Twelve Angry Librarians
Cat in the Stacks, #8
By Miranda James
Author’s Website: http://www.catinthestacks.com/
The “New York Times” bestselling author of “No Cats Allowed “and “Arsenic and Old Books” is back with more Southern charm and beguiling mystery as Charlie and Diesel must find a killer in a room full of librarians…
Light-hearted librarian Charlie Harris is known around his hometown of Athena, Mississippi, for walking his cat, a rescued Maine Coon named Diesel. But he may soon be taken for a walk himself in handcuffs…
Charlie is stressed out. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding this year’s annual meeting at Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he must deliver the welcome speech to all the visiting librarians. And as if that weren’t bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie’s old nemesis from library school.
It s been thirty years since Charlie has seen Gavin Fong, and he’s still an insufferable know-it-all capable of getting under everyone’s skin. In his keynote, Gavin puts forth a most unpopular opinion: that degreed librarians will be obsolete in the academic libraries of the future. So, when Gavin is found dead, no one seems too upset…
But Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin after the speech, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must check out every clue to refine their search for the real killer among them before the next book Charlie reads comes from a prison library…
This is the first book I have read by Miranda James and I must say unequivocally, it will not be my last! Twelve Angry Librarians has all my must haves for a cozy mystery read: engaging storyline, interesting and spunky characters (who would have thought librarians were so interesting?) and a charming pet. How have I overlooked the previous seven books in the series? I shall definitely be rectifying that oversight!
Right on page one, I was hooked. If the administrative assistant, Melba Gilley could talk to the main protagonist with such gumption, then this was bound to be an entertaining read:
Charlie – “But I don’t want to do it.”…”You know how much I have public speaking….”
Melba – “Forrest will be welcoming everyone to open the conference. If you’d actually read the schedule instead of whining like a three-year-old you’d see that.” Melba Gilley glared right back at me.
My main Coon cat, Diesel, obviously disturbed by the sudden tension between two of his favorite people, started meowing loudly.
I quite enjoyed the fact that Charlie wanted to take his cat everywhere! If only my cat would succumb to a leash. But as any cat lover knows…it is not the owner that owns the cat but the cat that owns the owner ☺.
The appreciation of family values was also a nice surprise. I loved how Charlie took into account quality of life regarding family while he was trying to decide if becoming the full time, permanent library director at Athena College was something he wanted.
With respect to the mystery of whodunit to the insufferable Gavin Fong (and frankly, he was such a “jerk”…no one seemed to like him) had me totally guessing until the end. I, as in the book, seemed to cycle through ALL the possible suspects and I was frankly, surprised in the end. And that is exactly what I crave for when reading a cozy mystery; being in suspense until the very end.
The cast of suspects were many zany librarians who previously studied or worked with Gavin. Each of their relationship with Gavin was a bit twisted, yet entertaining to read about. Things did get a bit confusing when a second death occurred. The second victim was a woman who seemed to adore Gavin (the only person that could stand him actually). That wrinkle added a great twist.
Some of Charlie’s musings that drew me in…after all, if a mystery includes a reference to Hercule Poirot, why wouldn’t it be a good read?
“I was so caught up in my fantasy of playing Hercule Poirot, bringing all the suspects together in the drawing room for the big revelation scene, that I hadn’t really paid attention to one crucial point that finally forced its way to the forefront of my consciousness.
Well, make that two crucial points.
First, one of the people in my house would be someone who had already killed twice. Someone who might still have cyanide in his or her possession.
Second, that person could easily decide to kill again, and who would be the most likely choice to play the victim?
Hercule, Poirot, that’s who-otherwise know as Charlie Harris.”
The romantic side of the story was sweet and I really liked how Charlie and his lady love’s (Helen Louise) love life progressed. That growth also took into account their individual grown kids and the impending births of grandkids for Charlie.
And let us not forget the interesting relationship Charlie had with Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry and the other members of the local police. I found it refreshing that Charlie respected his place within the hierarchy of people attempting to solve the crime. He definitely kept the local police informed (normally via text) and sought their counsel when necessary.
I cannot recommend this book enough, it was engaging and made me laugh. It had all the requisite components of a good cozy mystery. Now on to read books #1 – 7 of the Cat in the Stacks series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*