No Cats Allowed
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime, 2016
I have been on the waiting list since February for this book – maybe even earlier – and was not disappointed in having to wait so long! Another cozy mystery starring the beautiful Maine Coon, Diesel and his human, Charlie Harris. Charlie works as an archivist in the library of Athena College in Athena, Mississippi cataloging rare books and collections. He loves his job and takes Diesel with him every day – in fact Diesel goes with him practically everywhere in town! The library has a new interim director, Oscar Reilly, whom everyone loves to hate. He is an obnoxious, know-it-all bully and has no problem stirring up trouble wherever he goes. Is it any wonder he gets murdered? After a couple of chapters of his noxious nonsense even I was ready for him to be killed off! As in the previous Diesel mysteries, murders just seem to follow Charlie around and he is on hand to help the local cops figure it all out.
This is another fun book to read. I had my suspensions early on who the killer might be; I think the author made it a little too obvious in this one. But that didn’t stop my enjoyment of reading the book. Even though I figured out who did it, I didn’t know why so that was a mystery until the end!! I enjoyed getting caught up with the familiar characters from the other books and reading how their literary lives are moving on. I’m hoping Charlie and Helen Louise finally get married in the next book and it’s a shame I’ll have to wait a year or so to find out!! I love this series and haven’t come across a bad one in the bunch!!
Standing in the Rainbow
Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing, 2002
A favorite author of mine is Fannie Flagg, so you can probably guess that I loved this book! It’s written in the usual sit-down-with-your-favorite-storyteller style and when the story is over, you feel like you’ve had a wonderful slice of pie and coffee after a fabulous meal – satisfied, full and happy.
Ms Flagg takes us back to Elmwood Springs, MO, the scene of her other books, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!. It was written after Welcome, but is actually a prequel, starting in the 1940s and moving up to the 2000s. The story mainly follows local radio personality Neighbor Dorothy and her family, Doc, Anna Lee and Bobby but also all the other eccentric residents as well. There’s Aunt Elner (who is the main character of Heaven) and all her ginger tabbies named Sonny; Tot Whooten, local hair dresser with a fall-down drunk of a husband and two good-for-nothing children, who is known around town as ‘Poor Tot’; Norma, forever worried niece of Elner and her long-suffering husband, Macky. There’s a group of new characters as well, like the Oatman family who are gospel singers; Hamm Sparks, an ambitious young man who starts out by selling tractors and ends up in the governor’s mansion; and Cecil Figgs the mortuary man turned cabaret singer.
The story follows a mostly linear path which is contrary to the other Flagg books I’ve read which have gone back and forth through time. This style does make for easier reading and catching up quickly if you put the book down for a day or so – that is if you’re able to put it down!! I have nothing negative to say about the book. If you are looking for a murder thriller with gruesome and/or sexy scenes, don’t bother even glancing at the book. However, if you want a good story about people who meet life both head-on and head-buried-in-sand; if you want healthy dose of laugh-out-loud humor; if you want to cheer people on to success against all odds; if you want to feel nostalgia for an American way of life long gone; you’ll love this book. It is for those reasons I am giving it my best rating!!
Also published on Library of Cats under the non de plume BobbieSue.