The Crime that Binds

Bookmobile Cat Mystery #10

By Laurie Cass

ISBN  9780593197738

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie


Librarian Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, are ready to pin down a bank robber in the newest installment of the delightful Bookmobile Cat mystery series.

Late March is prime reading weather in the small northern Michigan town of Chilson. Though snowfall and cloudy skies deter outdoor activities, life inside the bookmobile is warm and cheerful. As Minnie and Eddie make the rounds to deliver comforting reads, Minnie witnesses bookmobile patron Ryan Anderson speeding away. When Minnie discovers the police want to bring him in for questioning about a bank robbery and the murder of a security guard, she realizes she’s one of the only people who thinks Ryan isn’t morally bankrupt.

When an additional murder victim is discovered, the police immediately suspect her patron, but Minnie isn’t convinced. And when she encounters Ryan hiding from the police, she decides to help him by investigating the crimes. But with multiple crimes comes the potential for multiple criminals, so Minnie and Eddie will have to fight tooth and claw to prove his innocence.


I am always excited to hear when a new cozy in this series is forthcoming, as it has been a favorite for a long time. I enjoy reading about libraries, especially from the point of view of a librarian, and this series has taught me much about bookmobiles. The characters are very likable and engaging. Eddie, the cat, is a pure delight, “…so unlike all other cats I’d met, I was half convinced he was his own species”. The mystery kept me guessing throughout, with the bad guy as elusive as daffodils in Michigan before April.

Overall, Minnie’s life is the best it has ever been. A fiancé she is in love with, a job she is delighted with, and a cat she adores. Changes continue to present themselves, one being more stops and hours added to the bookmobile schedule. Minnie hired a second part-time clerk, one who can also drive the bookmobile. She will remain the primary driver of her beloved library on wheels but having another person who can drive it would be helpful, especially if she wants a honeymoon after her upcoming wedding.

Her outspoken tabby cat, Eddie, is part of the charm of the bookmobile. He stowed away on the maiden voyage of the bookmobile, and some of the patrons loved him so much that Minnie had to smuggle him on board ever since while keeping Eddie a secret from the former library director. Eddie assisted Minnie with other challenges, such as when she found people who had been murdered and helped find the bad guys to clear those she cared. Eddie is a great sounding board and often found a way to be present when Minnie was ready to drop the net on a killer.

Minnie and her new clerk, Hunter, were at a stop at the end of March when one of her regular patrons returned from downstate early. Pug and his wife were going to move to live year-round within the next couple months. Pug came to town to take care of some things and stopped for books. Ryan, a voracious reader and bookmobile patron, has been like a younger brother to Minnie. While Ryan was there, he got a text that had him speeding away from the bookmobile with no explanation. Later they learned he was accused of robbing a bank downstate and killing a security guard, with his driver’s license left behind. A few days later, Pug was murdered by someone at his home. Since Ryan was on the run, police thought he must have killed Pug, too.

Minnie wasn’t looking for Ryan when she ran in to him; he was hiding because he didn’t do the things of which he was accused. His explanations sounded reasonable, and she wants to help Ryan as she is one of the few who believes he is innocent. She can’t do anything about the accusations from downstate, but she might be able to find who killed Pug. If so, he will at least be cleared of one murder.

The author is excellent at defining the characters. They are well developed and shown realistically through their conversations and behaviors. I enjoy Minnie the most, especially since we are privy to her thoughts and dreams, including her feelings about her work in the library or the bookmobile, her loyalty to her coworkers and friends, and her desire to help others. I also like her fiancé, Rafe; even though it took a while for me to warm up to him, he is the perfect guy for our adventurous librarian.

The setting of this novel, both the geographic location and the individual places throughout, are planned and described well. Minnie pulls no punches about the many things she is happy about and the things that are less endearing, such one particularly disagreeable suspect. The mystery is presented with a minimum of unpleasant details while being very clear about why Minnie suspects certain people. Plot twists built the suspense to a frightening height until I was almost certain that all was lost. I was very surprised at who killed Pug and why and was very happy with the overall resolutions. I highly recommend this novel and series!