Mystery Book Review | The Pawful Truth by Miranda James
Berkley Publisher ▪️ July 16, 2019 ▪️ 288 pages
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The Pawful Truth is a fun and salacious installment in the Cat in the Stacks series by Miranda James. Charlie Harris, along with his trusty Maine Coon cat, Diesel, enjoys the world of academia while inadvertently solving mysteries along the way. The current mystery involves a “mature” student, several professors, and a Shakespearean plot – all the ingredients you need for a puzzling murder mystery.
What I liked:
The college local is a perfect cozy setting. The small college town is a tight-knit community, imperative for a cozy mystery, but also has many people coming in and out as students and professors come and go. This setting allows for new characters and new mysteries while never feeling contrived.
The solution to the mystery was believable but not predictable. One of the hardest but most essential parts of any cozy is to get the balance between red herrings and actual clues just right. The Pawful Truth is an excellent example of how to do that very thing, which enhances the story.
Charlie Harris is refreshing as a detective in a world that is dominated by female sleuths. There are some male detectives of note in this genre, but they are few and far between. Charlie is an easy-going member of the college and surrounding community, making him relatable to the characters and readers alike.
Diesel is every inch a Maine Coon cat complete with the breeds many quirks and proclivities. I own a female Maine Coon cat, so it was particularly enjoyable to me to read about Diesel’s antics. From the characteristic trills and warbles they make to their unusual ability to understand and react to human words; Maine Coons are a remarkable breed, and I loved seeing them celebrated in the series.
What I Wish
Some parts were not written in such excruciating detail. Several dialogue sections in the novel were overly detailed, which leads to minor frustration in the reader who is looking for more of the items that move the plot along. This detail did not happen so often as to impact the reading experience negatively, but it was noticeable.
More depth to Charlie. Charlie came off as two dimensional. This lack of character development is not uncommon is a cozy mystery, but I still would have loved to have had more depth into his character. I am new to the series, so there may be more depth provided in the previous novels, but in this story, that was something I noted.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are a fan of cozy mysteries and(or) cats, this is the perfect book and perfect series for you. It’s smart and fun and gives you a great puzzle to solve. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.