Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 294pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Miranda James (Dean James) on the WEB: website, facebook
Books in the Series: Murder Past Due (2010), Classified as Murder (2011), File M for Murder (2012)
CoverArt: Click the picture for a larger, clearer image of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from File M for Murder
Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the good-natured librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie's returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but his daughter's unexpected visit may take them all for a walk... straight into trouble!
Athena College's new writer-in-residence is a famous native son, playwright Connor Lawton, known for his sharp writing - and sharper tongue. After an unpleasant encounter, librarian Charlie Harris heads home to a nice surprise: his daughter, Laura, is visiting and will be subbing for another professor this fall semester. It's great news until he hears who got her the job: her old flame, Connor Lawton...
Fearing competition for Connor's affections, one of his admirers tries to drive Laura out of town. And then, before Connor finishes the play he is writing, he is murdered - and Laura is the prime suspect. Knowing she's innocent, Charlie and his faithful sidekick, Diesel, follow Connor's cluttered trail of angry lovers, bitter enemies, and intriguing library research to find the true killer before his daughter is forever cataloged under "M" - for murderer.
Author Miranda James thrills readers with the latest in the Cat in the Stacks series, File M for Murder. James creates an amazing family dynamic that is the star of the show in this book, along with Diesel the Maine Coon cat. The characters are compelling and easy to identify with. The plot is engaging and full of twists, turns and red herrings. James has winner with this one, readers won't want to miss it.
This is the third book in the Cat in the Stacks series and if readers have yet to read about Diesel, they are really missing out. I'm not sure why the author chose to use a Maine Coon cat as the sidekick in this series but it really works. The relationship between Diesel and Charlie is heartwarming. Charlie obviously loves Diesel and wants him with him all the time. I'm not a cat person but I enjoy this series a lot and think that Diesel is a great part of it. He doesn't haven supernatural powers or anything like that and that makes him all the more endearing.
Charlie, Sean and now Laura interact in such a way that the reader can't help but love the family dynamic. Charlie and Sean have had their problems, but Laura is still daddy's little girl and Charlie gets to play the hero in this book, helping to prove Laura's innocence when she is accused of murdering a former lover. I also enjoyed the banter between the siblings and the other boarders at Charlie's house. Justin and Stewart are a hoot, but the real genius of this book lies in the every day happenings within this crime solving family. They play off each other and harmonize as they go about their lives. Fun stuff.
I think James has a knack for plotting though. She must be like a chess player that can think three to five moves ahead, because she is a master at allowing the events in the story to flow easily and come across as authentic and believable. It's definitely plausible that an ex-girlfriend could possibly commit the murder, but Charlie and Diesel quickly show that their are a host of other suspects. James throws in a few twists and turns to keep the reader off balance and some dead ends for red herring fans. It's an amazing ride and I think fans of James will love it.
This book can be read as a seperate, but try to pick up the first two as well. You'll learn a lot about Charlies motivations to return to Athena and how he and Diesel have progressed through the series. The back story isn't essential to understanding the book, but it certainly amps up the energy. I recommend this one to cozy fans who are also cat lovers or who like a lot of personal relationships and happenings in their cozies. Well done!
File M for Murder is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 of 5 apples from my book bag!
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of File M for Murder by Miranda James.
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