Posts tagged "A Cat in the Stacks Mystery"

Classified as Murder – Books I Done Been Reading!

Classified as Murder
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.
Classified as Murder
Books I Done Been Reading! name shamelessly stolen from Vault of Buncheness

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Categories: Misc News   Tags: , , ,

Murder Past Due – Books I Done Been Reading!

Murder Past Due
by Miranda James
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

A famous author returning to his hometown. An illegitimate son. Family secrets. A former librarian. A cat. What’s that spell? Another mystery book I done been reading!

More mysteries, and more mysteries with animal pals. This time we have a widowed librarian and his cat. After the death of his wife, semi-retired librarian Charlie Harris moved back to his hometown of Athena, Mississippi after his aunt passed and left him a giant house and her black housekeeper, Azalea Berry, which is only slightly embarrassing due to the great pains to show that it was the housekeeper’s idea to stay on working. After stumbling across a Maine Coon kitten one day, Charlie has someone to share his life with again (his two children are grown and moved out at this point)

Diesel ends up joining Charlie everywhere. Diesel even gets walked on a leash! As Diesel is a Maine Coon, expect lots of sequences that go on with random characters remarking how big Diesel is. It sort of reminded me of the Harry Potter books where everyone keeps looking at his scar. Charlie rents out rooms in his house to boarders, and one of the current ones is Justin Wardlaw, whose mother Julia is an old friend of Charlie’s. The town is abuzz as famous author Godfrey Priest has returned. He’s just the kind of arrogant jerk you expect to show up, have a million enemies, and be mysteriously murdered. And he does!

With suspicious falling towards Justin as the prime suspect (what with Priest being his real estranged father and him finding the body!), Charlie and Diesel must put on their detective hats and get to work finding the real killer. They also must avoid the ire of Deputy Kanesha Berry, detective on the case and the daughter of Azalea, who isn’t keen on her mom being a domestic. Despite the tension, Kanesha isn’t given a generic villain role, which is good. At every turn, Charlie and Diesel find out more interesting tidbits about Godrey, and more and more people who have motive to kill him. Around the last 70 pages or so, things get more intense, and Miranda Jones has a way of making you not want to stop until you find out what happened. I don’t want to spoil things, but I like how the events unfolded, it’s nice to see the amateur sleuth not know everything when we go into endgame.

It takes about two seconds on Google to find out Miranda James is actually Dean James, who shares many traits with Charlie Harris (who I’m sure is totally not named after Charlaine Harris, even though she’s mentioned in the book as well!) Diesel has enough personality to make things interesting, without becoming the focus of the mystery. Of course, his lack of magical powers makes his understanding looks and chirps seem preternatural at times. Charlie is alive enough you feel for his character and his loss, and the mindless routine that was his life until Diesel and the murder mystery happened. This is expounded upon more in the next book in the series, but that’s a tale for the next review. And with that sentence, you’ve probably figured out I like this enough to read the sequel. A nice, cozy, regional mystery complete with believable characters and setting. You can’t ask for much more.

Murder Past Due by Miranda James
Books I Done Been Reading! name shamelessly stolen from Vault of Buncheness

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Categories: Misc News   Tags: , , ,