed. So Monk and his assistant Natalie are sent to investigate. While there they discover a family connection for Monk.
My family and I love the Monk books. While I stopped watching the show (except to catch the finale because he HAD to solve Trudy's murder-and he does), I still enjoy the book. It's fun because all four of us read. Usually I get to go first since I'm the fastest reader (Boo-yah!) but it was a birthday present for my mom so she went first and I got it second. I wonder if they would be as enjoyable if one was not familiar with the TV show but I doubt anyone would pick the books up without being familiar so I can't answer that.
My favorite part is that Natalie (who narrates the books) finds an ancestor of Monk's who had an assistant who wrote down how Artemis Monk solved the crimes. These stories go back to the Gold Rush era and deal with crimes committed there. The language is almost exactly the same as the modern-era so it is easy to read if not historically accurate.
I did not exactly figure out the mysteries (there end up being three that are tangled together). But I somewhat fingered the mastermind, as there aren't all that many suspects in the little town of Trouble.
Overall: 4.5/5 one of the better entries in the series and a good story on its own merits.