Six Cats a Slayin’
Cat in the Stacks #10
By Miranda James
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
December twenty-fifth is right around the corner, and Charlie is making his list and checking it twice. He is doing his best to show some peace and goodwill toward his nosy neighbor Gerry Arbitron, a real estate agent who seems to have designs on his house (and maybe on him, as well), while preparing for a very important role, indeed–his first Christmas as a grandfather.
The last thing Charlie expects is to gain several new additions to his family. Charlie finds a box on his doorstep with five kittens inside and a note begging him to keep them safe. With Diesel’s help, Charlie welcomes the tiny felines into the Harris household just as Gerry decides it is time to throw a lavish holiday party.
Determined to make her mark on Athena, Gerry instead winds up dead at her very own party. Though attempts to dig into her past come up empty, Charlie and his girlfriend, Helen Louise, witness two heated exchanges involving Gerry before her death: one with a leading citizen and another with the wife of a good friend. Will one of these ladies wind up on the sheriff’s naughty list? Charlie and Diesel have to wrap up the case before the special season is ruined by a sinister scrooge.
I just adore librarian Charlie and his most estimable cat Diesel, and it is hard to believe that Six Cats a Slayin’ is the tenth book in the Cats in the Stacks Mystery Series. The plot and characters are as fresh as ever with the added benefit of these characters feeling like old friends.
Christmas is quickly approaching, and Charlie is excited to celebrate with his family, especially his two grandbabies experiencing their first holiday season. However, all is not smooth sailing when he meets his new neighbor, Gerry, whose bold flirtatious nature and sights set on buying houses in the neighborhood make Charlie uncomfortable. In addition, someone has dumped a box of kittens on Charlie’s doorstep, and his daughter-in-law is facing a crisis. When Gerry is murdered at her own Christmas party, Charlie investigates, uncovering deep secrets along the way.
Charlie has got to be one of the decent men in the literary world. His old-fashioned Southern manners and his genuinely kind and curious nature make me wish he was a real person I could call my friend. His sleuthing never seems over the top or inappropriate; he simply puts his vocational skills and sharp mind, along with his gossiping friends, to work. I do appreciate that Deputy Kanesha actually seeks out his opinion and knowledge this time around. Gerry, the victim, does start out rather unlikable, but the more we learn about her, the sadder I became about her senseless death.
There is a lot going on in this book, but the pace is never rushed and the various threads fit together nicely. Author James tackles some timely and serious subjects within the pages of Six Cats a Slayin’, all with a deft, sensitive touch. What could be too heavy for a cozy mystery left in another author’s hands is balanced well with the antics of five feisty kittens and Christmas preparations. There are plenty of murder suspects and lots of revelations leading to the killer. In fact, I did not pay enough attention to a clue early on that proved vital in identifying the perpetrator in the end. It is a smart, well-crafted mystery.
Six Cats a Slayin’ is a wonderful read, appropriate for the Christmas holiday season or anytime. I recommend it to any fan of cozy and traditional mysteries.