by Sandra Murphy
& Miranda James
This week we have a review of a fun cat related mystery, No Cats Allowed, by Miranda James (aka Dean James). We also have a fun guest post from Miranda. Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it where a portion goes to help support KRL and an indie bookstore. We also have an Amazon link to purchase the book.
No Cats Allowed by Miranda James
Review by Sandra Murphy
Charlie’s been bringing Diesel, his Maine Coon cat, to work at the library archives with him since they found each other. Everyone enjoys a quick chat and a pet, no one more than Diesel. Since the library’s director left abruptly and half a million dollars in overages were found in the budget, tension is in the air. Budget cuts have to be made, and salaries are the likely place to start.
The new director, Oscar, has a financial background but no people skills or know-how where the workings of a library are concerned. There are pranks played in retaliation—Oscar the Grouch is written on his windshield, for instance—and Oscar takes it all very personally. He takes so much pleasure in making others miserable, it must never have dawned on him that someone would retaliate.
He accuses Melba, a thirty-year veteran of the library, of taking too long on her lunch hour and goofing off. Lisa went to a conference last year, and Oscar thinks he should check with other participants to make sure Lisa attended the seminars. Charlie has enough money that he doesn’t have to work, but he loves the job. Still, when Oscar claims to be allergic to Diesel in spite of no symptoms, that’s the last straw. Charlie applies for a six month leave of absence.
He’s stunned to hear (a benefit of Melba’s sneaking) that the archives are to be sold like a car in a chop shop, and the whole section shut down—meaning no jobs to be had. Melba’s transferred to another department effective immediately.
It’s no surprise when Oscar turns up dead in the basement, squashed between book shelves, a particularly gruesome way to go. Suspects? Well, that includes anyone who ever met him. His ex-brother-in-law is in town with an agenda of his own, all the library employees are on the list, and motive could go back to something that happened in the finance department.
Melba’s on the hot seat because of her temper. She’s taken in for questioning and Sean, Charlie’s son, is her lawyer. Of course, Melba knows everybody, everywhere, so she’s treated more like a drop-in visitor than a criminal. With Oscar gone, Charlie takes over as interim director and, with Melba’s help, investigates the budget woes.
The world of academia is more cut throat than the Mob. As everyone jostles for position in an effort to stay employed, suspects drop by Charlie’s house to tell him why they had reason to kill Oscar—but didn’t. There are twists and turns, red herrings and clues, false leads and one satisfying solution to be had. Diesel is always a treat. Melba is a unique character, as is Althea, Charlie’s housekeeper. He’s learned not to argue with either of them. Love is in the air too—Charlie and longtime companion, Helen Louise, Sean and his law partner girlfriend, Alex, and roomer Stewart and his boyfriend.
This is the seventh book in the Cat in the Stacks Mystery series. Each book is a visit to old friends, a chance to catch up on all the latest news. James also writes the Southern Ladies Mystery series, featuring the Ducote sisters who are The Family in town and now warrant their own tales to tell.
Bad Ass Boss
By Miranda James
Anybody who’s been out in the workforce for any length of time has surely encountered the phenomenon – the Bad Boss. The lucky few who haven’t are, well, the lucky few! The bad ones are out there and when you are working for one, it doesn’t take long to realize how unpleasant things are going to be as long as you’re working for that person.
Situations like that will cause conflict and in real life it’s never pleasant – although some people seem to thrive on it, including some bad bosses. But conflict in fiction is important. Without it, you don’t have much of a story. If everyone gets along fine, there’s no tension, everyone’s happy – and the reader is going to get bored and put down the book and probably never come back.
The Bad Boss Syndrome is the basic premise of the seventh “Cat in the Stacks” mystery, No Cats Allowed. I wondered what would happen if Charlie and all the other staff at the Athena College Library suddenly found themselves working under a person they all loathed and feared. The stage was set for Oscar Reilly and did he ever turn out to be a bad boss. Reilly seems to have a way of getting under everyone’s skin and when he wants to ban Diesel, Charlie’s Maine Coon cat, from the library, of course Charlie isn’t happy.
I always have fun creating a character like Oscar Reilly who is really detestable. In real life people like him don’t always seem to get what’s coming to them in return for their nastiness to everyone around them, but in fiction I can have Nemesis dogging their every step. Retribution will happen!
Then the question is, who plays the part of Retribution? You’ll have to read No Cats Allowed to find out.
To enter to win a copy of No Cats Allowed, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “no cats,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 27, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
You can use this link to order this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy:
Or you can also use this Amazon link: