Six Cats a Slayin': 08/05/20
Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James and Erin Bennett (narrator) is the tenth book in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series. Charlie's life is busy at home with two grand-babies, Diesel, and now five boisterous kittens left on his doorstep. Meanwhile he's trying to avoid the unwanted advances of his new neighbor, a woman who claims to have ties to Athena but is someone no one seems to remember.
When the neighbor invites Charlie to a Christmas party, he wants to say no but feels like he can't. So he goes. Surprise, surprise, the hostess ends up dead. It's very clearly murder. While Charlie didn't do it, clearly one of his neighbors did. Who did it and why?
There are two mysteries here. There's the murder and there are the kittens. Of the two, I found the kitten mystery the more compelling of the two. They were clearly left by a child and that child clearly believes the kittens wouldn't be safe at home. Fear about the kittens leads to questions about potential child abuse.
The A plot, though, plays out like an awkward reworking of Out of Circulation (2012) with a different twist that's tied up in Athena's history.
The problem lies in the inclusion of gender identity as one of the big clues. It's mixed up into an otherwise passable plot involving a family pushed to do the unthinkable because of extreme poverty. The transgender stuff, though, is painfully awkward and serves only as a source of red herrings.
Book eleven is The Pawful Truth (2019).