The Southern Academic Libraries Association, otherwise known as the SALA, is holding their annual meeting at Athena College. As Charlie is the interim library director he has to play nicely with the other librarians and welcome them to the college - not an easy ask when one of the visiting librarians is his nemesis from library school. It is something of a relief to know that Gavin Fong is pretty much universally disliked by his peers, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with the arrogant man and his petty behaviour. When one of their first interactions ends in a physical altercation Charlie is both embarrassed and angry, but it also leads to him being a potential suspect when Gavin Fong is murdered.
Charlie is no stranger to murder mysteries, and has even been a suspect before, but never have there been so many viable suspects before. It seems as though Gavin Fong made enemies in every library he worked in, and over his career he has worked in many many libraries. It seems that even Charlie's friends and colleagues are not above suspicion as they have all had problems with Gavin. When a second body is found the tension rises - who could be behind the double murder? With his reputation on the line Charlie can't help but dig into the mystery, which might just be putting his life in danger. If all the excitement of the murders wasn't enough, Charlie has some tough decisions to make at home - especially when his daughter announces that she and her husband might be moving out of state after the birth of Charlie's first grandchild. All this excitement is a lot for Charlie to handle, but luckily he has Diesel by his side!
I love the Cat in the stack mysteries - partly because I am a librarian myself and there is some wonderful in jokes, but also because I love cats and have had the pleasure of owning a Maine Coon myself and Diesel reminds me a lot of her (not to mention the everyday cat antics that he gets up to). The in jokes step up a notch in this addition to the series because of the references to the librarians meeting (we have conferences like this in New Zealand) and because you just don't expect librarians to be so political and troublesome - unless you happen to be one! Charlie has continued to grow on me as a character, and with each novel the legend of Charlie, his family, his boarders, his friends, and his town continues to grow. I know that Miranda James is a pseudonym and that 'she' writes other series, but there is a very selfish part of me that wishes all 'her' time was devoted to the town of Athena, Mississippi!
A very enjoyable read, and a good addition to the series. We are obviously heading towards some changes for Charlie and I look forward to the continued character development as Charlie is starting to feel like a colleague I have worked with for years. I highly recommend this series for anyone who loves a good murder mystery, or for anyone who likes a good read about libraries, or anyone who enjoys stories about the human animal bond that have strong character development. A fine addition to the Cat in the stacks mysteries (fondly known as Charlie and Diesel in our house).
If you like this book then try:
- Murder past due by Miranda James
- Bless her dead little heart 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