Checking Out Crime
A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #9
By Laurie Cass
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Librarian Minnie Hamilton and her clever cat Eddie solve a purr-fect murder, in the newest installment of the delightful Bookmobile Cat Mystery series.
Minnie and her rescue cat Eddie can often be found out and about in their bookmobile near Chilson, Michigan, delivering great reads to grateful patrons all over the county. But they always brake for trouble, and when Minnie sees a car speeding away down the road, and soon comes upon a dead bicyclist, she assumes she just missed seeing a hit-and-run.
Minnie is determined to discover who was behind the wheel, but it soon turns out that things are far more complicated than they seem and there’s more to this case than meets the eye. Luckily, this librarian is ready to read the killer his rights.
This series has captivated me since the first mystery, Lending a Paw. Checking Out Crime is another exciting novel with the very likable Minnie and her best buddy, Eddie, the gorgeous cat that adopted her when she moved to Chilson. It is a delight to learn more about Minnie and her friends who the author brings to life in the early autumn days of northern Michigan. I also enjoyed Minnie’s new friend, who I hope will be a very welcome addition in future mysteries. This mystery has numerous twists and turns that kept me actively engaged throughout.
Minnie has been the assistant librarian in Chilson for about three years. One of her accomplishments has been successfully getting a bookmobile that reaches people in the county who have few opportunities to come into town. It is also the part of her job that she loves the best. Eddie has been a regular on the bookmobile since stowing away on the maiden trip; enough children and adults have loved the feisty feline that the library sees how valuable he is.
Minnie and Julia are returning late from a bookmobile run and meeting. First, a speeding car almost sideswipes the bookmobile, requiring every skill Minnie has to keep it on the narrow road. Moments later, Minnie had to suddenly brake, not an easy fete either, but a man wearing bicycling attire was lying in the road and she didn’t want to hurt him. The wheels stopped two feet from the man, who had no signs of life. Minnie performed CPR until the EMTs arrived, but it was too late. When Eddie escaped from the bookmobile and ran into the woods, he led them to a bicycle that probably belonged to the dead man. They assumed at first that the man had a heart attack. The actual cause of death, however, was a fractured skull. Brown, a recent retiree, had been murdered. When another bicyclist was found dead, it quickly becomes one of the most complex crimes Minnie felt compelled to solve.
The characters couldn’t be improved on if one tried. Minnie is a pure delight; she is someone I would enjoy having as a friend. Her conversations with Eddie are fun to hear and reminiscent of some I have with my cats, even if his response is usually limited to mrr. In the absence of another human, Eddie provides a sounding board, who doesn’t hesitate to remind her who the superior being is. Him. I adore Eddie, without whom the series would just not be the same. Minnie rolls with the changes she is presented with and is very personable and intelligent. Her friends and beloved Aunt Frances are also defined as well as needed for their roles. I especially enjoyed meeting Tabitha this time, and hope we see more of her in the future!
For anyone who hasn’t read the series in order, the author provides sufficient backstories on Minnie and other characters. There is a perfect balance between the mystery, Eddie, and Minnie’s work and relationships. The mystery is finely plotted and executed with excellence. Plot twists lend a complexity that made the novel even more enjoyable, and Minnie’s collaboration with her “new” aunt brought another intelligent and fun person to the mix. This is one of the few times that I did figure out the solution before Minnie. Overall, I was very satisfied with the ending, and am looking forward to the next in series. I highly recommend this mystery and series!