OUT OF CIRCULATION:
Cat in the Stacks


By Miranda James

Berkley Prime Crime, January, 2013 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-25727-2

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Librarian Charlie Harris has settled happily into the home he inherited from his aunt in his home town of Athena, Mississippi. He has a great job working at the local university, his son and daughter are both staying with him, his relationship with his lady love is growing apace, and he has the love of his feline companion Diesel, a very personable Maine Coon. Life in Athena is serene and peaceful, most of the time.

Not at this particular time, however. The annual fund raiser for the Friends of the Library is coming up, and Charlie finds himself in the middle of the annual power struggle between three of the board members over who will get to host the event. Sisters An'gel and Dickce Ducote are sweet, gentile, ladies of a certain age who represent the cream of the social crop in Athena, but they are steel magnolias, not gilded lilies. They live in the antebellum mansion that's been in the family since it was built. Vera Cassity is a mean-spirited harpy with a dismal family history, who is only tolerated because of her free spending of her husband's money on charitable causes. The Cassitys also live in an impressive home, but it's a purchase, not an inheritance.

To no one's surprise, the Ducotes once again prevail, and the gala takes place at River Hill. The attendees come dressed as their favorite characters from literature, and a good time is had by all, until Charlie once again finds a body. He really hates when that happens, and Diesel is not best pleased either.

Charlie has been involved in murder investigations before, and because of the circumstances surrounding the death, his skills are sought out again. He agrees, because one of the suspects is very close to him, and he is certain of her innocence. The Ducote sisters also enlist his assistance for reasons of their own. His search for the truth uncovers secrets that are bound to hurt others, and he has to examine his conscience as to whether to reveal them.

This is the fourth in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series. Once again, Ms. James has created a delightful tale full of Southern charm, Faulknerian plot twists, and unforgettable characters. Grab a glass of ice tea, sit down in your rocking chair, and enjoy the story.

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