Saturday, August 8, 2015

Book Review: Murder Past Due by Miranda James

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first book in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series by Miranda James.  The cat, Diesel, is just a cat.  No talking, no leading to clues.  Just a very big, very tuned in cat.  Something like a Therapy Cat.    I started reading this book using the Nook app on my cell phone - my book on the go.  The great thing is that even with a week or two in between, I could pick right back up where I left off...nothing was lost.  But, as I got further into the book, I took it out of the on-the-go-category and just finished it off.

This series is set in Athena, MS.  I grew up in the South and tend to gravitate toward cozy’s set in the South.  While this is set in Mississippi, it’s the small town vibe that is appealing.  That and it’s a university town.  Charlie is a widower, who rents out a room in his house to a University student, Justin.  He also works in the University archives and volunteers at the public library.  Originally from Athena, he returned after his wife passed away.  So, he knows a lot of people in town.

A well known author comes to town and winds up getting murdered.  He’s not very well liked and had affairs with various women when he would come in to town.  Charlie and Justin find the body.  Without giving too much away, Justin is a suspect as is his mother and father.  In addition to these two, Charlie learns there were several other people who could have had motive to kill him. Clues were liberally spread throughout, yet I didn’t figure out who it was until the end.  And, there were a couple of small twists that added to the story.  I figured out a couple of plot points right before they were revealed, but I never figured out who the killer was.  In fact, I was kind of sad when the killer was revealed.

While I love the cat, I thought it a little odd that a man in his 50’s toted his cat everywhere, including work.  While many libraries have a cat, most places do not allow people to bring their pets to work.  Or to the book store, etc.  Then, there was the Deputy Sheriff investigating the murder.  I liked her and think she has potential.  However, I found her attitude toward Charlie a bit off-putting and at times a bit over the top.  In the end, it wasn’t quite as antagonistic, but still not great.  I’m hoping it improves in future books.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading other books in this series.  Recommended.

A little aside for another series by this author, set in the same town, the Southern Sisters series.  A preview was included in my book, however, the spellings of the names are probably enough to keep me from reading it.  One sister is name Dickse.  Really?  It’s spelled Dixie.  Why spell it like this? Especially for a book set in the South. The other sister is name An’gel.  Why?  Why write a book where I have to figure how to say a name and where I’ll probably always stumble over it?