Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review and Giveaway: File M for Murder

File M for Murder (Cat in the Stacks - Book 3) by Miranda James

Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 294pp
ISBN-13: 978-0425246184
ISBN: 0425246183

(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. 

~ You must be a GFC follower or an E-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST February 16th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation of the author on THIS post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Tea said...

I'm definitely a follower. Your blog looks like I've entered a magical, fantasy world filled with the wonder of children. While reading about the cozy and the author, I had to laugh. The Maine Coon hat is named Diesel. I just finished reading Visions of Sugar Plums by Evanovich. This guy appears in Stephanie's life. His name is Diesel. What a coincidence! Thanks for entering me.

Book Loving Mommy said...

I love cozy mysteries and cats so this sounds great to me! I can picture this man walking his cat to the library! Great review :)

cyn209 said...

yays!! can't wait tor ead this one!!!

thanx for the giveaway!!!!!

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a very interesting story. One that I would love to read.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

This book sounds good. Thanks for the giveaway.

Stacie said...

This series sounds like fun. It's nice to see a leading male sleuth in a cozy. Look forward to reading this series. Thanks for the giveaway!


lag123 said...

I love this review! I must read this series!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I would love to read this book.

Karen B said...

I haven't read any of this series but have been reading such great reviews about it! All 3 books now on my wish list.

In Julie's Opinion said...

I LOVE this series!! It's so much fun! Thanks so much for the interview and the chance to win a copy of the third book in the series to add to my collection :)

mamabunny13 said...

Cats and Cozies...What's not to like!

Sue Farrell said...

I like the idea of a male sleuth--and cats are perfect in cozies. I must find this series at the book store. Thanks for the contest.

Martha Lawson said...

A new to me author and a fellow Mississippian! I love that the books are set in Miss. and that main character is a librarian. I live in Miss. and am a librarian. Your books are going on the to buy list, they sound really great!

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

My Recent Favorite Books said...

This series looks very interesting to me! I have the first two sitting on my tbr shelf, that Im planning on reading very soon!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Theresa N. said...

Sounds like a great series, I'd love to read.
Theresa N

Renee said...

I love a good cozy mystery and this one definitely sounds good!

Carol N Wong said...

Maine coons are great lap sitters! They make you warm and you can't see your lap any more! Sounds like a great cozy series and would love to read the whole series.


Mary (mkdmom) said...

I've never been a cat lover, but now that I have a new "grandkitty" I guess that's going to change. This looks like a fun read to introduce to liking cats more.

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf said...

I love anything with cats!

catslady said...

I've not heard of this series but I would want to read it from the cover alone (rare for me). These sound like something I would really enjoy.


Carol M said...

I enjoy cozies and this sounds like a good one!