If you're a mystery fan today, you may have read teen detective series when you were younger. If so, Miranda James' The Silence of the Library will take you back. James' latest Cat in the Stacks mystery is a tribute to all those books, and it's done in style.
Librarian Charlie Harris has been a fan of teen sleuths since his beloved aunt Dottie first introduced him to her collection of Veronica Thane books. He's pleased that the Athena Public Library is planning an exhibit to honor the one hundredth birthday of Electra Barnes Cartwright, author of the Veronica Thane series. But, he's amazed when the library director, Teresa Farmer calls to say Cartwright is still alive, and she may consent to be interviewed for the celebration. However, the library's announcement that EBC will appear at the celebration brings all the fanatical collectors to Athena. Suddenly the celebration of girl sleuths becomes an outrageous observance of greed, and then murder.
Charlie and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, have been in on a few murder investigations in Athena, Mississippi, so it's little surprise that people ask for his help. Kanesha Berry, Chief Deputy for the Sheriff's department, finds his name by the victim. She no longer suspects him of murder, but his knowledge of the collectors, the Cartwright family, and others involved in the case will prove helpful. However, it's Charlie's reference skills that will uncover the clue that leads to a killer.
If you grew up with girl sleuths or boy detectives, Miranda James' The Silence of the Library will bring back fond memories as James not only tells the story of Charlie and Diesel's latest case, but also skillfully weaves in a Veronica Thane mystery. James will have readers rapidly turning pages as you relive the days of cliffhanger chapters and roadster-driving sleuths.
As intriguing as the mystery is, it's still James' characters that bring readers back. Who can resist Charlie Harris, a kind, Southern gentleman, a family man who loves his adult children, his boarders, and his friends? And, as much as we love Charlie, it's even harder to resist Diesel, the Maine Coon cat who warbles and chirps his way into hearts while keeping his eye out for killers. Charlie and Diesel are in fine form in The Silence of the Library as they find their way through the maze of crazed book collectors.
Reader's Note: I found my way to adult mysteries after reading all kinds of mysteries for kids, The Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West, mysteries by Helen Fuller Orton and the Nancy Drew books. And, here's a confession. In the early '80s, while I waited to hear about my dream job at my hometown library, I couldn't concentrate on reading anything. Nancy Drew pulled me through. I read Nancy Drew books, one after the other, as my life preserver. If you're a mystery reader today, is there a teen sleuth series in your past?
Miranda James' website is www.catinthestacks.com
The Silence of the Library by Miranda James. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425257289 (paperback), 308p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.