Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fantastic character and a plot filled with tension
Cons: Diesel doesn’t like cons
The Bottom Line:
A social diva
Makes too many enemies
Fundraising Galas are Murder
I was quite anxious to get to Out of Circulation, the fourth book in Miranda James’s Cat in the Stacks Mysteries. Since I’m already up to date on the spin-off Southern Ladies series, I wanted to read the book where Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, the stars of that second series, were introduced. Plus, of course, I’ve been enjoying this series, and I wanted to continue it. This entry didn’t disappoint in the slightest.
Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce are both on the Friends of the Library board in the college town of Athena, Mississippi, and Charlie Harris, our main character in this series, has joined the board as well. They are currently working on the library’s major gala held each December. As always, this gala creates conflict between the Ducote sisters and Vera Cassity, who thinks she should be the grand dame of Athena society, injecting herself in every fundraiser in the community. The ironic thing is, if she weren’t so pushy, people would actually welcome her help.
As always, the Friends of the Library fundraising gala is being held at the Ducote mansion, much to Vera’s dismay. However, the evening ends with Vera at the bottom of the mansion’s back stairs – dead. Charlie finds the body along with his housekeeper Azalea. There was no love lost between Azalea and the victim, and the sheriff is quick to zero in on Azalea as the prime suspect. But why does Azalea hold such a grudge against Vera? Was her death a tragic accident? Or did someone push her down the stairs?
Those familiar with the series will quickly wonder why the police are considering Azalea as the prime suspect. See, in the past books in the series, we’ve dealt with Kanesha, who happens to be Azalea’s daughter as well as the local detective. It’s her boss that zeroes in on Azalea as the prime suspect, leaving Kanesha off the case. I actually enjoyed this aspect of the book since it gave us a chance to see Kanesha in a different light, really enhancing her character.
We are getting a large cast of characters in this series, and I enjoyed getting to catch up with all of them again. Naturally, the book is also filled with new characters to be the suspects, and I found them all interesting characters as well. Obviously, that includes the Ducote sisters, who are as delightfully fun here as they are in the series they star in.
While the murder comes later than in many of the books I read, the time is filled with setting up suspects and motives. Believe me, the tension is there for the entire book. The climax surprised me while being completely and perfect logical. I loved it!
And I can’t forget about Diesel, Charlie’s Maine Coon cat (and the cat of the series title). Of course, he’s a regular part of the action. I did get a little tired of the constant talk about how adverse he is to tension and conflict since, as always, the book is filled with it, but that is a minor issue.
Out of Circulation is a fabulous book that will please any lover of cozy mysteries. If you haven’t started this series, you need to fix that today.
You fall in love with Diesel and want to read the rest of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries in order.