The people of Athena, Mississippi are used to seeing Charlie and his cat Diesel together - they go to the local café together, Diesel goes to work with Charlie at the local college and Diesel is also a regular fixture at the public library where Charlie volunteers. When he is approached at the library by James Delacorte Charlie has no idea that he is about to become a player in a complex family drama unfolding in the family home. Living with family is not always easy, especially when it is your extended family and people expect to be able to enjoy a certain lifestyle. Mr Delacorte certainly has a strange family, and his first meeting with them is almost enough to send him running from the job Mr Delacorte has offered to him - but it is a job that is simply too good to miss.
Mr Delacorte has a rare book collection that makes Charlie positively drool with excitement especially when he learns that Mr Delacorte would like his help to check the contents of the collection. Checking the contents means handling the items, and some of them are rare treasures indeed. If only the reason for checking the collection was benign - Mr Delacorte has asked Charlie for help because he believes a member of his family is stealing from him. When Mr Delacorte turns up dead shortly after Charlie begins work on the collection, Charlie and Diesel are soon drawn into another murder mystery. To complicate matters Charlie's son Sean has come to stay, and there is a definite distance between them, one that seems almost impossible to bridge. With a murder mystery to solve and relationship to mend, Charlie and Diesel are in for an interesting time.
I loved the first book featuring Charlie and his cat Diesel and I was eager to read the second book in the series to see if the momentum and humour from the first book made another appearance - and I was not disappointed. I do not know quite what it is about Charlie and Diesel that appeals so much - yes I am a librarian and have a cat or two at home that are very Diesel like - but that doesn't explain why my mother also enjoys the series so much. It could be that Charlie is so down to Earth and good natured, that he genuinely wants to help but seems to end up in a little bit of a pickle, or it could be that he is so "human" and believable. The relationship between Charlie and Diesel is also part of the charm, they have a warm and close relationship that is so easy to picture - and the reactions of people to his Maine coon size is also hysterically familiar, my girl gained a lot of attention and she was no where near the size of a boy like Diesel.
Whatever the "it" factor is with this series, the first two books in the series have it in droves and I am eagerly waiting to get hold of book three in the series so I can see what happens next. The added dimension of Charlie's relationship with Sean makes this book surprisingly deep and appeals across a variety of levels - you can connect with the mystery, with the family drama, or with the humour - or all of the above. The twist at the end is just fabulous and was laugh out loud funny for myself and my mother - she got to read the book first this time and kept asking me if I was finished so she could share some of her favourite moments.
If you like this book then try:
- Murder past due by Miranda James
- Dipped, stripped, and dead by Elise Hyatt
- French polished murder by Elise Hyatt
- Books can be deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
- One for the money by Janet Evanovich
- Death of a kitchen diva by Lee Hollis
Reviewed by Brilla