Meows from Mudpie!
Today we have Tortie Shorties reviews of two books that will be hitting store shelves next Tuesday, February 23rd. We recommend that you pre-order both of them today!
As annoying as a long-overdue book, Reilly quickly raises the hackles of everyone on staff, including Charlie’s fiery friend Melba—whom Reilly wants to replace with someone younger. But his biggest offense is declaring all four-legged creatures banned from the stacks.
With enemies aplenty, the suspect list is long when Reilly's body is discovered in the library. But things take a turn for the worse when a threatening e-mail throws suspicion on Melba.
Charlie is convinced that his friend is no murderer, especially when he catches sight of a menacing stranger lurking around the library. Now he and Diesel will have to read between the lines, before Melba is shelved under “G” for guilty…
Tortie Shorties Review: I don't read a lot of books where a man is the protagonist, but Charlie Harris of Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks Mystery series is something special. Over the course of this series I've watched Charlie grow from a lonely librarian to a beloved member of the genteel town of Athena, surrounded by family and friends - and a very special cat, Diesel.
In this 7th book in the series Athena College's library is in turmoil over the new interim library director, Oscar Reilly. He's managed to get on everyone's bad side since taking over the position after his predecessor mysteriously disappeared following some financial funny business. When Oscar announces that Diesel is no longer welcome at the library due to his allergy (which no one has seen evidence of), Charlie is ready to quit his job rather than leave his beloved feline at home. Then Oscar is found dead in a rather gruesome matter in the library storage room and Charlie's dear friend Melba is framed, plunging him into yet another mystery. When he starts delving deeper into the library's finances he uncovers a grisly secret he never expected (and that I should have seen coming but never did!)
Unlike many cat cozies, Charlie and Diesel aren't a crime-solving team. Diesel has no special powers that enable him to help solve the mystery. He's simply Charlie's best friend and companion with kitty quirks that we all witness in our own beloved pets...and that's exactly what makes their relationship (and this series) so special.
Nothing's colder than a corpse--especially one stashed inside a sub-zero fridge. The victim spent his last night on earth dining at the restaurant bar, so naturally Julia finds herself at the center of the ensuing investigation. Lost in the November fog, however, is who'd want to kill the unidentified stranger--and why. It might have something to do with a suspicious group of retirees and a decades-old tragedy to which they're all connected. One thing's for sure: Julia's going to make solving this mystery her early bird special…
Tortie Shorties Review: Even if you haven't read the first three books in the Maine Clambake mystery series, take my advice and pick this one up *now*.
The book starts off with a bang as Julia and her boyfriend Chris are awakened by their landlord and restaurant owner Gus, who has just stumbled upon a dead body in the walk-in freezer. They have no idea who the victim was, but do remember that he dined at the restaurant the previous night, along with four other local couples. (It had been the Monday night following the Thanksgiving weekend, the weather was bad, so the restaurant was quiet.) Through a series of flashbacks we relive that fateful night as the diners were all trapped at the restaurant when a car accident blocked the road and they're forced to wait for it to reopen. When Julia starts questioning each couple she discovers that each one had a gift certificate that expired that particular night, and per Maine law, they were not issued with an expiration date. Each person at the restaurant that night was lured there for a particular reason...but what was it and what did it have to do with the mysterious dead man?
I became so emotionally invested in the lives of the four couples that star in Fogged Inn as Julia uncovers a tragic past they all share that culminated on a New Years Eve forty years ago. They became real to me and I came to care about them deeply. I hated the thought that any one of them was a killer, and was positively stunned by the outcome. I simply could not turn the pages fast enough.
Fogged Inn is more than a cozy mystery, it's a meticulously crafted novel with a cast of compelling suspects that (in my eyes) ended up overshadowing the series' regulars. That's pretty rare in the character-driven cozy genre!