Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Silence of the Library by Miranda James

If you're a mystery fan today, you may have read teen detective series when you were younger. If so, Miranda James' The Silence of the Library will take you back. James' latest Cat in the Stacks mystery is a tribute to all those books, and it's done in style.

Librarian Charlie Harris has been a fan of teen sleuths since his beloved aunt Dottie first introduced him to her collection of Veronica Thane books. He's pleased that the Athena Public Library is planning an exhibit to honor the one hundredth birthday of Electra Barnes Cartwright, author of the Veronica Thane series. But, he's amazed when the library director, Teresa Farmer calls to say Cartwright is still alive, and she may consent to be interviewed for the celebration. However, the library's announcement that EBC will appear at the celebration brings all the fanatical collectors to Athena. Suddenly the celebration of girl sleuths becomes an outrageous observance of greed, and then murder.

Charlie and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, have been in on a few murder investigations in Athena, Mississippi, so it's little surprise that people ask for his help. Kanesha Berry, Chief Deputy for the Sheriff's department, finds his name by the victim. She no longer suspects him of murder, but his knowledge of the collectors, the Cartwright family, and others involved in the case will prove helpful. However, it's Charlie's reference skills that will uncover the clue that leads to a killer.

If you grew up with girl sleuths or boy detectives, Miranda James' The Silence of the Library will bring back fond memories as James not only tells the story of Charlie and Diesel's latest case, but also skillfully weaves in a Veronica Thane mystery. James will have readers rapidly turning pages as you relive the days of cliffhanger chapters and roadster-driving sleuths.

As intriguing as the mystery is, it's still James' characters that bring readers back. Who can resist Charlie Harris, a kind, Southern gentleman, a family man who loves his adult children, his boarders, and his friends? And, as much as we love Charlie, it's even harder to resist Diesel, the Maine Coon cat who warbles and chirps his way into hearts while keeping his eye out for killers. Charlie and Diesel are in fine form in The Silence of the Library as they find their way through the maze of crazed book collectors.

Reader's Note: I found my way to adult mysteries after reading all kinds of mysteries for kids, The Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West, mysteries by Helen Fuller Orton and the Nancy Drew books. And, here's a confession. In the early '80s, while I waited to hear about my dream job at my hometown library, I couldn't concentrate on reading anything. Nancy Drew pulled me through. I read Nancy Drew books, one after the other, as my life preserver. If you're a mystery reader today, is there a teen sleuth series in your past?

Miranda James' website is

The Silence of the Library by Miranda James. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425257289 (paperback), 308p.

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


SandyG265 said...

I read a few of the Hardy Boy books but mostly I was into Sci-Fi when I was a kid. I read Tom Swift Jr. and Robert Heinlein's YA books.

I didn't really get into mysteries until I was an adult. I was on vacation with my Mom and I read all of the books I'd brought with me. All she had were a couple of Dell Shannon books so I read those and that got me started on mysteries.

Lesa said...

Oh, Dell Shannon! A name out of the past, Sandy. I loved the Luis Mendoza police procedurals.

Jane R said...

I received my first Nancy Drew book (The HIdden Window Mystery) when I was in third grade. That was the beginning of my love of mysteries. And, I still have all my Nancy Drew books, as well as the Nancy Drew board game. I just can't seem to part with them!

Lesa said...

I didn't even know there was a Nancy Drew board game, Jane. I don't blame you for not wanting to part with any of them!

Mark Baker said...

I started a Hardy Boys book in 3rd grade, but then I got sidetracked by Narnia and didn't get back to the Hardys until 5th grade. From there, it was Nancy and then Trixie Belden. Before that, I was also reading Encyclopedia Brown. Definitely helped hook me on mysteries to this day.

Lesa said...

Mark, I might have gotten sidetracked by Narnia, but my public library only had The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I didn't realize it was a series until my junior year in high school when a friend loaned me his entire set. And, as you said, I've been hooked on mysteries ever since those early years. Loved Encyclopedia Brown! So seldom guessed right.