Booking the Crook
A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #7
By Laurie Cass
Author’s website: catmystery.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
It’s all paws on deck as a librarian and her rescue cat track down a killer in the newest book in the national bestselling Bookmobile Cat mystery series.
Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, cruise around lovely Chilson, Michigan delivering happiness and good reads in their bookmobile. But the feisty librarian is worried that the bookmobile’s future could be uncertain when a new library board chair arrives and doesn’t seem too friendly to her pet project.
Still, she has to put her personal worries aside when she and Eddie are out on their regular route and one of their favorite customers doesn’t turn up to collect her books. Minnie, at Eddie’s prodding, checks on the woman and finds her lying dead in her snow-covered driveway. Now it’s up to Minnie and her friends–feline and otherwise–to find the perpetrator and give them their due. (From Goodreads)
This has been one of my favorite cat cozy mystery series since the first time Eddie said “Mrrr”; I always look forward to Minnie and Eddie’s next adventure. The mystery was hard to solve; I was surprised at who the bad guy/ gal was and why. The characters are well-defined and the kind of people I could enjoy having as neighbors. The setting is also great; I grew up on the opposite side of Michigan and miss it. The author shares just the right amount of info about small-town Midwest living to remind me there is a lot more to Michigan than many imagine. I enjoy descriptions of snow by someone who enjoys it.
Many changes are going on in Minnie’s world. She and Rafe, friends since teenagers, are a happy couple, Aunt Frances and neighbor Otto are getting married, as is best friend Kristen and Scruffy. Frances’ cousin Celeste is purchasing the boardinghouse where Minnie stayed with Frances in winter and boarders would spend summers. Minnie isn’t sure what she will do yet with the houseboat she lives on in summer. Rafe says he will have the home he has been renovating forever done by mid-April when the boardinghouse is emptied out.
Eddie, Tonedagana County’s favorite bookmobile cat and Minnie’s companion, is still the star of the bookmobile and helper in all things mystery. This time he alerts Minnie that something is wrong with her friend, Rowan. Rowan is a loan officer at a local bank and frequently telecommutes. She requested a new stack of books, but wasn’t at her bookmobile stop, which not like her. Having watched her house once when she and her family were out of town, Minnie knows where Rowan lives and, worst case, how to get into her home. She and her assistant, the delightful Julia, drive by Rowan’s home and find her in the driveway in the snow and ice. Unfortunately, she is dead and has been for a while. It wasn’t common knowledge, but Rowan had been treated for a heart problem, so they assumed she had a heart attack while possibly shoveling.
Days later, Detective Hal stops by and tells Minnie that prelim toxicology results were in, and she died from a high dose of stimulants that were not prescribed for her or in her home. Rowan’s twins, home from college, asked Minnie to help find out who killed their mother as they heard she had helped others. Minnie would much rather leave it up to the police and told them so. Eddie, however, has a different idea, and his antics show Minnie why she needs to help out.
As if that isn’t enough, the library may be facing a new shakeup. The long-term president of the library board stepped down and a new president, Trenton Ross, takes his place. The latest new library director begins at the same time, Graydon Cain. Between wanting updated bookmobile policies and asking questions about the staff, Minnie finds that Trent has been asking many questions of patrons and staff about the bookmobile. The thought of losing the bookmobile, Minnie’s favorite part of the job, is too much to consider. Or losing any family-like staff members.
The characters are three-dimensional and well-defined. I especially like Minnie, Frances, and bookmobile assistant Julia. Minnie is gentle, intelligent, hard-working, and makes time for her friends and family. Frances, after running the boarding house for years by herself, is taking her second chance for love. She is calm and wise, usually not giving in to drama or upset. Julia, originally from Chilson, moved back there with her husband when she saw an end coming to her New York theater career. Her sense of humor lightens every day, and she talks with Eddie the same way Minnie does.
Plot twists keep the story moving quickly as suspects are revealed or discarded. There was a limited number of suspects, but at first, they all looked good. Minnie finds something that narrows down the suspects to two. I was surprised and stunned at the revealing of the real bad guy and the resulting drama. The intensity of it reminds me of one of the reasons why I love this series. The ending was more than satisfying, and I highly recommend this cozy mystery! It can be read as a standalone, but be prepared to go back and read the earlier novels!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*