The Silence of the Library
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime, Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Group, 2014
Diesel and Charlie return for a new mystery for them to solve. This one revolves around a famous children’s mystery writer who is remarkably still alive at 100. When she agrees to come out of retirement to appear at a special event for the Athena Public Library and the news goes viral across the web for collectors of her books. Enter an odd assortment of characters with equally odd personalities and folks are bound to get out of sorts. This results in a murder, theft and who knows what else!
*Charlie Harris, fifty-something retired librarian from Houston who moved back home to Athena, Mississippi after his wife died, and into his Aunt Dottie’s old house after she bequeathed it to him. He lives there with his giant Maine Coon, Diesel, two boarders, and adult son and daughter. He volunteers at the public library and helps to organize the Children’s Mystery Books event. Through this event he rediscovers his own love of kid-detectives and immerses’ himself in a particular book that in the end, gives him the final clew he needs to figure out who the murderer is. (Clew was misspelled on purpose. Why, you ask? You have to read the book to find out!!)
*Teresa Farmer, Director of the Public Library, works with Charlie to get the event going. For readers of this series, we’ve met her a few times in the other books but only briefly.
*Deputy Chief Kanesha Berry, main investigator with the Sheriff’s Dept who ‘officially’ solves the crimes. She’s actually growing to like Charlie and Diesel – just a bit.
*Azalea Berry, Kanesha’s mom and housekeeper for Charlie. We see her in the first chapter or so and then she’s gone for the rest of the story. But we still love Azalea and hope we see more of her in the next book!
*Melba Gilley, long time friend of Charlie’s and best friend to Carrie Taylor.
*Stewart Delacorte, a boarder and refugee from an earlier adventure of the Harris Boys.
*Sean Harris, Charlie’s adult son, he finally has passed the Mississippi Bar so his future is more or less set.
*Laura Harris, Charlie’s adult daughter who is planning a wedding (hers!) so we don’t see much of her.
*Helen Louise Brady, love of Charlie, and we actually find out their relationship has taken a step further! It’s about time; after all, it has been 5 books already!
*Electra Barnes Cartwright, author of the Veronica Thane Mysteries, written in the early 20th century. Veronica Thane was a contemporary with other (“real”) girl detectives Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Connie Blair, and so on. (Mom has some vintage Nancy Drew and Connie Blair! Checkout the pix of her collection below!!) At 100 years old EBC, as she is also known, is quite eccentric but willing to help the library out.
*Marcella Cartwright Marter, Electra’s daughter who lives with her; she too is eccentric but in a demanding, pushy way. Where her mother may want to help for free, Marcella is demanding an exorbitant fee for an appearance. She also bullies her mother. We don’t like that!
*Eugene Marter, Electra’s only grandchild and a lay-about who has had frequent run-ins with the law.
*Carrie Taylor, resident of Athena and an obsessive collector of all things EBC. Which really means she has something someone else is desperate to have and she unfortunately pays the price for its possession.
*Winston Eagleton, out-of-towner, comes to Athena for the EBC event and seeks an audience with her to discuss her 5 unpublished manuscripts. He wants to buy them and publish them along with republishing the rest of the Veronica Thane series. But something about him is not quite right. Hmmm . . .
*Gordon Betts, an out-of-towner with more money than manners, sets his sights on EBC, demanding she sign all the copies of his Thane series books. Betts is an obnoxious man with a reputation for getting what he wants, no matter the cost.
*Della Duffy, another EBC collector and – horrors! – she has a severe case of ailurophobia – that’s right – she is irrationally afraid of felines. Poor woman. Maybe that’s why she’s so rude and mean. She’s gotta be on the top of the suspect list!
Wow! I went on for a while, didn’t I? I try to keep these reviews short but sometimes I just can’t do it. Anyway, great book! Really had no clew that the murder was who it turned out to be! Well done, Miranda!! Love the quirky characters, the southern setting, and all the literary references. Very enjoyable mystery and an excellent choice for cozy readers.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws for its ‘hard-to-put-down’ readability!
“Miranda James” – a pseudonym of Dean James
And of course, I have to include a photo of a Maine Coon!