Saturday, October 27, 2018
Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James
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 www.catinthestacks.com
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.