Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Book Review: Careless Whiskers by Miranda James (Cat in the Stacks Mysteries #12)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, great characters, cute pets
Cons: Too distracted by the cute pets to list cons
The Bottom Line:
Some backstage drama
Sets the scene for mystery
Filled with pet cuteness

Murder Takes the Stage

I enjoy live theater.  I don’t go see it as much as I would like, but I always enjoy it when I go see it.  With backstage drama being the setting for Careless Whiskers, the latest Cat in the Stacks Mystery, I was especially excited to pick up this book.

This spring, Athena College’s theater department is debuting a new play from a local playwright.  Charlie Harris is looking forward to it since his daughter, Laura, is going to star in it, and her husband, Frank, is the director.  While most of the cast and crew are college students, the college is bringing in a big name for Laura’s co-lead.  Unfortunately, they’ve had to make a last-minute substitution, and Luke Lombardi will be starring opposite Laura.  Laura is not happy about this development.  She’s worked with him before, and he is arrogant, rude, and demanding.  And those are his good qualities.

Luke hasn’t changed at all, and soon he is irritating many people in town.  He is also the victim of some pranks, but when things turn deadly, Laura finds herself in the spotlight as a suspect.  Charlie has sworn off sleuthing after a recent close call, but with Laura’s reputation and freedom on the line, he and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, begin searching for the real killer.  Will they be able to clear Laura?

As is usually the case in this series, the murder takes place later in the book than in most of the cozies I read.  However, that isn’t an issue since we are spending time getting to know the suspects and their motives.  We are also introduced to a sub-plot or two that only muddy the waters once the murder happens.  I never felt the book dragged once, either before or after the murder happened.  Yes, Charlie is able to resolve everything by the time the book ends, and the book kept me guessing until he figures it out.

Over the course of the series, we’ve gotten to know the characters well.  It’s always a pleasure to check in with Charlie and the rest of the regulars.  Yes, everyone is present and accountant for, and they brought smiles to my face once again.  This goes double for Diesel and the other four-legged characters in this book.  Make no mistake about it, the pets are just as important as the human characters when it comes to my enjoyment of the book.

I already mentioned that we get to know the suspects.  I really do mean that.  They feel real as we slowly get to learn more about them over the course of the book, making it easy to picture any of them as the killer.

I will admit to finding some of Luke’s behavior more funny than boorish, probably because I could picture myself saying some of his lines as a joke.  While I rethink my sense of humor, I will tell you that Luke does plenty that I did find over the line, arrogant, and rude as well.

I continue to love how the police are portrayed in this series.  I often feel like the police get a bad rep in cozies since the main character is often trying to prove a family member or friend isn’t guilty.  It’s a natural motive and conflict for an amateur sleuth, so I can understand why it happens so frequently.  Here, the police are portrayed as smart and doing their job.  While Charlie is discouraged from getting involved, he is quick to go to the police with any information he turns up.  It not quite a partnership, nor should it be, but it is a refreshing change.

Careless Whiskers is filled with twists and animal cuteness.  In other words, this is just the thing to please Charlie and Diesel’s many fans and even earn them new ones.

Not up to date?  Here are the rest of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner Tuesday, January 28th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 1/28.  You will have until midnight on 2/2 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 2/3.


  1. I read one in this series a while back, but haven't gotten around to another yet. This one sounds good. I agree that it's nice when police/detectives are actually portrayed as competent.
    I'd love to be entered. carolsnotebook at gmail dot com

  2. I am in love with Charlie and Deisel and would love to claim this book as mine. Robin robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. I absolutely love this series the characters and diesel are so awesome sbmooney@yahoo.com

  4. I love this series! Marshamysteryreader@yahoo.com

  5. Love this series. Thanks for the giveaway. Really enjoyed your review. Keep them coming! doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. Have read every one of the cat in the stacks and wait impatiently for each one to come out..love them....terrysaunders29@hotmail.com

  7. Thanks for the giveaway, great series! browntruck8899@yahoo.com

  8. I just love Charlie & Diesel! Thanks for the giveaway!
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  9. Great series! Love Charlie and Diesel! Thanks for the chance.

  10. I came late to this series but I must say that it is becoming one of my absolute favorites! I thought this was a good one and I did find Luke funny too sometimes. Though I suspect that would have been very different in person!

  11. I love live theater as well, so I'm very excited to read this book. Thanks so much for the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. Thank you for your wonderful review on " Careless Whiskers" by Miranda James. It has me placing this book on my TBR list. Love the cover from the drama masks to the lovely cat. I can't wait for the opportunity to read the adventures of Charlie and Diesel in this book.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy. I've shared everywhere, but hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  13. I love this series. Thanks for the giveaway! ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. This sounds great—I’d love to read it. Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  15. Love Dean/Miranda..Thanks for your reviews and this giveaway!!! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  16. I have wanted to start this series. Thanks for the thorough review and giveaway.

  17. I love books with animal cuteness! Thank you for your review and the chance. mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

  18. I'd love to try this series. I am a bit confused, though. If you dont pick the winner until 1/28, how can we get back to you by 1/26? And how can you pick a new winner 1/27, one day before you pick the first one? Anyway, I'd love to win.

    1. Yeah, I got the dates wrong. I got distracted when I was posting. Thanks for pointing it out. I've got the dates corrected, finally. You have until the Sunday after I pull the winner as usual.

  19. This sounds like a fun read. Thanks for the opportunity.


  20. I always love cozies with animal cuteness and good twists!
    kimheniadis at gmail dot com

  21. I haven't read any of the Cat in the Stacks books and they sound good. Added the first book Murder Past Due to my wish list. No need to add me to the giveaway. Best of luck to everyone.

  22. Would love to win the new book in this fine series! Thanks!