Blurb: In Athena, Mississippi, librarian Charlie Harris is known for his good nature—and for his Maine coon cat Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but taking the plunge into a recent acquisition will have him in over his head…
Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, has donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the archives of Athena College. The books were recently discovered among the personal effects of an ancestor of Mrs. Long’s husband. The mayor would like Charlie to preserve and to substantiate them as a part of the Long family legacy—something that could benefit her son, Beck, as he prepares to campaign for the state senate.
Beck’s biggest rival is Jasper Singletary. His Southern roots are as deep as Beck’s, and their families have been bitter enemies since the Civil War. Jasper claims the Long clan has a history of underhanded behavior at the expense of the Singletarys. He’d like to get a look at the diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family’s past sins. Meanwhile, a history professor at the college is also determined to get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure. But their interest suddenly turns deadly…
Now Charlie is left with a catalog of questions. The diaries seem worth killing for, and one thing is certain: Charlie will need to be careful, because the more he reads, the closer he could be coming to his final chapter…
"Can you help me read Diesel's latest adventure, Mommy? I just love him!" --Truffles
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!
How much trouble can a set of four Civil War era diaries cause? Quite a lot! Charlie and Diesel's 6th adventure - their 1st in hardcover - begins when Athena's Mayor Long donates the family diaries to the archives of Athena College hoping they will benefit her son Beck's state senate campaign. Before Charlie knows it people are practically lined up ouside his door wanting to get their hands on the diaries, including a history professor desperate for tenure and Beck's political rival Jasper Singletary who thinks the diaries contain evidence of wrongs the Mayor's family perpetrated upon his 150 years ago. It contains scandalous information - but not what anyone expected - and before long the diaries are stolen, the professor is dead, and everyone is a suspect.
This book is a fast and fun read. What I enjoyed most was the "mystery within the mystery" of what transpired between the Long and Singletary families during those awful days of the Civil War. I found the diary entries to be riveting and the entire mystery compelling. The only thing missing was a "big reveal," just a brief explanation of what transpired.
For those of us who have followed Charlie and Diesel from the very 1st Cat in the Stacks mystery, this book contains an extra treat - the short story "When Charlie Met Diesel". Here's hoping these two have many, many more adventures yet to come!
Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, February 9th, for your chance to win a hardcover copy of Arsenic and Old Books. (US entries only, please.)