Tuesday, January 31, 2012

File M for Murder by Miranda James

Charlie Harris is a librarian and an intelligent amateur sleuth. But author Miranda James is even smarter. James knows the real reason readers love the Cat in the Stacks mysteries is because we love Diesel, the Maine Coon cat in the books. In the latest book, File M for Murder, Diesel has a much larger role, and fans will be happy.

The appearance of Charlie’s daughter, Laura, in Athena, Mississippi, was a joyful surprise. She and her brother, Sean, had kept it a secret that she was coming to teach drama for a semester at Athena College. Charlie couldn’t have been happier, until he learned it was an old boyfriend, playwright Connor Lawton who pulled strings to get her the job. The few times Charlie and Diesel met the man, they had been repelled by his rudeness and unpleasant nature.

When Sean brought a defaced photo of Laura to Charlie’s attention, he was outraged, but she laughed it off, saying it was a jealous actress who hung on to Connor. But, Connor’s behavior toward Laura wasn’t a laughing matter. And, none of the family had reasons to laugh when Connor was found dead, and Laura was the one who found him. Naturally, a former girlfriend would be on the top of the suspect list.

Laura’s hiding something, but Charlie, Sean, and Diesel team up again to protect her. It’s going to take Charlie’s research skills, and Laura’s knowledge of the victim, to uncover the truth.

File M for Murder is only the third book in this delightful series, but Charlie Harris and Diesel continue to grow and become even more attractive as characters and sleuths. Diesel’s personality has blossomed. He chirps and warbles, demands treats, hides his treasures. He remains a cat, one who understands emotions, feelings, and knows when something is wrong. He’s an essential part of Charlie’s life, and a vital element in the charm of these books.

In the first book, Charlie was a lonely figure, a widower, not close to either of his children. By the third book, he’s a father, a landlord, and a cat owner, filled with joy, surrounded by family and friends. And, he’s an intelligent amateur sleuth, who does his research, and realizes he’s getting too involved in cases. “I decided it was the librarian in me, the part that always wanted to help people find the information they needed. I wasn’t a busybody, surely.” Charlie Harris is smart enough to dig for answers, and then turn those answers over to Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry. My kind of sleuth, one who can even laugh with others that this isn’t an episode from a TV show in which the suspects are all brought together, and the amateur detective endangers himself. Charlie was very much aware of the danger to his family, and he did everything he could to prevent it.

Readers who want an intelligent amateur sleuth with a loveable sidekick won’t go wrong if they pick up Miranda James’ Cat in the Stacks mysteries. File M for Murder should be filed under “E” for entertaining.

Readers can visit Diesel at Facebook.com/DieselHarriscat.

File M for Murder by Miranda James. Berkley Prime Crime. ©2012. ISBN 970425246184 (paperback), 294p.


FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

37 comments:

Miranda James said...

Lesa: I am absolutely purring this morning over your lovely review of the new book. I can't tell you how much it means to me. Thank you!

Harvee said...

I did not know about this series, and the coon cat in the books clinches it for me. On my list!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Miranda. (smile) Now, is that you purring or Diesel? The book is a keeper for me. Thank you for a terrific story. I enjoy watching the characters and relationships develop. (Love Stewart!)

Lesa said...

Great Maine coon cat in this series, Harvee. I hope you enjoy the books!

Ingrid King said...

I just finished this book, and loved it, too. I missed the second in the series, so the changes in Charlie Harris were startling - and wonderful. And of course, I loved that Diesel played a much larger role in this one than he did in the first one.

Lesa said...

The changes in Charlie are actually gradual, Ingrid, but you missed Sean arriving in the second book. They are wonderful changes, aren't they? And, Diesel is wonderful!

Sheila Beaumont said...

I just received my preordered copy in today's mail, and it will definitely be my next read. This is a delightful series. Charlie Harris and Diesel are both wonderful characters.

Lesa said...

And, they just continue to get better, Sheila. Enjoy the book!

Karen C said...

Sounds like fun and another to add to the list!

Lesa said...

It is a fun series. Glad to build that TBR pile!

Linda said...

My preordered copy arrived yesterday and I stayed up reading it. They just keep getting better and better. Can't wait for the next one.

rosemary said...

oooh this sounds great! My two Siamese cats play a prominent part in our lives, so I'm looking forward to reading about Diesel. (And a couple of days ago the Bengal cat who lives opposite fell, apparently from the sky, right past my upstairs study window - seems he regularly patrols our roof, then jumps down onto the conservatory roof on his way back to the garden!)

Lesa said...

Don't they get better, Linda? I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Lesa said...

Now, that's a sight I'd like to see, Rosemary, the cat falling past your window! That must have been a startling view!

Miranda James said...

Thanks, everyone! I really appreciate all the good things you've had to say!

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