Classified as Murder: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
by Miranda James

Mass Market Paperback 2011
Berkeley Prime Crime Books
ISBN: 978-0-425-24157-8

Rating: 4 paws (out of 5)
four poly paws on trans background

Classified as Murder is the follow up to last year’s Murder is Due. Even though it’s part of a series, this is a solid stand alone story. I found it a stronger book, probably because it was less bogged down with character background than Murder is Due.

In typical cozy mystery fashion, life is strolling along merrily until a body drops into the story. From that point on, the pace really picks up as everyone is trying to figure out whodunnit. Charlie Harris is a very down-to-earth, realistic character, and it’s terrific fun to watch him investigate while determined to not run afoul of the local police presence. Or upset the killer enough to wind up dead himself. Once again, providing both clues and some comic relief is Charlie’s constant companion Diesel, his exceptionally well-trained maine coon cat.

The plot centers around a privately-owned rare book collection that Charlie the librarian is hired to help catalogue. The family surrounding the owner of the collection is eccentric to say the least, Charlie’s grown son has turned up for a visit with no notice, and a very valuable book may have gone missing. Suspects abound, as do twists and turns, and even when you have it figured out–you don’t.

I was especially pleased that Diesel’s extreme size (33 pounds) is covered early on in the book, noting that he is exceptionally large for the breed. I was at a cat show this weekend with a 15-pound maine coon boy and I fielded a ton of questions, most of them “How much does he weigh?” followed by comments about how much larger he is than the average cat. Diesel is very, very big indeed.

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