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

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

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

Crime and Catnip

crime-and-catnip

Crime and Catnip
A Nick & Nora Mystery

T. C. LoTempio
Berkley Prime Crime, 2016

From the back of the book, “While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.
“As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him …”

This cozy mystery was a very enjoyable read – refreshing after all the fantasy & dystopian novels I’ve read lately. I liked the character of Nora; she was believable as an amateur sleuth, sandwich shop owner and caterer. This book is the third in the series but it seems I’m reading the series backward as I discovered this book on display at the library, put the other two on hold and the second in the series (Claws for Alarm) came in before the first of the series.

I was a bit incredulous at first about Nick – a lovely black tuxedo (like me) – who knows things about people and communicates them to Nora in various ways like pointing to something with his paw or thumping his tail. But I figured if I can read and review a book, why can’t another intelligent tuxie be able to read and decipher a coded message?

The murder takes place off stage; Nora is attacked twice but the description is not graphic. She has a boyfriend but the romantic episodes are mostly hinted at and are tertiary to the whole story. (Do you like that word, ‘tertiary’? Ever since I heard it on The Big Bang Theory I’ve been waiting for the right sentence to use it in! BTW, it means, “Third in place, order, degree, or rank.”) Also, there is also a connecting plot-line to the series, one that involves Nick’s former owner, a private eye, who has disappeared.

Rating, 3 of 5 paws, because even though the story was enjoyable and easy to read, I figured out who the murderer was before Nora announced it. I didn’t know how it happened but I figured out why it happened.

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue

 

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

thrice-the-brindled-cat-hath-mewd

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d
A Flavia de Luce Novel

Alan Bradley
Delacorte Press, Penguin Random House, 2016

From the back of the book: “In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests. But with Flavia’s blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty—and not empty enough. Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene. Curiosity may not kill this cat, but Flavia is energized at the prospect of a new investigation. ‘It’s amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one’s spirits.’ But what awaits Flavia will shake her to the very core.”

I was so excited to read this book. I’ve been mildly disappointed in the previous two, with The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches being so depressing and As the Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust not being set in England and Flavia filled with so much angst and homesickness. But this book – oh, this book.

Another really great mystery that I didn’t figure out at all, and Flavia with her brilliance and smart-aleck nature made for another great story. However, with Flavia’s father sick in the hospital she is, again full of angst and heartache. We don’t see him through the entire book and – I’m breaking one of my taboos here – SPOILER ALERT – neither does Flavia – ever again. I was so mad at the author after I read the last chapter, the last page, the last paragraph – I wanted to throw the book across the room!! I’m still mad about it. I’m not going to spell it out specifically what happened because I’ve already told you why I’m so mad! I hate it when an author messes with a character I love so much – I know it’s their right, it’s their creation and they can do whatever they want with it. But I don’t like it when they write so much pain and heartache into their fictional lives. I was already on the fence about reading another Flavia novel due to the depressing heartache in this one and then I finished it. So, I don’t know if I’ll read the follow-up novel or not. I’ll decide when it comes out. I suppose if I want a happy-ending mystery I’m going to have to read Nancy Drew.

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because any book that makes me so furious about what happens that I want to throw the book against the wall (I wouldn’t – [a] because it’s a book and [b] because it’s a library book) deserves the highest rating I can give it.

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue