Athena College has a new writer-in-residence, playwright Connor Lawton. Lawton is an Athena native, even though he moved away when he was a young child, and the college was lucky to have him - even though he has a reputation for being arrogant and opinionated. Charlie doesn't expect to have a lot to do with Lawton, but then his daughter Laura arrives in town to teach at the college for a semester and Charlie learns that Lawton and Laura were once a couple. While they may have broken up, Lawton is the reason Laura got the job and there is soon some tension between them as Lawton seems to expect to pick up where they left off.
When Laura finds Lawton dead she becomes the number one suspect, but Charlie knows there must be more to the story because Laura is no murderer. While Deputy Berry would prefer Charlie stay out of the investigation, Charlie can't help but get involved to protect Laura. When another death comes to Athena it seems as though the killer is still out there and trying to make a point, and they are not afraid to strike out at people they see as a threat. As Charlie tries to get to the bottom of the mystery he can't help but feel that he is missing something important, something that is just out of reach. But can Charlie solve the mystery and save day before something else happens?
Finding a series you really enjoy can be a blessing and a curse - a blessing because you know you are going to enjoy the next book in the series, and a curse because once you catch up with all the published books you have to wait until the next one is published. I have the additional curse of reading the series at the same time as my mother which means that if I am not careful she snaffles the next book in the series off my to read next shelf and I have to wait for her to finish reading it (and she reads much slower than I do). I never expected to enjoy the Cat in the stacks mysteries as much as I do - for me it was a quirky series that I "should" try because I was a librarian and I had owned a Maine coon before. What I found was a series that is funny (sometimes laugh out loud funny), heart warming, loaded with well developed characters, and packed with murder mysteries that challenge your assumptions and your ability to untangle some very tangled motives and potential suspects.
The cat in the stacks mysteries are an enjoyable break from some of the other, heavier, crime genre novels I read (insert names like James Patterson and Tess Gerritsen here). Don't get me wrong I really enjoy the big names and the pace and the tension, but they lack some of the pure charm that comes from the interactions between Charlie and Diesel and their family and friends. My one bug bear is that the person who draws the covers of the books has either never seen a real Maine coon or else they have seen a very strange Maine coon because the cat on the covers appears to be a short haired cat and lacks the rich coat and ruff that makes the breed look so majestic. I can't wait to jump into the next book in the series.
If you like this book then try:
- Murder past due by Miranda James
- Dipped, stripped, and dead by Elise Hyatt
- French polished murder by Elise Hyatt
- Books can be deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
- One for the money by Janet Evanovich
- Death of a kitchen diva by Lee Hollis
Reviewed by Brilla