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LENDING PAW
by Laurie Cass
Obsidian, December 2013
352 pages
$7.99
ISBN: 0451415469


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Librarian Minnie Hamilton is hopeful and optimistic as she pulls out of the Chilson District Library parking lot for the first run of the brand spanking new bookmobile. The only downside(s) are her boss, Stephen, who was and still is totally against the whole bookmobile venture, and Eddie. Eddie is supposed to be sleeping comfortably on the houseboat, waiting for Minnie to return from work. Eddie is NOT supposed to be on the bookmobile; Stephen would give the words "hissy fit" a whole new range of definitions. Eddie is a cat. Minnie's cat (or vice versa, as any cat lover knows).

Eddie is, of course, a screaming success, as is the initial run, until the very last stop. Minnie is getting ready to close up when Eddie goes streaking off towards an abandoned cabin. Minnie, of course, gives chase. It's bad enough that Eddie stops by a corpse. What makes it even worse is that Minnie knows, and truly cares about, the man Eddie found. It's Stan Larabee, a local boy made good, the man who donated enough money to buy and run the bookmobile.

For reasons made clear as the story progresses, Minnie is convinced that she can at least provide the police with some help, since they don't seem to be overly assiduous in tracking down anyone for the crime. As she inquires and listens around town, she discovers that not everyone thinks as much of Stan as she does. In fact, the general consensus is quite the opposite. Even her Aunt Frances didn't have much good to say about him - and Aunt Frances pretty much likes everyone.

Minnie, however, is undeterred. She is, after all, a librarian and one thing librarians know how to do is research. Along the way, we meet the rest of the library staff, some of Minnie's friends (a good lot to have), and her Aunt Frances's boarding house guests. All contribute in some fashion, either local color, plot devices, needed information, and sometimes information that sends Minnie off on tangents. There is also, the required possible love interest(s).

Cass takes this cast of characters and a lovely setting to make for a mystery that anyone would be happy to give to a reader of other traditional mysteries. No violence to speak of, no sex beyond the pitty-pat of an interested heart, and a good mystery. There is plenty of opportunity for more in this series. Chilson is a resort community, which brings in strangers with promising regularity. The bookmobile covers a lot of territory as it travels around the district. So many chances for murders . . . In the nicest possible way, of course!

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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