Murder Past Due is the first in the new A Cat in the Stacks series by Miranda James. Set in Athena, Mississippi, it features librarian Charlie Harris and a very unique rescued Maine Coon cat named Diesel who, among other things, walks on a leash.
When bestselling crime fiction author and former classmate of Charlie’s, Godfrey Priest, returns to Athena to promote his latest book and make a bequest to his school library, Charlie is less than thrilled. He remembers Priest as being an arrogant, manipulative jerk, and he’s not the only one. Priest’s homecoming causes quite a stir in the small Southern town: by lunchtime, Priest has put a man in the hospital, and by dinnertime, he is dead. Since it seems as though every last one of Charlie’s friends and coworkers was connected to the murder victim, Charlie gets involved in the investigation into Priest’s murder.
I was drawn to this book by the irresistible cover, and I wasn’t disappointed. This was an entertaining, well-crafted mystery with a likeable hero and interesting secondary characters, but what really makes this book is Diesel. I feel in love with the big cat from the beginning. What’s not to love! Diesel is friendly, loves attention, walks on a leash, and warbles and chirps rather than meows. And best of all, Diesel is all cat. He doesn’t talk, he doesn’t help solve the murder, he’s just a thoroughly lovable feline who is central to the story. I’m looking forward to the next in this series.
Miranda James is a pseudonym for author Dean James, who also writes under the names of Honor Hartman and Jimmie Ruth Evans.