Title: Claws for Concern (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)
Genre: Currently # 594 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Animals
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Source: Berkley and Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
Title and Cover: Claws for Concern – Cover is way too cute cozy typical
OMG, just to look at that beautiful cover you know it’s going to be a cat-lovers kind of novel. Well, I’ve mentioned before that I do love both cats and dogs, though as most of you know, since I have a pretty-extraordinary (cat-sized) dog in the house, my heart is with my adorable puppy.
Still if you lean at all feline, that cover got you. It got me too. And this is the ninth of the series, so you know there are a lot of kitty fans out there, not to mention a NY Times best-selling author. There’s obviously a lot of history here with protagonist Charlie and Diesel, although I’m not sure that the 40 pound Maine Coon isn’t the protagonist. There is definitely some over-the-top anthropomorphizing going on here. A Maine Coon owned my mother and I must admit the cat was definitely a one of a kind kitty. That said…
Some cozy mysteries take their time setting the stage or creating the hook. This one took–oh, about one hundred pages. And, after all, this is the ninth (my first with the series), so who wouldn’t know by this time that Charlie Harris is semi-retired (at a fairly young age, lucky dog–uh–cat) and is a new grandparent. He is sorta in a relationship with Helen Louise. (But if I were Helen Louise, I’d flee.) He owns a home with two boarders and they apparently have domestic help with cooking and cleaning.
As the sub-title indicates, Charlie works (now strictly part-time) at the local library. I had to remind myself first that Charlie was a man (I’ve read two novels recently in which the female protagonist had the same name), as he seemed to have some feminine sensibilities. Also, I was shocked when he professed to be 50-something when I thought he was much older by the way he is portrayed (after all, he’s almost retired). Charlie notices a new patron who eventually asks for help with research.
About the same time, he is contacted by a successful true-crime author who wishes to collaborate on some of the prominent cases in which Charlie has had a hand solving as an amateur sleuth. It turns out that the mysterious patron, Bill Delaney, is a (very) distant cousin, but Charlie learns through Jack Pemberton, the author, that Bill has a heinous history. He and Jack get their heads together to solve the twenty-year-old crime for which Delaney was thought to have committed.
My problem, besides the speed of the plot, was with the minutia, redundancy, over-detailed description of ev-ver-y thing. The cat: information on his litter box and bathroom habits, TMI! A litter box in the storage room at the library? And his sounds–because he’s a Maine Coon–does a lot of warbling, chirping, and thrilling; a cacophony of sounds. But Charlie can’t leave him for a few hours without a cat-sitter? What?! Cats are FAMOUS for being independent–they can be left forever for twice what any dog can–and if left with a water bowl and cat box, days even.
The despot is discerned fairly early on–no surprise there. But I kept thinking–cat hair–in the car, on the sofa, all over the new grandson. I know kitty-lovers enjoy this series, the author has obviously made a success of the premise, and libraries seem to be a hotbed of intrigue. I won this book (and it’s a beautiful hardcover edition) from DollyCas (THANK YOU!) and really appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I know many readers would enjoy the antics of the kitty and the storyline led to a satisfying conclusion. Recommended for those who don’t mind all the fur.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon Author page) (Miranda James) I am a native of Mississippi and recently returned to live in Jackson after spending thirty-three years in Houston, Texas. I have loved mysteries since I discovered Nancy Drew at the age of ten. At twelve or thirteen I wrote a mystery and even submitted it to a publisher — and promptly received a form rejection letter. That dashed my hopes for a writing career for a while, but I went back to writing mysteries while I was in graduate school in Rice. My first published adult mystery was actually the second one I wrote: CRUEL AS THE GRAVE was published in 2000.
Since then I have published twenty additional mysteries, the latest of which is ARSENIC AND OLD BOOKS, the sixth in the Cat in the Stacks series. In my day-to-day life I am a librarian like Charlie (except my specialty is medical libraries) and I have two cats, neither of whom is a Maine Coon. I love reading and writing mysteries and taking care of two spoiled cats (that’s probably redundant–all cats are spoiled because they generally accept no less). I write mysteries to entertain readers and help them relax and get away from the pressures of daily life. That’s why I read them myself. ©2018 V Williams