Reviewer: Mary Lignor
Title: Murder Past Due - 1st in the Cat in the Stacks Mystery series
Author: Miranda James
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: August 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Athena MS
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Moderate
Miranda's Website/Blog: www.mirandajames.com
This book is a keeper. The main character is Charlie Harris, an academic librarian in a small college in Mississippi. Along with his Maine Coon Cat, Diesel, Charlie runs the college library and also volunteers at the local library a few times a week. Charlie is a widower with two grown children and lives in a house left to him by his favorite Aunt. He rents out a room to a college student each year and is a very good natured man who knows everyone and everyone knows him. (This is not always a good thing!!!)
A former classmate of Charlie's who is now the author of blood-thirsty mysteries comes back into town to speak at the college and promote his latest gory best seller. As Charlie and his friends say, "Godfrey Priest might be the pride of Atlanta" but they still think of him as a haughty jerk, who has always manipulated everyone into doing things that they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Godfrey rides into town as a hometown hero and alumnus of Athena University but, things do not go his way this time. By lunch time on the day of his arrival he has made new enemies and has put a man into the hospital and by dinner time Godfrey is dead. Charlie and Diesel take it upon themselves to PAW through clues and find the killer before a very ambitious deputy sheriff arrests the wrong person. It seems that practically everyone in town had a grudge against Godfrey and that makes it difficult to single anyone out.
I have to say that I am a cat person, so I really loved reading about Diesel. My daughter had a Maine Coon Cat at one time and he had a personality much like Diesel's. They grow to an enormous size and are very smart. Charlie walks this cat around like a dog on a leash and the cat seems to know everything and can go to a lot of places that people cannot go. The writing is first class and the story is so good that I read it in one sitting. This is a fascinating mystery and ends with a real surprise. This is a new series and I hope that there will be much more about Charlie and Diesel in the future. Enjoy and I'll talk to you soon.
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