Claws for Concern

claws for concern


Claws for Concern
Cat in the Stacks, Book 9

Miranda James
Berkley Prime Crime, 2018

From the dust jacket: “Charlie may be a proud new grandfather, but he and Diesel still have work to do at Athena College and the small Mississippi town’s public library. He’s too busy to deal with true-crime writer, who wants Charlie as the subject of his latest book – and who won’t take no for an answer.

“A more appealing proposition for Charlie is spending time helping a kind, elderly man navigate the library’s genealogical database. But he’s shocked when he learns that the visitor’s search is focused on a member of his own family: his late aunt’s husband.

“Charlie befriends the man and considers inviting him to stay in his home, but he’s soon given reason to question that notion. Jack is certain that Charlie’s new houseguest was involved in a shocking homicide that took place years ago in a small town near Athena. As this cold case heats up, Charlie and Diesel have to uncover a killer who may already be too close to home…”

Okay – so here’s the bad thing about this book (which, coincidentally, is also a good thing about this book) – I had to wait almost a year for the next installment of this excellent series; and, I read the whole thing in a single day. I couldn’t stop; it was that good. And now I have to wait a long time for another book! What I should do is keep it and read it again before returning it to the library, but I have two other – no, make that three – new mysteries to read!

So, it was good to catch up on Charlie and his family; it’s like visiting old friends for the weekend. The mystery is very good, although I did guess the murderer before Charlie did, but not until closer to the end of the book. And, if I hadn’t known already that the author is from the Deep South, I would be able to come to that conclusion because of the rich atmosphere created when she wrote of Mississippi in the summertime – of course, it helps if you’ve lived it (the oppressive heat and humidity)! Excellent book and mystery. Oh, and by the way, in case you didn’t know, Diesel is a 40-pound Maine Coon cat!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws



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.



Out of Circulation

Out of Circulation
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
Miranda James
Berkley Prime Crime, Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Group, 2013
Charlie and Diesel are faced with a problem: their beloved housekeeper, Azalea, is found standing over the broken body of one of Athena’s most disliked women of society – and the sheriff believes Azalea to be guilty of murder! Another mystery in the Cat in the Stacks series where Charlie Harris, librarian and rare books cataloguer, must work behind the scenes to solve the murder and Diesel, a giant cat even by Maine Coon standards, goes about his important business of consoling and soothing broken hearts.
Main Character:
*Charlie Harris doesn’t spend as much time in the library in this book. After the murder he is enlisted by not only the Ducote sisters to find the fiend but by Azalea’s daughter, Deputy Chief Kanesha Berry, as well. He and Diesel go back to the scene of the crime to reenact the murder, visit not so savory characters and delve into the Ducote’s past to find the answer.
Continuing Characters:
*Misses An’gel and Dickce Ducote, spinster sisters in their 80’s and leaders of the upper class of Athena, they are at odds with a certain member of the Friends of the Library, who ends up dead!
*Azalea Harris, housekeeper for Charlie and his boarders. She has a secret reason for being at odds with Vera Cassity and that puts her on the suspect list.
*Deputy Chief Sheriff Kanesha Berry, daughter of Azalea, which means she is unable to run the investigation. She enlists the aid of Charlie to absolve her mother.
*Helen Louise Brady, owner of the local bakery and love of Charlie.
*Stewart Delacorte, a boarder with Charlie and college professor.
New Characters:
*Vera Cassity, a rather disagreeable socialite who is a war with everyone she meets. She does a lot of good charitable works but does it to be seen and not out of her heart -if she even has one.
*Morty Cassity, Vera’s long-suffering husband – he, too has a secret reason for wanting Vera dead.
*Sissy Beauchamp, she is rumored to be having an affair with Morty Cassity.
*Hank Beauchamp, Sissy’s brother, has gambled away their inherited fortune and has prime reason for wanting Vera gone so Sissy can marry Morty and he can have access to Morty’s millions.
*Sheriff Gerald Tidwell, investigates the murder and doesn’t appreciate the help of Charlie and Diesel. He immediately jumps to the conclusion that Azalea is guilty and it is up to Charlie to prove him wrong. Diesel does not like him, so Charlie does his best to stay well away.
I enjoyed this installment of Cat in the Stacks series as much I as like the others. It is a good mystery, lots of colorful characters and a surprise murderer. A few twists and turns along the way and reading it was good way to spend a couple of rainy afternoons.
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for another really good mystery!!
selfie 092015aa
Reviewer: BobbieSue
Other covers:
Out of Circulation  Download Out of Circulation by Miranda James |
“Miranda James”  pseudonym of Dean James!!
Maine Coon Cats Pictures and Info | Animals Guide
not Diesel, but a Maine Coon!

Murder Past Due

Murder Past Due
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Miranda James
Berkley Prime Crime, Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Group, 2010

A cozy murder mystery, Murder Past Due, takes place in the home town of the main character. It is a smallish southern town where everybody knows what is going on in everybody’s lives, or at least they think they do. Into the mostly quiet life of Charlie Harris comes a nemesis from his high school days, Godfrey Priest, bestselling author of violent murder thrillers and all around jerk. One day in town and somebody murders Godfrey. Through his subtle investigation, Charlie finds out he isn’t the only one with a bad memory of Godfrey and more than one person would have wanted him dead.

Main Characters
*Charlie Harris, a librarian who has been widowed 2 years, lives a quiet, orderly life in his deceased aunt’s house, letting out rooms to young men who attend the local college.

*Diesel, a Maine Coon of a couple of years that was rescued by Charlie; Diesel is the life of the place wherever he goes. Charlie takes him all over town on his leash, charming grumpy deputies and soothing broken hearts.

Secondary Characters
*Godfrey Priest, blows into to town every few years mostly to flaunt his wealth and celebrity to the hometown folks. He made a lot of enemies in high school and since.
*Justin Wardlaw, 18 year old who boards with Charlie, suffers through some pretty traumatic days short life and Diesel is there to pick up the pieces.
*Julia Wardlaw, Justin’s mom who harbors a secret that Godfrey is back in town to expose.
*Deputy Kanesha Berry, in charge of her first murder investigation is testy, stubborn and ready to run anyone over who gets in her way, including Charlie and Diesel.

I really liked this book. I got it from the library after reading a review of a more recent book by the same author on the blog, Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, & Meows. Mudpie gave the novel in a different series an excellent review and I will be reading that one soon (as soon as our turn comes up on the Hold list). What I like about it, aside from the costarring role of Diesel, is that it’s just a plain good story, with likeable characters, believable plotlines, and it is effortless. By that I mean after reading books that taxed my brain and frustrated me because they didn’t live up to the hype, Murder Past Due was like the scent of coffee on a cold, cold morning. Warm, comforting, good. (Mom’s words, I don’t drink coffee! For me it would be like a freshly caught tuna, cleaned and filleted just for me!!) I don’t know if the other books in the series are as likeable as this one but we can’t wait to find out.

Rating: 4 paws out of 5, for a nice mystery without misery. 5 paws for Diesel!!

selfie 092015aaReviewer: BobbieSue

 Dean+James+AKA+Miranda+James.jpg Yes, this is Miranda James – a pseudonym of Dean James!

This is Mudpie who reviews mysteries on Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and Meows!!

UK cover

Other books in the series – I’ll be reading all of them!!!

  File M for Murder / Miranda James | Kit-Kats | Pinterest  Out of Circulation (ebook) by Miranda James | 9781101619117  Miranda James is the pseudonym for Dean James, the New York Times ...  Lesa's Book Critiques: Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James

A big Maine Coon !!!

Maine Coon Cats | Brief History Of The Maine Coon Cat