Date published: January 29, 2013ISBN: 978-0425257272
Genre: cozy mystery
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
The holidays are approaching and librarian Charlie Harris is pleased that his two children, Sean and Laura are with him and all is well. Adding to his household are still his boarders, college student Justin and instructor, Stuart Delacorte along with pets Diesel and Dante. Charlie’s relationship with long time friend, Helen Louise, is moving along. They are seeing more of each other and their relationship is blooming as is Sean’s with lawyer Alexandra Pendergast and Laura’s with theatre instructor, Frank. Charlie has also taken on some new responsibilities by joining the Friends of the Library and is participating in their upcoming fundraising gala.
But the Friends aren’t all quite friends. Upstart diva Vera Cassity is once again vying to have the gala at her house while the Ducote sisters, An’gel and Dickce, are determined to one again hold it at theirs. After all, the Ducote family and it’s mansion date back to the original founding of Athena whereas Vera’s family is new money. When a vote is taken the Ducotes once again win as the venue for the gala. So sure of themselves they already sent out the invitations before the meeting that night at Charlie’s.
Vera isn’t about to give up so easily—she first approaches Charlie as keeper of the rare books and papers of the library and asks to see the Ducote family papers. When Charlie refuses she takes a different tack and threatens Charlie’s lady, Helen Louise. Make no mistake though, Helen Louise can hold her own. Vera seems to lay low as the night of the gala approaches, the theme for this year which is dressing up as your favourite character. Charlie and his clan go as their favourite detectives but Vera appears as Scarlett O’Hara—a rather elderly Scarlett. During the course of the gala the Ducote sisters present quite an award to Vera—but is it an award she would truly like to have? Before anyone can find out Vera turns up dead with one of the last people you would expect standing over the body. Is Vera’s death an accident or did one of the characters do her in?
I have totally enjoyed Miranda James’s Cat in the Stack’s mystery series and OUT OF CIRCULATION has to be the best one yet. The first three books in the series, MURDER OVER DUE, CLASSIFIED AS MURDER and FILE M FOR MURDER, gradually add the characters and their romantic partners in each story. It is a nicely done progression so the reader isn’t overwhelmed meeting too many people all at one time. In OUT OF CIRCULATION we meet a few more characters such as Azalea’s sister Lily and the relationships between the principals grow and develop at a believable pace. Charlie’s moving along and out of his widowhood is well done as well.
Of course the real hero and main character of the series is Charlie’s Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Miranda James so completely captures the nuances of a cat’s personality you feel like Diesel has become part of your life as well.
The mysteries, especially in this one, keep you guessing until the very end. There’s a good reason why each of the suspects could be the one. Even when you don’t want that particular character to be guilty there’s a good chance he or she could be the culprit. And the twists in what the witnesses see are complete surprises.
Each book is a standalone and you do not need to read the earlier ones to delve into any particular book. This is due in part to how well Miranda James tells the reader the backstory behind each particular character. That said, you don’t want to miss any of them. Even if you aren’t a cat person, like Azalea, you may well find yourself warming up to Diesel before you know it. And if you are a cat person you will smile and nod that yes, this is exactly what your cat would do.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.