by Miranda James
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
We return to the world of Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat Diesel with Classified as Murder, the followup to Jame’s Murder Past Due. It’s now several months later, and Charlie’s son Sean drops by for a surprise visit. A visit that will be more permanent since he quit his job as a lawyer, though he won’t say why. Sean also has a poodle named Dante in tow. Meanwhile, Charlie is invited by the local rich eccentric James Delacorte to inventory his rare book collection for eventual inclusion in the local university library. And to find out what volumes are missing, as one of Delacorte’s relatives are stealing! That’s a secret they don’t want solved, as soon James Delacorte is dead and Charlie and Diesel are once again caught up in a murder mystery. Delacorte’s relatives are mostly a pack of angry, bitter folk all eager to get their hands on the inheritance (except for Eloise Morris, a niece-in-law who is too out of her mind to be greedy, and Stewart Delacorte, a nephew who just wants to get out of the Delacorte house.) Imagine their surprise when the butler gets everything!
Clues to the murder might be solved by what books are missing and why, so Charlie must finish his job in the house where the murder took place among the possible murderer family member. This second installment ups the ante with more death and more threats than Charlie took in his first adventure. There’s also much more character development as Charlie has to deal with Sean and their partial estrangement after Charlie’s wife died.
A good followup that paints some nice dysfunctional family get-togethers. You can practically see the old relatives half-drunk and sniping at each other, and their wailing disappointment when they’re screwed out of the will. Diesel is his usual self, except even larger, continually chirping and the center of attention from passerbys gawking at his size. Enough side and new characters are introduce that we probably have sideplots for the next dozen or so entries. Of course, if Charlie keeps finding dead bodies, he’s going to soon be known as a bad luck book guy! That’s just what he needs…
I look forward to more books in the series, and as there are plenty of other mystery books with various premises, I have plenty of options until it does.
Books I Done Been Reading! name shamelessly stolen from Vault of Buncheness