Classified as Murder
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime, Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Group, 2011
This is the second in the cozy mystery series, A Cat in the Stacks starring Charlie Harris and Diesel, the Maine Coon. In this murder mystery, Charlie is hired by a wealthy book collector in town to catalog his rare books collection. He suspects someone in the house is stealing his books – or at least mixing them up on his orderly shelves. But just when Charlie and Diesel get started, his new employer is murdered and he finds himself in the middle of another crime investigation.
*Charlie Harris, on vacation from his regular job at the college, he agrees to help inventory a wealthy book collector’s library. Diesel, of course, goes with him on his job and by the afternoon of the first day, his employer is dead!
*Sean Harris, Charlie’s son, in town from Houston where he quit work as a corporate lawyer; he and his father, Charlie, are having a difficult time getting it together after the death of his mom, Charlie’s wife.
*Azalea, Charlie’s housekeeper is a bright spot in anyone’s kitchen, but particularly Charlie’s.
*Deputy Kanesha Berry, Azalea’s daughter and the deputy assigned to the case, actually enlists Charlie’s help this time with the investigation.
*Helen Louise Brady, owner of the bakery where Charlie and Diesel go for lunch; she is sweet on Charlie, but he doesn’t really realize it – yet. Sean has to point it out to him.
Secondary (New) characters:
*James Delacorte, the elderly and eccentric – not to mention wealthy – book collector who is the head of a crazy and greedy family, one of who wants him dead
*Nigel Truesdale, the butler (as in “the butler did it”?) who has been with Mr. Delacorte for many years
*Hubert Morris, nephew, cruel husband to Eloise, unable to hold down a job; he sponges off of James for years.
*Eloise Morris, wife to Hubert, and a bit off the beam – when not lucid she dresses like Scarlet O’Hara – with hoop skirts and crinolines, the perfect Southern Belle. (This brings to mom’s mind the episode of Designing Women when the ladies were discussing Bernice, a long-time family friend. They described her as “off the beam” and Julia said something like: “the difference between us and the north is that they lock their crazy relatives away while in the South we bring them out into the parlor for everybody to see.”)
*Daphne Morris, sister to James, mother to Hubert, self-centered and hypochondriac to the extreme.
*Stewart Delacourt, cousin, works at Athena College, a bit eccentric himself
*Cynthia Delacourt, ice queen, a nurse who rarely shows any emotion
This is a wonderful cast of characters and the person who killed James is probably not who we think it is. The author surprised us in the first book and I expect no less in this one! Warning: this book is addictive – as is the whole series. I’ve got the rest of them checked out from the library, sitting on the desk, ready to read!
Rating 4 out of 5 paws because the author mentions another of our favorite authors, Eudora Welty!
Yes, this is Miranda James – pseudonym for Dean James!
Tamerlane by Edgar Allen Poe figures heavily into the mystery!!!