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by Laurie Cass
Obsidian, July 2014
352 pages
ISBN: 0451415477

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Minnie Hamilton and her bookmobile have settled into a fairly normal routine. She does have to find a replacement for her current volunteer, as Thessie is going off to college in the fall. Minnie has a little time left on that crisis. There are more pressing issues, like figuring out new and different ways to create interest in the bookmobile, thus creating more patrons, thus creating more possible donors, etc., etc., ad nauseum. The current promotion is a "guess the number of candies in the jar" contest, with the winner not only getting all the candies (a gift from Minnie's restaurant owner friend Kristen) but the bookmobile will make a stop at the individual's house - not normally a sanctioned stop.

One marvelous northern Michigan day, Minnie and Eddie (the Bookmobile Cat - totally illegal) are stopped by the sight of a woman in the middle of the road, frantically waving her arms. Her husband has had a stroke, there is no cell phone reception, and he needs to get to a hospital NOW. Minnie and the frantic wife rush back to the house, load the man into the bookmobile and hightail it for the Charlevoix ER. Not until they are almost to the ER does Minnie find out who she is transporting: Russell McCade, a famous artist.

McCade and his wife Barb are quite grateful, and they become friends with Minnie. So when McCade, now in a nursing home for rehabilitation, is arrested for murder, who does Barb call? Minnie, the only person she really knows in town, the person who also seems to know everybody in town. Minnie's next door neighbor (actually the guy who owns the enormous yacht in the slip next to Minnie's little houseboat) makes the connection with a high-powered criminal lawyer, who gets McCade off the legal hook. There still remains, at least for McCade, the issue of his reputation. Being accused of murder will certainly tarnish his, even if he's never taken to trial - which he won't be. So now he and Barb want Minnie to find out who killed one of his fans, a young woman named Carissa Radle.

Minnie is reluctant. She agrees to ask around, and to not put herself in danger. This is all well and good, but asking questions about a young woman who's been murdered is not exactly the safest thing a person can do. She has her friends, her new love interest, and her family to help; she's not likely to go off on a wild goose chase alone, even if she'd wanted to.

Cass has taken a traditional cozy, with all the usual elements, and written a very enjoyable book. Yes, there's a cat; Eddie seems to Minnie to be almost psychic, but Eddie is Minnie's first cat. What does she know from cats?? Being a librarian isn't normally a high risk occupation, except for perhaps carpal tunnel syndrome; Cass applies the skills associated with librarians to someone investigating a crime. Northern Michigan is a lovely setting just about any time of year, unless one really despises snow, and so far, that hasn't been part of Minnie's Bookmobile experience. Should make for some challenges when it is. This being the second book in the series, readers can easily decide if Minnie and Eddie are their kind of people.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, June 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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