Saturday, October 27, 2018

Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James

I tried to hold off. I really did. But, it's so hard to wait until after Halloween to read books set at Christmas when they're showing up in the mail. It was impossible to resist the cover of Miranda James' latest Cat in the Stacks mystery, Six Cats a Slayin'. So, before the book review, kudos to Dan Craig, the artist who did the cover art. Once in a while, I think it's appropriate to recognize the cover artist.

It's almost Christmas in Athena, Mississippi. Librarian Charlie Harris doesn't feel in the Christmas spirit, though, when he encounters his new neighbor, Geraldine Albritton. She's a little too enthusiastic and flirtatious for the staid Charlie. Something seems off about her, and Charlie's co-worker Melba Gilley agrees. Geraldine claims to be from Athena, but Melba doesn't recognize her, and Melba knows the history of everyone in town. Although Charlie does his best to ignore Geraldine, he agrees to attend her Christmas get-together, hoping to learn more.

In the meantime, he has plenty to keep him busy. He's now the doting grandfather of two, although Charlie's daughter-in-law is struggling to be the perfect new mother. And, Charlie and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, have their own new little ones. Someone leaves five young kittens on Charlie's front step, with a note in a child's handwriting, saying someone threatened to drown them. It's all Charlie can do to contain the active kittens, and Diesel has his job cut out for him as he acts as a babysitter for the cats, all named after literary characters.

Even with cuddly kittens and babies around, Charlie loves a good puzzle. First, he tries to learn the history of his neighbor. But, her sudden death at her own party causes him to dive into the search for her identity and her past. The police may be on the  job, but so is Charlie Harris.

As always, Miranda James' mysteries are charming, character-driven puzzles that offer a chance for a librarian puzzle lover to delve into past secrets. There may be a murder, but Charlie's story is often heartwarming and hopeful, once he gets past the drama of a murder. As Charlie and Diesel expand their family, the reader finds room in their heart for new characters, and, in this case, new kittens. Six Cats a Slayin' is a comfortable mystery for any season.

Miranda James' website is

Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James. Berkley Prime Crime, 2018. ISBN 9780451491091 (hardcover), 294p.

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


Charlotte said...

I had a Maine Coon cat with the extra toes for fourteen years. Her name was Manytoes, she was wonderful. So of course I was interested in checking out this book. I downloaded a sample from Amazon. My sample list is growing as fast as my book stack. What is one more sample at this point. Less, I agree very prey book cover. Hope you have a restful weekend with good books to read. Hugs.

Lesa said...

Charlotte, I bet your library system will have these books. Murder Past Due is the first in the system.

Thank you! I just finished a book, and tomorrow I'm heading for Nashville to hear Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham. Long day, but it should be enjoyable.


Charlotte said...

Lesa, for some reason I hadn’t checked to find out if they carried her books. I usually do that after I download a sample copy.
You were right, they have a lot of her books.

Lesa said...

Oh, good. These are enjoyable puzzle mysteries, Charlotte. I think you'll enjoy the series.

Sandie Herron said...

Great review! I don't blame you for wanting to pick up this story ASAP. Who can resist Charlie and Diesel and all sorts of young ones. I'm very much looking forward to reading this one!

Dean James said...

Thanks, Lesa, for a lovely review!