When librarian Charlie Harris' daughter is falsely accused of murder, he and his faithful feline Diesel must leap forward to crack the case in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.
Charlie Harris has sworn off investigating murder and mayhem after a recent close call. Instead, he's delighted to cheer on his daughter, Laura, who's starring in a production of Careless Whispers. The theater department at Athena College is debuting the play written by a fledgling playwright with local connections and Charlie's son-in-law, Frank Salisbury, will be calling the directorial shots.
Laura is upset to learn that Luke Lombardi, an overbearing actor she knew from her time in Hollywood will also be taking part in the production as a guest artist. Lombardi arrives with an entourage in tow and promptly proceeds to annoy everyone involved with the production. When he collapses and dies on stage, after drinking from a glass Laura handed him, she becomes the chief suspect in his murder.
Charlie knows his daughter is innocent, and he’s not going to let anyone railroad his little girl. So, despite his intentions to put his amateur sleuthing days behind him, Charlie has to take center stage, and with Diesel’s help, shine a spotlight on the real killer.
After odious Hollywood actor Luke Lombardi is fatally poisoned during a college play in Athena, Miss., there's no shortage of suspects in James's delightful 12th Cat in the Stacks mystery (after 2019's The Pawful Truth). Everybody in Athena, including Laura Salisbury, the play's female lead, thought Luke was obnoxious and unpleasant, but she shouldn't be the prime suspect just because she handed her costar the poisoned drink on stage. Clearly, librarian archivist Charlie Harris, Laura's father, and Laura's husband, Frank Salisbury, along with a few friends, aided and abetted by Charlie's extraordinary Maine coon cat, Diesel, should be able to come up with alternative suspects before Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry decides Laura is the killer. Meanwhile, an impostor needs to be unmasked, and Charlie's romantic partner, Helen Louise Brady, is having her own problems at her restaurant. After a slow start, the action picks up speed and maintains the momentum to the satisfying ending. Cozy fans will have fun spending time with the charming Diesel and company.
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I love this series. They are so entertaining and easy reads. Looking forward to the next step in Charlie, Helen, and Diesel’s next adventures.
A Charming Cozy Mystery!
Careless Whiskers by Miranda James is the twelfth A Cat in the Stacks Mystery. It can be read as a standalone courtesy of the background information provided by the author. Charlie Harris and Diesel are back along with the adorable Ramses. Charlie has sworn off investigating after a close call, but, when his daughter is in the line of fire, he must dive in once again. Luke Lombardi is the guest actor for the performance of Careless Whispers written by a local playwright using the name Finn Zwake. Luke has an ego the size of Texas and an insufferable attitude to go with it. Laura and Luke have a series of altercations during the week of rehearsals with Laura stating more than once that she would “kill” him if he did such a thing again (she was frustrated). When Luke ends up dead on the stage after drinking from the glass handed to him by Laura, she finds herself at the top of the suspect list. Charlie knows his daughter is innocent and begins nosing around searching for answers. There are several suspects from Luke’s paramour to his understudy. I liked following Charlie’s investigation. There are good clues and misdirection to distract readers from the solution. In addition, there is the prankster in the theater and two men who both claim to be the playwright Finn Zwake. I thought Careless Whiskers was well-written with steady pacing. I appreciated the addition of my what my father termed ten dollar words (sangfroid and inamorata are two examples). The words suited the education of the characters. I thought that the characters were developed and realistic. The authors descriptions allowed me to visualize each one especially Finn Zwake with his shaggy mane of red hair and ridiculous mustache. Charlie continues to develop as he grows older. It is nice to see him slowing down at work and enjoying time with his grandchildren. I especially love the scenes with Charlie at home with Diesel and Ramses. I find Diesel’s little chirps and trills delightful. It is cute that Ramses tries to imitate his older brother. I laughed often while reading Careless Whiskers thanks to the abundance of humor. The ending was very special and left me smiling. Careless Whiskers is a diverting cozy mystery with an arrogant actor, a frisky feline, disquieting disputes, a phony playwright, and puzzling pranks.