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Charlie Harris is an older Southern gentleman, emphasis on gentleman. He’s a widower, landlord to two boarders in his home, father to Laura and Sean, and companion to Diesel, a Maine Coon cat of extraordinary size (thirty-six pounds is big even for a Maine Coon!).
Charlie works as a cataloger at the nearby college. Diesel goes to work with him each day and is welcome almost everywhere in town (the woman in the records office is allergic to cats). Charlie’s also a member of the Friends of the Athena Public Library board and that’s where the trouble lies. Vera Cassity and the Ducote sisters have a long standing feud about who will host the annual gala. Vera is nasty and vindictive when she doesn’t get her way—and even when she does. The Ducotes are gracious Southern ladies who get their revenge in a much more genteel fashion.
Azalea works for Charlie—she came with the house, when he inherited from Aunt Dottie. She has a big hatred for Vera, but then who doesn’t?
It’s no surprise when Vera ends up dead at the gala, ironically on the servant’s staircase in spite of her airs of being a class above. Worse, she’s dressed as Scarlett O’Hara and her hoop skirt, the direction of the body and the narrow space, leave her exposed, crinolines and all.
Well, the Ducote sisters have to be suspect even though it’s unlikely any murder they might commit would ever be in their own home, Azalea was found with the body but the positioning is wrong, Vera’s philandering husband is front and center and Sissy, his rumored long-time girlfriend is in the mix as well. Motives about but the distant past might just turn out to be more important than current events.
Charlie and Diesel investigate at the urging of the Ducote sisters and Azalea’s daughter, police officer Kanesha. She’s out of the loop on this case since her mother was involved. The more investigating Charlie does, the more motives come to light.
Charlie is truly a gentle man and a great character. He’s surrounded by family and friends, all of whom the reader would like to meet in person, Diesel especially. Good plotting, a few twists and attention to detail make this a great read.
Previous books in the series are:
Murder Past Due
Classified as Murder
File M for Murder
To enter to win a copy of Out Of Circulation, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Circulation”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 2, 2013. U.S. residents only.
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