Out of Circulation
Series: Cat in the Stacks, Book 4
Written by Miranda James
Narrated by Erin Bennett
Listening Length: 8 hours and 10 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Charlie Harris has gotten busier since the last time we visited Athena, Mississippi where he lives with his large Maine coon cat named Diesel. As this book opens, we learn that Charlie is now on the board of the Friends of the Library organization. As a last minute favor to the ill member of the board who had promised to host this meeting, Charlie holds the board meeting at his home.
A decision on where to orchestrate the annual Christmas fund raising event must be made. Usually held at the home of An’gel and Dickce Ducote, Vera Cassity thinks her mansion would be perfect, but then so do the Ducote sisters. Vera begins a rather heated debate with sour words and comments of great rancor, when the sisters combat her with great Southern charm. As quickly as it began, the conflict is resolved for not only this event, but several into the future.
Azalea, Charlie’s housekeeper, is mortified to learn that Vera Cassity had been in “her” home and warns Charlie to never have her again or she would leave his employ. Charlie is surprised at her vehemence so when the Ducotes invite him to tea that day, he accepts. Here he starts to hear the under story to Athena local history. What he learns begins to explain the feud with Vera Cassity and why so many people shudder when her name comes up.
In order to increase funds raised at this gala event, the board members agree to make this a masquerade with characters based on literary figures. It was Charlie who inadvertently chose a finger foods buffet rather than a sit down dinner to make mingling easier. After planning and implementing his character, Charlie attends the gala sans Diesel. The Ducote sisters had promised to reveal a way to end Vera’s sour retorts for good, and their method proves ingenious.
However, finding Vera’s body on the decrepit back stairs was not part of that plan. It was Azalea who was trapped on the ancient staircase with Vera’s body dressed in voluminous skirts. Unfortunately, Azalea is then considered a prime suspect in the murder.
Since Vera had been trying to see the Ducote papers donated to the Athena library where Charlie was caretaker, he decides to look into the personal effects to find an answer to the question of who pushed Vera down the stairs. He is taken aback while reading a journal, knowing that its contents would change the Ducote family tree forever.
What a delightful and spicy way to begin the Ducote family spinoff to another mystery series written by Miranda James. The sisters don’t leave Athena and will continue in this series as well. What Southern mystery doesn’t involve a scandal? Will Charlie find the clues needed to clear Azalea? Readers would miss a stunning denouement if they do not continue reading this fabulous new piece of history.