The Athena Public Library is about to host one of the best kept secrets of the girl detective world - beloved author Electra Barnes Cartwright. Cartwright, known to her most devoted fans as EBC, is nearly one hundred but still sharp as a tack and eager to meet with her fans. It seems like a dream come true for Charlie who grew up reading the adventures of Cartwright's most famous character, Veronica Thane the teen detective who got into all kinds of adventures. The resurfacing of such a beloved author is bound to cause waves, and those waves come in the form of some of the most devoted (and eccentric) fans.
When one of those fans is found murdered, Charlie finds himself slowly sucked into the mystery. As he tries to sift through the mystery of the murder, Charlie finds himself rekindling his love of Veronica Thane as he chooses some of his own books for the display on girl detectives. It soon becomes clear that there is a mystery afoot, a mystery that would not be out of place on the pages of a Veronica Thane mystery - a mystery that has everyone scratching their heads. With the help of his faithful cat Diesel, Charlie is in for another adventure, a who dunnit that would have any detective series fan rubbing their hands with glee as they try and discover who the killer is before the end of the novel.
I have made no attempt to disguise the fact that I love the Cat in the stacks mystery series, although they are always known as the Charlie and Diesel books in my house. The series is extremely well written, taking twists and turns and dropping false hints to keep you guessing who did it, often to the very end of the novel. I have only recently started reading this genre and have already discovered (to my peril and disappointment) that many of these series are vapid, predictable, and insulting to the intelligence of their readers. In stark contrast the Charlie and Diesel books are warm, engaging, and keep you on your toes as you try and solve the murder before Charlie does. Diesel is both willing sidekick and ice breaking colleague in a world full of Southern charm.
Over the course of the series the characters have grown and evolved, but not to an unrealistic degree, or so the characters are unrecognisable. Each time I pick up the next book in the series it feels like I am returning to spend time with old friends, enjoying the titbits of information about Charlie and his children and the other people in their lives. Each of the characters is fully formed with their strengths, weaknesses, and human touches that makes them real people who seem to leap off the page. I just adore Diesel too, and there are times when I can't help but smile because he reminds me of one of my own cats - complete with the chirping and insistence of sitting right where you are, or patting you with a paw to let you know you should be stroking her right now!
The one depressing thought is now I have caught up with all the Charlie and Diesel books I have to wait for the next one to be published! There is a tantalising sneak peak of the first book in a new series from Miranda James in the back of the edition I got - Bless her dead little heart - which features some familiar faces from Charlie and Diesels past. Hopefully this new series lives up to the high standards I have come to expect from James, and hopefully there will be another Charlie and Diesel book to come soon.
If you like this book then try:
- Murder past due by Miranda James
- Classified as murder by Miranda James
- File M for murder by Miranda James
- Out of circulation by Miranda James
- Dipped, stripped, and dead by Elise Hyatt
- French polished murder by Elise Hyatt
- Lending a paw by Laurie Cass
- Books can be deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
- Pies and prejudice by Ellery Adams
- One for the money by Janet Evanovich
- Death of a kitchen diva by Lee Hollis
- Death of a country fried redneck by Lee Hollis
Reviewed by Brilla