Cat Me If You Can
Cat in the Stacks Mystery #13
By Miranda James
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Charlie Harris and his feline companion Diesel take a bookish vacation but discover that murder never takes a holiday, in this all-new installment of the New York Times bestselling series.
Charlie and Diesel along with Charlie’s fiancée, Helen Louise Brady, are heading to Asheville, North Carolina to spend a week at a boutique hotel and participate in a gathering of a mystery reader’s club composed of patrons of the Athena Public Library. In addition to seeing the local sights, the members will take turns giving talks on their favorite authors.
The always spry Ducote sisters, friends of the hotel’s owners, are helping underwrite the expenses, and they’ve insisted that Charlie, Helen, and Diesel join them. Anxious to get Helen Louise away from her bistro for a vacation, Charlie readily agrees. While Charlie is looking forward to relaxing with Helen Louise and Diesel, other members of the group have ulterior motives including a long-standing score to settle.
When an intrusive, uninvited guest turns up dead, only one mystery club member with a connection to the deceased appears to have a motive to kill. But could the answer really be that simple? Charlie and Diesel, along with the detecting Ducote sisters, know that every murder plot has an unexpected twist. (from Goodreads)
It was pure delight to join Charlie, his fiancée Helen Louise, and his beloved Maine Coon cat companion, Diesel, on their bookish trip to Asheville, NC! The Ducote sisters, An’gel and Dickce, set up the Athena Public Library mystery club members for this week away to get to know each other better in a relaxed setting and discuss the Golden Age of mysteries. The sisters reserved the Hindman Hotel, from where they also hope to see some tourist attractions, including the Biltmore. An’gel ensured that Charlie could bring Diesel, as he rarely goes anywhere without him. The mystery kept me guessing and is, as are the other novels in the series, is written with excellence.
Charlie Harris, whose career has spanned years in a public library in Houston and now in his hometown of Athena, Mississippi at Athena College, is a wordsmith, expert now as an archivist and rare book cataloger. He also loves mysteries and has often been involved with helping solve murders in Athena. Well, with the help of Diesel, a fine, handsome Maine Coon, who walks on a leash while wearing a harness. He and Helen Louise are a perfect match in many ways. She doesn’t like Charlie risking his safety when looking at potential murder suspects, yet she isn’t going to stop him. She loves Diesel almost as much as Charlie does, and Diesel clearly adores her.
When they are leaving for dinner, they see Denis trying to check in, the guy that one of the club members, Ellie, is dating. He claims that he is her fiancé, which is news to Charlie and Helen Louise. After dinner, Denis came in the meeting and threatened Zac, a younger man who has been a member of the group for a short time. Zac returned the threat, another man punched Denis, then Ellie led Denis away. The next morning, Cora, one of the housekeepers, found Denis dead in his room. The group is shocked, and assume that even though he is relatively young, he has health concerns that may have caused his death. After all, they couldn’t be out of town for the week only to have someone be murdered at the hotel!
Or could they? Stranger things have happened and still do. The next morning, Cora, the housekeeper, is found dead in their meeting room by Charlie and Helen Louise. Cora was murdered, stabbed in the heart with a valuable hatpin that she claimed to have lost the day before. Later, they learn that Denis was murdered. This week is not simply about the Golden Age of mysteries. The group gathered seem to be living some of the primary elements common to mysteries written in the Golden Age.
The author gifts us with a unique gathering of engaging friends and mystery lovers! Each are defined as necessary according to their roles. Helen Louise and Charlie are perfect for each other; it will be fun to watch them going forward with their lives together. Since we aren’t in Athena this time, we don’t see Charlie’s adult children, but part of Athena is there in person with Diesel and the couple.
This novel could be read as a standalone, as the author gives sufficient background. However, one will probably enjoy this so much that going back to read the earlier mysteries will follow; I have appreciated this series for several years. Plot twists and turns kept me on my toes, and I was unable to figure out who the real culprit could be. I was quite surprised with the resolution, and very satisfied with it, regretting only that it will be a while before the next one is released! I highly recommend Cat Me If You Can!