cover image Claws for Concern: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Claws for Concern: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Miranda James. Berkley Prime Crime, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-4252-7778-2

The endearing relationship between widower Charlie Harris and his Maine coon cat, Diesel, lifts James’s lightweight ninth Cat in the Stacks mystery (after 2017’s Twelve Angry Librarians). While volunteering at the public library in Athens, Miss., Charlie befriends an elderly stranger researching genealogical records. The man is seeking information on the father he never knew, who just happened to be Charlie’s aunt’s late husband. Meanwhile, true-crime writer Jack Pemberton enlists Charlie’s help in looking into a previously solved case. Despite his wish to stay out of the limelight, Charlie eventually works with Pemberton to investigate the stranger, who may have committed multiple murders long ago. The clues to the real killer come together a little too easily, and all the detail of Diesel’s moment-to-moment activities gets a little tedious. Still, Diesel is an intelligent, well-behaved cat, who opens doors for Charlie and gets people to talk. That the animal isn’t essential to the plot and his presence at times seems tacked on won’t bother cozy fans. Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary. (Feb.)