by Sandra Murphy & Laurie Cass
This week we have a review of the latest book in the Bookmobile Cat Mystery series by Laurie Cass, along with a fun guest post by Laurie about setting a book in a fictional location. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
The Crime that Binds: A Bookmobile Cat Mystery By Laurie Cass
Review by Sandra Murphy
March in northwest lower Michigan can be summed up in one word: dreary. One highlight for Minnie Hamilton is the bookmobile and her ride-along cat, Eddie. Minnie is trying to let others help and even take the bookmobile out without her. It’s not as easy as it sounds since she loves her job and the people she meets along the way.
Ryan is a quiet young man who loves to read and she’s glad to see him. His cell phone rings so he steps out of the bookmobile to take the call. Leaving any thought of reading behind, he takes off running. It’s no wonder. The phone call was to tip him off the police are looking at him as a suspect for a bank robbery where a security guard was killed.
Minnie doesn’t believe he could be guilty, and she’s just about the only one who thinks so. She’s determined to prove it despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
When a second death occurs, things look even worse for Ryan. After all, it can be proved Ryan saw the victim just before he went on the lam. Who are the witnesses to that? Minnie and Eddie.
In her personal life, things aren’t any calmer. Minnie’s best friend is due to have a baby any minute, her fiancé is remodeling their house, and Eddie, well, he’s always Eddie.
This is a series I always enjoy. The mystery is a good one and the characters are likable, and they don’t take risks that put them squarely in danger, and of course, there’s a library and a cat. This is book ten in the series, and I look forward to many more.
Real Places in Fiction? Pros and Cons
by Laurie Cass
The Bookmobile Cat Mysteries are set in a fictional county in northwest lower Michigan. The fact that I happen to live in that part of Michigan makes this both easy and difficult. What’s easy is the feel of the place is in my bones, in the air that I breathe every day. The passing of the seasons, the ebb and flow of summer visitors, the long dark nights of winter offset by the spectacular beauty of snowfall—every bit of that is part of me and can be summoned at will. However, there can be problems.
For instance, the cover of my latest book, The Crime That Binds, features the exterior of the real life Charlevoix Public Library. And it’s not just the exterior; the library where my main character Minnie Hamilton works has always been based on that gorgeous public space that is a point of pride for the community. (See photo that I convinced my husband to take a couple of weeks ago of the library, the book, and me.) The problem is I recently met the library’s regular janitor, and she told me there’s an employee shower on the second floor. Wait, what? I haven’t put that in any of the books! Now, what do I do?!
Also, though I created the fictional town of Chilson as an amalgam of a number of Up North towns—a little Harbor Springs, a touch of Charlevoix, a sprinkling of Petoskey, a bit of East Jordan, along with hints of Boyne City, Bellaire, Central Lake, Elk Rapids, and others—I’ve had people flat out tell me that they know I based it on Eastport, if Eastport happened to be a much bigger town. Um, sure? Whatever works for you!
Then there’s the restaurant problem. In every book, my characters occasionally venture out of Tonedagana County and into the real world. Just like in real life, they eventually get hungry and have to eat. This creates a minor issue for me. If I’m going to put a real restaurant in one of my books, I need to know what it’s like, because fiction must be grounded in reality, yes? So, even a one or two sentence mention in a book means some research. Luckily, it’s the kind of research for which my husband is happy to lend a helping hand. Oddly enough, we’ve been intending to try Trattoria Stella in Traverse City for years and I’m working on the next bookmobile cat mystery. Will their Mezzaluna make it onto Minnie’s plate? Only time will tell!
To enter to win a copy of The Crime that Binds, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “binds,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 19, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.