File M for Murder by Miranda James is the third book in the “Cat In the Stacks” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), January 2012

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 returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but his daughter’s unexpected visit may take them all for a walk…straight into trouble!

Athena College’s new writer in residence is a famous native son, playwright Connor Lawton, known for his sharp writing—and sharper tongue. After an unpleasant encounter, librarian Charlie Harris heads home to a nice surprise: his daughter, Laura, is subbing for another Athena professor this fall semester. It’s great news until he hears who got her the job: her old flame Connor Lawton.

Fearing competition for Connor’s affection, one of his admirers tries to drive Laura out of town. And then, before Connor finishes the play he is writing, he is murdered—and Laura is the prime suspect. Knowing she’s innocent, Charlie and his faithful sidekick, Diesel, follow Connor’s cluttered trail of angry lovers, bitter enemies, and intriguing library research to find the true killer before his daughter is forever catalogued under “M”—for murderer.

What a happy surprise for Charlie as his daughter, Laura, arrives for a visit that includes teaching at the local college. Laura’s visit is later marred when her ex-boyfriend is found dead and her life is threatened. This was a good read and I love the pace of this well-written story. I adore the relationship that Charlie has with his family and friends in this character-driven tale. I look forward to the next book in this enjoyably charming series.

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