Classified as Murder by Miranda James is the second book in the “Cat in the Stacks” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), May 2011

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the good-natured librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie’s return to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but finds danger lurking right around the corner.

Suspected that someone is stealing from him, the aging and eccentric James Delacorte wants Charlie to do an inventory on his rare book collection. Soon after they begin, Delalcorte is found dead at his desk, leaving Charlie with the bigger task of solving his murder.

Immediately Charlie is suspicious of Delalcorte’s own family and relies on the help of Diesel to paw around for clues. The cat-and-mouse game heats up after a highly valued copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tamerlane goes missing and a second murder occurs. Now Charlie and Diesel must solve the case before the killer strikes a third time—and hope curiosity doesn’t kill the cat.

Charlie is asked to inventory Mr. Delacorte’s rare book collection and when he is later found dead, it becomes clear that he was murdered, and the obvious suspect is one of his family members, but which one? This evenly-paced story was very appealing and I enjoyed the relationship between Charlie and his son, Sean. The mystery kept me guessing for most of the book and when the killer was revealed, I said to myself, of course. This was very likeable and I look forward to the next book in this charming series.

Miranda James is the is the pseudonym of Dean James

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