Another Review at MyShelf.Com

File M for Murder
Cat in the Stacks Mystery, No 3
Miranda James

Berkley Prime Crime
Feb 2012/ 978-0-425-24618-4

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Charlie Harris loves his job as archivist, rare book cataloger and part time librarian in Athena, Mississippi. He is fortunate to be able to bring his companion animal, Diesel the extra-large Maine coon cat to work with him. Things don't always go smoothly in Charlie's life, but when his beloved daughter Laura unexpectedly comes to town to work as a substitute teacher in the Theater Department at the college, he hopes for a wonderful time together.

Laura's life is complicated by a past romantic relationship with the playwright who is writing and directing the fall season's play. Connor Lawton is overly emotional, has a super ego and high opinion of himself and alienates people left and right. He's controlling, insists that Laura is his muse and refuses to let go of her despite their breakup. His former lover, Dimitra Vane, has followed him to Athena and proceeds to threaten and harass Laura because she is a jealous shrew.

When Laura finds Connor dead, she seems much more distraught than one would think over the death of an obnoxious ex-boyfriend. Charlie knows his daughter isn't a killer, but the police may have reason to think otherwise. There are plenty of suspects, and it's just a matter of following the trail of the clues, something that Charlie and Diesel excel in.

I love this series, and I admit that it is chiefly because of Charlie's job, working in the library, and his smart and affectionate cat, Diesel. That said, I did find that the references to Diesel being emotionally sensitive and characters dropping everything to turn to him for pats and cuddles was a bit overdone. Not to the point of being annoying, but it was close, and this is from me, a proud cat lady.

What I really found refreshing about this murder mystery is that the death did not occur until nearly one-third of the way into the story. I found the backdrop and setup of the characters, the possible motives and the interaction between relationships to be interesting enough that it took me that long to realize no crime had been committed yet. I was so immersed in the story that when the death actually happened, I was jarred back to reality and ready to try to solve the crime along with Charlie and Diesel.

I highly recommend this book and the whole series to cozy lovers, cat lovers, and the book obsessed among us. It is a quick read; the story is crafted to be believable, and is appropriate for ages teen through adult. Enjoy!

Reviews of other titles in this series

Classified as Murder #2
File M for Murder #3
Out of Circulation #4
The Silence of the Library #5
Arsenic and Old Books #6
No Cats Allowed #7
Twelve Angry Librarians #8
Claws for Concern #9


Reviewed 2012
© 2012