Is it a coincidence `James' has twice been a pseudonym for males posing as female? `Rebecca James' was another. If it is to stop readers from overlooking them: it worked and I'm glad. I don't often read male authors, especially 50 year-old male protagonists but DEAN James (as per copyright credits) is talented and his character 'Charlie', a delight. I adore cats, libraries, and mysteries and am rewarded threefold.
Widowed, with a grown son & daughter out-of-state, Charlie works part-time in an archives department. His leash-walking cat, `Diesel' joins him everywhere. With involved, intelligent cats in my life; I like obliterating stereotypes of feline aloofness and limitation perceived by us. Mine rode in cars more than any dogs I know and all of our cats `sit' when asked.
Letting rooms in a house bequeathed by his aunt, supplies interesting storylines. A student tenant in this first novel becomes associated with murder. He and his Mom, known since high school, give Charlie reason to look into the situation. I say four stars because the victim is disliked and has no personal poignancy for Charlie, nor we readers. Acclimatization to a setting in a series début takes time to gear up as it is.
`Miranda James' is a pleasure to read. His wonderful, vibrant, black culture names like `Kanesha' and `Azalea' resonate strikingly. The strong-willed dignity is astutely conveyed and so too, a man content in his middle-age.