What the Cat Dragged In
Cat in the Stacks #14
By Miranda James
Author’s website: catinthestacks.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
When Charlie inherits a house from his grandfather, he and his cat Diesel discover some old bones that lead to a shocking new mystery in this latest installment in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks Mysteries.
Getting to read a new Cat in the Stacks mystery is like having ice cream instead of the veggies! Visiting Charlie, Diesel, and Ramses is as satisfying as going to an old friend’s home. Yes, it is one of my favorite series! Charlie is one of the kindest men in cozy mysteries. Between him, his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, and help from friends who are lifelong residents of Athena, Mississippi, there are few mysteries they cannot solve. I enjoyed seeing Ramses, the rambunctious orange tabby kitten again! I also enjoy looking up words I am unfamiliar with.
Charlie, a middle-aged widower, inherited the home he lives in from his Aunt Dottie. He had worked long enough in Houston to have a nice pension, so he returned home to Athena to live. He and Diesel are very well known around town, as one rarely sees Charlie without Diesel. Diesel loves car rides, walks, and going anywhere his human does, including to his part-time job at the college.
Sean, Charlie’s son and attorney, told Charlie that he inherited his grandparents’ home, which he thought was sold long ago. He was young when they passed, so he was unaware that his grandfather leased the home and farmland, which had been in the family since pre-Civil War years, to a man who used to work for him. Martin Hale rented it for the grand sum of $50 a month and paying the property taxes. In turn, Martin leased most of the farmland to two nearby farmers. Per the terms of the will, the property reverts to the possession of his grandparents’ heir when Hale passes, so Charlie is now the owner of a vast property that several people are interested in.
Mr. Hale died at his family’s place in California, and his grandson, under the impression he owned the property, came to sell it. When Charlie learned it was his, he and Diesel went to see it. Diesel went exploring and found a skull outside of a wardrobe in the attic. Charlie went to look at it, and in the wardrobe, found a pile of bones. Real, human bones and a real, human skull.
In the meantime, Martin’s grandson Marty is telling people that Charlie is trying to steal the property from him and has been in touch with a real estate developer. Before Charlie could meet Marty, he was found murdered at the edge of the property. Charlie has helped solve several murders since returning to Athena, but Kanesha, the chief deputy, always makes it clear she doesn’t require his help. This is now Charlie’s property, and he is curious about who the bones belong to and who put them in the attic, so it is hard to let the sheriff’s office take charge of it.
My favorite characters, of course, are Charlie and Diesel. There is always something new and fun to learn about them. Each person is very well-defined and for the newcomer to the series, and there is sufficient information for every reader to be familiar with everyone. The author knows cats very well, as evidenced by the unique purr-sonalities of Diesel and Ramses, especially traits typical to Diesel’s breed. I appreciate the cat care and/ or feeding facts that might be added in.
The mystery is complex and difficult to solve. One of Charlie’s concerns is making sure that his grandfather’s name is kept clear from any accusations of being associated with the set of bones. There were three potential victims, wives who disappeared after Hale began to lease the property, which multiply the suspects. I am very impressed with how the author planned and executed this meaty mystery and was unable to solve it, had not even anticipated some of the surprises at the end! I highly recommend this mystery and series; for cat- and book-loving readers, this is a fabulous find!