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The Beauty of the End
Debbie Howells

from FictionZeal.com re: Murder Past Due (Cat in the Stacks) by Miranda James

Murder Past Due - Miranda James

Diesel is the name of Charlie’s Maine Coon Cat.  They are larger than your average variety.  Charlie Harris, the librarian of the Archive Department of Athena’s library, narrates, “Strangers sometimes stopped us on the street to ask if he was a weird-looking dog—and I’d swear Diesel looked offended when they did.  He was a sociable critter, but he didn’t tolerate fools lightly—a trait I found endearing.”  Diesel is not a ‘Lassie’ either.  He doesn’t solve the murder that happens in this novel, but he does offer a bit of comfort to Justin, Charlie’s eighteen-year-old boarder.  Justin’s mom made a mistake years ago, and Charlie’s father is not his biological father.  Rather, he is the son of Godfrey Priest, who grew up to become a quite famous author.  Godfrey returns to Athena and stops by to talk with Charlie.  He wants to see Justin.  And so, Charlie manages to get himself in the middle of working between Godfrey, Justin, and Julia, Justin’s mother.  Justin ends up spending some time with Godfrey at his hotel suite.  When Godfrey suggests taking Justin with him, Justin bolts.  He returns hours later, only to discover someone has killed Godfrey.


This is a rather nice cozy.  I don’t read many because I find most are too silly.  This one is what I’d call a smart cozy.  There is no silliness, but there are characters that will endear you to themselves, and a cat that will make you want to adopt him.  Charlie is a gentleman who only seeks to do the ‘right thing’.  The story drew me in rather quickly.  Godfrey had not even been a very likable person in their high school days.  Nothing has changed on this front.  The story makes the reader keep guessing about who would do him in.  I did find some of the story relied too heavily on coincidence, and I also found the ending odd, meaning that I had questions of ‘why’ and ‘why now’.  Rating: 3.5 out of 5.