Friday, March 28, 2014

File M for Murder by Miranda James - Perfect for a Whodunit Weekend! Celebrate Big Cats, Especially Maine Coons!

 Charlie Harris in
 Athena, Mississippi takes Diesel, his rescued Maine coon everywhere. Since he's a loving cat, but does not participate in the mystery solving, I thought readers could get to know about him...
He's big and most people take a second glance to ensure it's a cat! But when I went hunting for pictures, there were others out there on the internet who thought they could compete in size! So while I tell you about the great mystery I recommend you get for the weekend, I'll be adding pics of the competitors...I'm not sure what breed some of these are--these on the leashes are examples of what I thought Coons normally looked like...Maybe some cat experts will add some comments to help???!!!

If I have a favorite, I might be a little partial to this one who reminds me of a friend, Tracey, who I lost after I moved here to the cabin... but she was never this size! Wow!

File M for Murder:
 A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
This is April, 2013 edition - Check for Latest!!!                                                                       By Miranda James

I've become quite a fan of this series for two reasons... I had great respect for Robert Munn and Ruth Jackson, the last two deans of Libraries with whom I worked at West Virginia University... And because Charlie Harris reminds me of Qwill who was the main character and mystery solver in the long-running series, The Cat Who, by Lilian Braun, which I'd collected. Qwill would read to his two siamese and Koko would assist him through often knocking books on the floor which would then give the right clue to Qwill... Silly? Maybe, but I loved all of those books!

"She sounds like a stalker to me," I said
My daughter put her arm around my waist. "Come
on now, Dad, don't start worrying. I promise you
Damitra is harmless. To me, anyway. Connor's
the one who should be looking over his shoulder.
She follows him everywhere."
"Has she ever done anything physically aggressive
toward you?" I wasn't ready to drop the matter.
"No, she hasn't. Just stupid little tricks like this."
And this series? I must say they are more mystery than cozy...that is, in my opinion, James presents a better whodunit to solve, while Braun's were more cozy and character driven...But with cat characters, I don't care which--I want to read them! LOL

Charlie received a wonderful surprise when he went home one day to find his daughter was there. She was an actress and had been working away for a number of years. Now, Laura was taking a temporary position until Christmas, filling in for a professor while she had her baby. She would have a few courses and also help with the fall production of the Theater Department.

But it seemed she may have brought trouble with her...

The man who had arranged for her job was Connor Lawton, who was a writer-in-residence and also a native son...and he was also almost Charlie Harris' son-in-law! Thankfully he didn't know it earlier, but now he was almost in information overload as things started happening... Then other close calls came!

Like a young woman who claimed she was now involved with Connor started sending "warning" messages to Laura.

Soooo, of course Connor is murdered!
"C'mon, Rowf, wanna ask you 'bout sump'n."
She swayed toward him and Johnston
grimaced. "When's Connor gonna get here?
Said he would be here. But he's not here."
"How the heck should I know when he's going
to turn up, Magda. You know what he's like.
Why don't you go upstairs and lie down. I think
you could use a rest." He tried to pry her fingers
from his arm without success...
"Who is she?" Laura asked as we headed for
the door.
"I think she's his wife, or maybe his ex-wife,
I said. "I heard something about them not
long ago through the campus grapevine,
but I can't remember precisely what it was."
Privately I wondered why she was so
interested in Connor...

It was Charlie who found Connor's body
or at least he thought he had...but it was
merely a prank during practice for the
play and Laura was upset with how 
Connor was acting. An argument started
and was loud enough that Ralph Johnson
came to find out what was happening.
Johnson even threatened to take over!

Laura coaxed her father into attending the welcome for the Department, where Ralph "Montana" held court as head. He was not a favorite for Charlie--in fact, he also was not impressed with Connor and could not believe that Laura could have been considering marriage to him!

So he was pleased when Laura met a nice young man there and left with him... Which allowed Charlie to listen in--and he really heard an important clue, even though he didn't know it... and of course I'm not going to tell you...LOL
"Sorry, you seem so familiar, but I'm afraid I can't remember
your name. How are you connected with the Theatre
She laughed. "You're Charlie Harris, and I used to babysit
you when you were five or six years old." She cocked her head
like an inquisitive parrot. "I heard you'd moved back home."
I wracked my brain as I examined her face. Then a name
popped into my head. "Sarabeth. Now I remember. You used
to sing to me, didn't you?"
"That's right. I'm Sarabeth Conley. I was Sarabeth Norris
back then." She Chuckled. "Your two favorite songs were
'My Favorite Things' and 'Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo' as I recall...

"Your daughter is causing a stir...

"I read her resume." Sarabeth nodded. All her theater work
is great for our program, and her exposure on television if
advantageous, too. We're delighted to have her for the
"I am, too." I laughed. "But it was quite a surprise. I didn't find out about it until yesterday...

How well does she know Connor Lawton?"
I was taken aback by the question. For a moment I thought she'd read my mind. "They're friends," I said in a cautious tone...

Sarabeth cocked an eyebrow. "Judging from his behavior,
Connor wants to be more than friends. He acted downright
jealous."                                                                                          ~~~

I love the cop in this series. She is the daughter of Azalea who works for Charlie--actually she had worked in the home long before Charlie had inherited it. So, since Charlie gets involved with a murder or two every once in awhile, it creates a difficult situation...but only for Kanesha... Actually, she's beginning to soften up and reveal a sly sense of humor... Cool!



 Miranda James is a pseudonym for Dean James, the Agatha Award-winning author of several works of mystery nonfiction as well as four mystery series including the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Now you know I'm going to say I loved File M for Murder! But I just had to get the remaining pics I had found...LOL Plus the adding this closing comment that probably is quite true to give you a final smile! Have a fun, catty weekend! 
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