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No Cats Allowed
Cat in the Stacks #7
Miranda James

Berkley Prime Crime
February 23, 2016 / ISBN 978-0-425-27774-4
Mystery/Cozy/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Librarian Charlie Harris always brings his beloved Maine Coon cat, Diesel, to work with him. His co-workers love Diesel, and patrons look forward to seeing him. When the new library director, Oscar Reilly, demands that Diesel no longer be allowed at the library, Charlie is ready to quit or take a leave of absence. He's hoping Reilly won't last long at his new job, since he is making enemies of many of the staff members with his unpopular changes and obnoxious behavior.

Reilly doesn't last long, but not because he is fired. Instead he is murdered in a brutal manner between compacting bookcases that crush him to death. Since Reilly was so unpopular, there is no shortage of suspects among the staff. Charlie's good friend, Melba, is brought in for questioning because there is some physical evidence against her. Charlie knows Melba wouldn't kill anyone, and fortunately she is soon released. Charlie reluctantly accepts the position of Interim Library Director until a permanent replacement can be found, but things start to happen which make Charlie fear for his own life. What exactly is going on at the college library, and why? Is the same person who is perpetrating nasty pranks also the killer? As the body count rises, so does the level of fear in Athena, Mississippi.

I have been blessed to read and review this series from the beginning, and as with most series, by about the sixth or seventh book, I go into it with a little trepidation. Will the new book be as good as the others, or will the author have begun to run out of steam? I'm here to tell you that author Miranda James just keeps getting better and better. My favorite characters, Charlie and Diesel, remain true to their natures and are lovable, smart and kind. There are many characters, including Charlie's son Sean and daughter Laura and their respective mates, other librarians, and members of Charlie's household who carry on from book to book. There are also enough new characters to enrich the series and widen Charlie and Diesel's world even more. The mystery is current and realistic, and I honestly couldn't figure out whodunit or why until the very end, which is always a delight to this reader.

No Cats Allowed is the epitome of the cozy mystery, featuring a small enough circle of people who know each other well, an amateur sleuth, a lovable cat, a library, a Southern town, and enough warmth, compassion and humor to make reading about murder fun. It's an intelligent read, so well-written that I couldn't stop reading it. Every single time I turned out my light for the night, I found myself thinking about the story, flipping the light switch again and reading just "one more chapter," until I reached the satisfying conclusion. Run, don't walk, to get your copy today!!

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

Reviewer Notes: Miranda James also writes the Southern Ladies Mystery Series

Reviewed 2016