The Pawful Truth
Cat in the Stacks Mystery, Book #11
By Miranda James
Author Website: catinthestacks(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
In addition to his library duties and his role as doting grandad, Charlie has enrolled in an early medieval history course offered by young, charismatic professor Carey Warriner. Charlie feels a bit out of place- his fellow classmates are half his age- except for Dixie Bell Compton, another ‘mature’ student. When Charlie hears an angry exchange between her and their professor, his interest in piqued. He’s even more intrigued when she shows up at his office asking for a study partner. Charlie turns her down and is saddened to learn just a few days later that Dixie has been killed.
Charlie wonders if Professor Warriner had anything to do with Dixie’s death. Warriner is married to a fellow professor who happens to be a successful author. There are rumors on campus that their marriage was on the rocks. Was Dixie’s death the result of a lovers’ triangle gone bad? Charlie soon discovers that the professor’s wife may have some secrets of her own and his suspect list is only getting longer.
As he and Diesel step further into the tangled web of relationships, someone else is viciously killed. Whose jealousy finally erupted into murderous rage? Was it a crime of passion or is there another more sinister motive? Charlie races to unravel this mystery: and to draw out the culprit, he may just have to put his own life on the line… (Goodreads)
In The Pawful Truth, the eleventh entry in the Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series, readers once again find the affable librarian Charlie on the case when a fellow student in the class he is auditing is murdered. The story is full of Southern charm, one of the best animal sidekicks in the cozy genre, and a soap opera worthy mystery.
This series has always received high marks from me, and The Pawful Truth does not disappoint. One can always count on James’s writing to be consistent, genteel, and charming, and here is no exception. Charlie enrolls in a medieval history class at the college where he works and quickly sees the appeal of his professor Carey Warriner who is handsome, charismatic, and an outstanding lecturer. He cannot help but overhear fellow student Dixie Belle’s unpleasant exchange with the professor after class, and when she is found murdered shortly after, Charlie’s natural curiosity is peaked. What unfolds is an investigation full of juicy gossip and potential love triangles. When a second person dies, tensions rise and danger hits way too close to home.
My favorite thing about this series is the recurring characters, and just about everyone makes an appearance this time around. There are plenty of grandchildren and children, friends, boarders, and pets to keep the tale grounded, but the focus always remains on the murder mystery. All of the romance rumors are a bit salacious and immature for my taste, but they are the backbone of the mystery. Everything stems from deception, jealousy, and greed. I did guess the killer’s identity somewhat early on, but this did not take away from my reading satisfaction. If anything, suspecting whodunit made me anxious for Charlie’s safety. I like that deputy Kanesha actively seeks out Charlie’s help this time around instead of working against him. Charlie does put himself recklessly in danger’s path, and I feel this is a bit out of character.
Of course, I must mention Charlie’s Maine Coon cat Diesel. He is the star of the series, and I adore him. He is the perfect babysitter, companion, sounding board, and investigative partner. Always pay attention to how he treats people involved in these mysteries.
The Pawful Truth is the quintessential cozy mystery, and I hope there are many, many more adventures with Charlie and Diesel. Highly recommended.