Twelve Angry Librarians

twelve angry librarians

Twelve Angry Librarians
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Miranda James
Berkley Prime Crime, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Lighthearted librarian Charlie Harris is known around his hometown of Athena, Mississippi, for walking his cat, a rescued Maine Coon named Diesel. But he may soon be taken for a walk himself—in handcuffs…

“Charlie is stressed. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding this year’s annual meeting at Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he must deliver the welcome speech to all the visiting librarians. As if that weren’t bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie’s old nemesis from library school.

“It’s been thirty years since Charlie has seen Gavin Fong and he’s still an insufferable know-it-all capable of getting under everyone’s skin. In his keynote, Gavin puts forth a most unpopular opinion: that degreed librarians will be obsolete in the academic libraries of the future. So when Gavin drops dead, no one seems too upset…

“But Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin the day before, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must check out every clue to refine their search for the real killer among them, before the next book Charlie reads comes from a prison library…”

Sorry for the long introduction; we here at the Library usually try to keep those dust jacket intros short but sometimes it’s hard with adult fiction. Anyway, despite the intro being a little long and a bit salacious (you know our hero, Charlie, is never in any danger of going to prison!!) the book was outstanding. I read it in two days. I waited three months on the hold list for the book and read it so fast I feel guilty. I may have to read it again before I turn it back in!

This light, cozy mystery is a good read and while you know right off who is going to get murdered (in cozies, it’s always the most obnoxious person in the first couple of chapters) its’ less easy to figure out who did the killing. This mystery is a good one and I didn’t figure it out – I had to wait until Charlie revealed who the murderer was!

If you’re looking for vacation reading, check out Miranda James’ mysteries. There are currently two series: this one (The Cat in the Stacks) and Southern Ladies (with 2 elderly Southern belles solving mysteries) that are very well written and fun.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because the book has a giant house cat and a librarian as its’ central characters! Also, it’s just a darn good story.

Reviewer:

toby-loc

Toby

The Whole Town’s Talking

the whole towns talking

The Whole Town’s Talking

Fannie Flagg
Random House, 2016

From the dust jacket: “The one and only Fannie Flagg, bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, is at her superb best in this fun-loving, moving novel about what it means to be truly alive.
“Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. Original, profound, The Whole Town’s Talking, a novel in the tradition of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Flagg’s own Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.
… “With her trademark humor, wild imagination, great storytelling, and deep understanding of folly and the human heart, the beloved Fannie Flagg tells an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people. In The Whole Town’s Talking, she reminds us that community is vital, life is a gift, and love never dies.”

Fannie Flagg is a favorite author here at The Library and we read everything she writes. Ms Flagg didn’t disappoint this time – everything the publisher said about her being humorous, imaginative and a fabulous storyteller is all true. This novel is unlike her others in that it takes a grand overview of Elmwood Springs from its founding in 1889 until its ultimate demise in 2021. If you’re a reader of hers, then you’ll be familiar with the characters – Elner Shimfissle, Tot Whooten, and Norma Jenkins. They’re all there and more from her other books as well. (My favorite is Elner Shimfissle. What a character!!) It’s nice to see what happens to them after their books end.

Ms Flagg has an altogether original, some may say strange, outlook on life after death. I spent my time trying to imagine it – I can’t tell you imagine what exactly – I don’t want to give it away – but I really couldn’t and the very last surprise, saved until the last pages – will either make you laugh or shake your head in disbelief. I did both.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because it was funny, sad, and mind-blowing all at once!!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue

 

Murder Has Nine Lives

murder has nine lives

 

Murder Has Nine Lives
A Jaine Austen Mystery

Laura Levine
Kensington Books, 2016

From the dust jacket, “The future is looking bright for freelance writer Jaine Austen. She’s signed up for a new job, she’s looking forward to a tropical vacation and her cat Prozac is slated to star in a major commercial. But when the claws come out behind the scenes, Jaine worries that murder might be the only thing to meow about…
“A writer’s life is far from glamorous. Still, Jaine’s new gig to write an ad campaign for Toiletmaster’s new line of self-flushing toilets comes with a few perks—including a date with the president’s dreamy nephew. And with a much-needed trip to Maui on the horizon, it seems life couldn’t get any better—until her cat Prozac is tapped to star in a Skinny Kitty commercial. But Jaine never would have guessed the world of cat food could be quite so catty…
“Jaine is nervous that Prozac won’t be able to take direction, but the finicky furball ditches her diva behavior for the camera, eating and napping on cue like a seasoned pro. But just as Jaine begins dreaming of fame and fortune, Skinny Kitty’s inventor drops dead on the set. Everyone is a suspect—including Jaine. And she’ll have to get her paws on the truth before the killer takes a swipe at another victim.”

Loved this book! It is a funny cozy mystery that has a cattitude-laden hero cat named Prozac! Of course, the narrator of the story, Jaine Austen is pretty funny, too. And her parents – my goodness – crazy humans!! So just as Prozac is about to become famous the inventor of the cat food (who is a nasty piece of work, BTW) insults the rising feline star and calls her ‘fat’! That’s it for Pro – she shuts down and throughout the rest of the book she just mopes around being depressed. (So much like humans!) Meanwhile, the very likable character of Jaine has a murder to solve – and a lot of funny things happen along the way! I was unable to guess who the murderer was so it was a total surprise and that’s the kind of mystery I like!

In the end, Prozac snaps back to her old self, the murderer is caught and all ends well. No overt violence, cursing or sex. This book is very readable for young adults and even older kittens as well. There are a number of other books in this series so at some point in the future I will have to read them, too!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because it’s a lighthearted murder mystery with a manic-depressive cat and a funny, self-effacing female human protagonist.

Reviewer: BobbieSue

Hag-Seed

hagseed

 

Hag-Seed
The Tempest Retold

 
Margaret Atwood
Hogarth Shakespeare, an imprint of Crown Publishing, 2016

From the dust jacket: “Margaret Atwood, literary innovator and visionary storyteller, brings Shakespeare’s classic drama of revenge and passion to vivid new life in a contemporary prison.
“Felix is at the top of his game as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded, and his reputation is second to none. Now he is about to stage a Tempest like no other: not only will it dazzle audiences, it will heal emotional wounds.
“At least that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix finds himself living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved daughter, Miranda. But he hasn’t given up, and he is determined to exact his revenge.
“After twelve years, the perfect opportunity finally arrives when Felix signs on to teach a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and the Fletcher Correctional Players will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?
“Margaret Atwood’s novel take on The Tempest leads us on an interactive, multimedia journey featuring an unforgettable cast of characters in a completely original imagining of a timeless tale.”

 
I knew nothing about Shakespeare’s The Tempest before I started reading this book. Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know a smidgen more. Shakespeare has always been over my head and Ms Atwood’s retelling of The Tempest, Hag-Seed,  is over my head as well. However, she tells the story of Felix’s downfall, his slow walk toward madness, and the revenge that frees him from his past in a very compelling way. At times, I felt sorry for Felix and other times I wanted to kick him in the rear to motivate him. Twelve years is a long time to lick old wounds, but nurse them he does. He plots and plans and cyber-stalks his betrayers, just waiting for the perfect convergence of planets to occur and he is able to exact his revenge. I liked the fact that his revenge plans are kept a secret from the reader until it takes place in the narrative. I was imagining the worst, but as near-to-insanity as Felix was, he exacted a frightening, but nonviolent retaliation.

 

There is some surreptitious drug use; a conversation by the prisoners about the male characters in the play raping the only female character (the discussion is not graphic); and aside from a few curse words here and there, the book is suitable for both adults and teens who enjoy reading “The Bard.”

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because even though the frequent Shakespeare references flew right by me, Ms Atwood’s fantastic ability to tell a story kept me going when I would have given up with any other author.

 

Reviewer:

toby-loc

Toby

Claws for Alarm

claws for alarm

Claws for Alarm
A Nick & Nora Mystery

T.C. LoTempio
Berkley Prime Crime, Penguin Random House, 2015

From the back of the book, “Since inheriting her mother’s sandwich shop, Nora Charles is more about hot grilled paninis than cold-blooded murder—until her sister Lacey is arrested. The victim, an esteemed art collector and Lacey’s bullying professor, was stabbed in the heart. Apparently, all over a lousy grade.
“Off campus, things were just as dicey. The prof had an ex with secrets, a trophy wife set to inherit a fortune in masterworks, and a scorned student mistress. Going undercover, Nora realizes that investigating this crime is the biggest test of her sleuthing career. Because if she fails, even Nick’s animal instinct won’t be enough to rescue Lacy from a perfectly executed framing.”

This is the second installment of the Nick & Nora Mystery series, the one I’m reading backwards. Now that I’ve read the book I see what a not-so-smart idea that was. The whole mystery was taken out of it for me because I knew who the murder was the whole time – from the third book, Crime and Catnip. Of course I didn’t know the whys and how’s of the mystery, but still… . The result of this previous information as well as others, took all the enjoyment of reading the book – it took a lot of persuading myself to pick it back up to finish it. When I did finish it, I decided not to read the first book, Meow if it’s Murder but Nora keeps bringing up how Nick came into her life so I changed my mind and am starting that book today!

Rating 3 out of 5 paws because while it was a good mystery, it wasn’t riveting enough to keep me reading straight through to the end.

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue