I am super excited today to Welcome Miranda James here today
or should I say her alter ego Dean James 🙂
This book debuted at #8 on the New York Times Bestseller List!
I blame Nancy Drew for my life of crime. Reading it and writing it, that is.
I was ten when I borrowed The Secret of Shadow Ranch from a cousin. It was the first mystery I ever read, and I was hooked. Then, to my delight, I discovered this was only one of a long series of adventures in which Nancy solved mystery after mystery. Just as exciting, I soon found other amateur mystery-solvers: the Hardy Boys, the Dana Girls, Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, and many more. By the time I began reading adult mysteries, my love of the amateur detective was completely entrenched.
When I decided I wanted to write a mystery myself, I knew my main character would be an amateur. After all, I’m not a policeman, or a lawyer, or a private detective. But I do have a healthy dose of curiosity about the world around me and the people in it. Charlie Harris, the sleuth in my “Cat in the Stacks” series, is just like me in that respect. He’s also about my age (fiftyish, if you must know), he’s a librarian, he grew up in Mississippi, and he has a Maine coon cat. That’s as far as it goes, however. (I have two cats, by the way, neither of which is a Maine coon. Also, Diesel is much better behaved than my two.)
I wanted to incorporate my knowledge of, and love for, these juvenile series books into one of my own books, and in the new book, The Silence of the Library , I have done so. I created a series character in the mold of Nancy Drew and the other girl detectives and
called her Veronica Thane. The author of the series, Electra Barnes Cartwright, was inspired by Mildred Wirt Benson (the first writer, aka “Carolyn Keene”, of the Nancy Drew series, Margaret Sutton, author of the Judy Bolton series, and Julie Campbell Tatham, the original author of Trixie Belden. In fact the book is dedicated to their memories.
The most fun part of writing this book for me was the “excerpts” from the first Veronica Thane book. I reread some of my favorite girl detective stories from the 1930s to get a sense of the style in my head, and off I went. I hope readers will get a kick out of this aspect of the story. Of course, The Silence of the Library includes murder – a subject that usually didn’t come up in the classic juvenile series books. But when you get a number of rabid book collectors together, with hints of a rare and highly collectible volume, something deadly is sure to happen.
The Silence of the Library
(Cat in the Stacks Mystery)
5th in the Series
A Berkley Prime Mystery (January 28, 2014)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
E-Book File Size: 2081 KB
Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but a celebrated author’s visit draws an unruly swarm of fanatic mystery buffs…and one devious killer.
To celebrate National Library Week the Athena Public Library plans to feature amateur sleuths we loved as kids, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Veronica Thane. It was quite a surprise to find out the author of the Veronica Thane mysteries was about to celebrate her 100th birthday and was living very close to Athena. When the author agrees to make a special appearance at the library the news goes viral. Fans start to flock to town, many with copies of her books to sign and a few with hundreds, some of them very rare editions. There is even a rumor that there are several stories still unpublished. How far would a fan go to get their hands on these manuscripts? Would they commit murder??
I absolutely love this series! Diesel stole my heart the first time I saw him on the cover of the first book. I also appreciate a story with a male protagonist. Charlie is a true gentleman with very clever insight and a different perspective than the cozy readers are used to. His relationship with Diesel just warms my heart. I can easily see them walking down the streets of Athena, Diesel in his halter and Charlie stopping to visit with everyone he meets. Diesel is very intuitive himself. He senses when people need a little chin bob or just a paw on their knee. He also understands the words “treat” and “chicken” very clearly.
James outdid herself in this book because she wrote not just one story but two. She created a new young sleuth named Veronica Thane and wrote a mystery for her. It is the story Charlie is reading as the library will be featuring the author. The book was one his favorite childhood mysteries. As Charlie reads it leads him to think about the current crime trying to be solved in Athena. It helps all the pieces of the puzzle come together.
The author has written a wonderful story with true to life characters including a very special feline. It makes me really miss my feline companion that looks and acts a lot like Diesel. He is now living with my son and it my granddaughter’s buddy. There are plenty of plot twists and secrets revealed. Charlie works hard to keep Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry apprised of each new development he uncovers because he knows what will happen if he doesn’t. Charlie, Diesel and Kanesha make an excellent investigative team. She is not a lady to mess with.
The book is dedicated to those authors like Mildred Wirt Benson, Margaret Sutton, and Julie Campbell Tatham who wrote the first mysteries most of us read. I had a bookshelf full of them way back when. James plans to have The Mystery at Spellwood Mansion, in its entirety up on the website soon.
Another fun and entertaining read from this author. A perfect way to take a step back in time to the “girl detective” stories of our past. You may be ready to reread a few Nancy Drew or Judy Bolton mysteries when you finish this one.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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Contest Will End February 26, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”