Out of Circulation: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780425257272. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101619117. M
Librarian Charlie Harris's hometown of Athena, MS, is steeped in the culture of the South, along with old family dramas. With the location of the library's fundraising gala quickly becoming a point of contention between the Ducote sisters and Vera Cassity, Charlie would rather be in the stacks than stuck in the middle. It seems that everyone has had conflicts with Vera, including Charlie's unflappable housekeeper, Azalea. But even though the gala becomes affected by Vera's mean-spirited words, no one expects them to be her last. When Azalea is found with Vera's body, Charlie knows he can't stop sleuthing (along with his cat Diesel) until her name is cleared.
VERDICT For Charlie's fourth outing (after File M For Murder) the story delves deeper into the background of some secondary characters. The old southern charm recollects Rita Mae Brown's Sneaky Pie series (without the talking animals), while Charlie's investigative techniques may bring some of Agatha Christie's characters to mind.
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