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review 2020-06-09 06:33
Six Cats a Slayin' (audiobook) by Miranda James, read by Erin Bennett
Six Cats a Slayin' (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) - Miranda James
Charlie has an uncomfortably flirtatious new neighbor, Gerry, who seems interested in buying up homes in the area. When she invites him to her big Christmas party, he decides to go in order to be polite but makes sure to take Helen Louise, his girlfriend, with him. Both of them are shocked when the party ends with Gerry's death, quite likely due to poison.
Kanesha's in charge of the investigation, and Charlie does his best to stay in her good graces by keeping his nose out of it. Mostly. It helps that he has a lot on his plate. His daughter-in-law is running herself ragged trying to take care of her new baby and might land herself in the hospital soon if she doesn't accept help. Also, in addition to Diesel, Charlie now has five mystery kittens to take care of. Someone, quite possibly a scared child, left them on his doorstep, and he's determined to find out who it was and see if they can be reunited.
Content warning for this book:
Transphobia, although not on the part of the main character or any of his friends.
(spoiler show)
The only other book I've read in this series was the first one. I normally like to read series in order when I can, but this was the only audiobook in this series that my library owned, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Honestly, skipping eight books wasn't too much of an issue. I could tell character relationships had changed: Kanesha has softened towards Charlie, Charlie now had a girlfriend, and his relationship with his son was better. There was even a part where Charlie thought back to what his life was like at the beginning of the series, so if there were any gaps in my memories of him and his relationships, they were filled in pretty neatly.
I read the paper version of the first book, so this was my first audiobook experience with the series. Bennett was a good cozy mystery narrator, but maybe not the best choice for this particular series, which features a first person male POV. Most of the secondary characters are female, so maybe that was a factor, but I still think a male narrator would have been better.
Anyway, now for the story itself. Oddly enough, the primary mystery seemed to be the kittens and the identity of the person who dropped them off. The murder was more secondary - although Charlie chatted with friends about it and did a little bit of research, he did mostly stay out of it, and as a result, most of the resolution happened off-page. While it was certainly a tragic story, I found it to be a bit weak.
The kitten storyline, on the other hand, was nice. Diesel got multiple opportunities to act as their adorable giant babysitter, and Charlie tried to resist being charmed by Ramses, the only one of the bunch with a distinct personality. I enjoyed Charlie's efforts to figure out who left the kittens, and the whole thing was resolved in a very warm and fuzzy way.
All in all, this made for a decent listen. I wish my library owned more audiobooks in this series, although thankfully I do own a used copy of Book 8 that I haven't read yet.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
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review 2018-10-18 00:00
Six Cats a Slayin'
Six Cats a Slayin' - Miranda James Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are babies and kittens in the house and Charlie and Diesel have their hands and paws full even before new neighbor Gerry Arbitron invites Charlie to her party. Gerry a real estate agent, did not make a good first impression with Charlie, her overt flirting really rubbed him the wrong way. Then she put up the most hideous holiday display, he and the rest of the neighbors were not impressed. They wanted to stay home but most bit their tongues and went to her party. One guest did not hold her tongue and had quite the altercation with the hostess. Another guest had an argument with Gerry behind a not quite closed door that was overheard. Before the night ends the nosy neighbor crashes to the floor and was unable to be revived. First thought – heart attack – Reality – it was murder!

I love Charlie and his big Maine Coon cat, Diesel. The man doesn’t think twice when he opens his front door and finds a box full of kittens with a note asking him to keep them safe. Diesel steps in a chief kitty sitter and the rest of house falls for them as well.

This is also going to be the first Harris Christmas for the new grandchildren. Charlie’s son and his wife are struggling with their newborn and everyone tries to give good advice and help. I have seen a struggle just like this with my own eyes. The author’s take on this was excellent and heartwarming. These characters are so realistic and believable. I grab each new book in this series not only for the top-notch mystery but because I need to check in with the family and all the people they are connected with, including one big lovable feline.

Yes, the mystery is top-notch. Everyone at that party is suspect and the fact that some people left before the police arrived or that someone may have snuck in unseen makes the mystery difficult to solve. The conflicts earlier in the evening land two people high on police detective Kanesha’s list but there are more questions than answers for quite a while.

The other mystery confounding Charlie is who dropped off the kittens at his door. He knows it’s a child, maybe about 10, but whoever it is is very smart because all the things Charlie tries to do to see the person are thwarted. Reminded me of a certain grandchild of mine very much.

These two mysteries run in tandem seamlessly along with family dynamics and holiday preparations. The pace is comfortable but the murder doesn’t take place until mid-book. By this time we get to know a little bit about the victim but she has so many secrets and surprising things continue to be revealed right up until the murderer is uncovered.

Miranda James is one of my favorite cozy authors. She is a fantastic storyteller. Every time I see that big kitty on the cover, a kitty that reminds me of one of mine now gone, I get excited to see what this author has in store for the Harris family. I have never been disappointed. The characters continue to grow and evolve and the stories are fresh with unexpected twists and turns. Ten books into this series and still going strong!

Six Cats a Slayin‘ is a fun and entertaining cozy for this holiday season. All cozy lovers will enjoy!!
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review 2018-08-24 14:54
Cat with murder
Classified as Murder - Miranda James

Librarian - check

Cool Cat - Check

Rare or unusual books - Check.


A lot of my catnip here, a murder mystery with all of the above is not a hard read for me.  It was more about the relationship between Charlie Harris and his son who is back in his life looking for a new life.


Entertaining and gentle this was a fun read.

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review 2018-06-25 12:06
Cat and librarian hero, my catnip
Murder Past Due - Miranda James

Charlie Harris works in his home town, Athena, Mississippi, as a librarian who walks his cat to work, a rescued Maine Coon, on a leash.

An ex-classmate of his, Godfrey Priest, is returning to the town to do a book launch and has some other plans as well, this involves Charlie's lodger, the son of another ex-classmate. When Godfrey ends up dead things are complicated and messy and Charlie can see some things that need to be investigaed to discover what has happened and a lot of skeletons come out of several closets.

I enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to more.

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review 2018-05-11 00:00
Twelve Angry Librarians
Twelve Angry Librarians - Miranda James Charlie Harris is stressed out. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding their annual meeting in Athena and it's being hosted by Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he has to deliver the welcome speech to all of the visiting librarians. And as if that weren t bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie s old nemesis from library school Gavin Fong. It's been thirty years since Charlie has seen Gavin, and he's still an insufferable know-it-all who's capable of getting under everyone's skin. In his keynote, Gavin puts forth an unpopular opinion: that librarians will be obsolete in the libraries of the future. So, when Gavin dies during his speech, no one seems too upset. Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin after his welcome speech, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must look for clues and check out every one of them to find the real killer among them before Charlie is reading books behind bars.

The author gives us a different aspect of who ends up being the real killer among all of the people who didn't like Gavin and wanted to see him dead. The characters are all still believable, and the returning characters all have their story lines continue to grow so we'll have something to look forward to as the series grows. I enjoyed reading about how Charlie makes up his mind about a major decision that will affect his future and I was glad about the decision that he came to. I liked that Charlie's relationship with Helen Louise is finally making some progress since it seemed a little flat in the last book. I am getting a little tired of reading about everytime Diesel goes into the utility room and digs in his litter box, I don't want to read about everytime the cat goes to the bathroom, I know the author does this for realism but really enough is enough about the cat's bathroom trips.
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