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Arsenic and Old Books

(Cat in the Stacks #6)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,982 ratings  ·  310 reviews
In Athena, Mississippi, librarian Charlie Harris is known for his good nature—and for his Maine coon cat Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but taking the plunge into a recent acquisition will have him in over his head…

Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, has donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the ar
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Berkley (first published January 15th 2015)
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4.08  · 
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 ·  1,982 ratings  ·  310 reviews

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Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it

In this 6th book in the 'Cat in the Stacks' series, unearthed Civil War diaries spark murder. The book can be read as a standalone.


Charlie Harris, a middle-age southern gentleman, is the archivist at the Athena College library in the town of Athena, Mississippi. Charlie strolls to work every day with his pet Diesel - a Maine Coon cat. Though Diesel doesn't talk/solve mysteries/attack bad guys like cats in some mystery books he does enjoy being petted and pampered and getting treats.

As the
Lisa Ks Book Reviews
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I’ve read by Miranda James. I found it to be a well written story. It was a fast and easy read. The words felt as though they just flowed effortlessly from the author’s pen (keyboard).

ARESENIC AND OLD BOOKS, indeed the entire Cat In The Stack series, is told from the perspective of the lead character, who in the case is a man. I’ve never read a cozy with a male lead before. I found it to be refreshing. Charlie Harris is enjoyable, and I love his interactions with his Main
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015

Dollycas’s Thoughts

History and politics clash as 4 diaries dating back to the Civil War are donated to Athena College. As soon as word gets out of the acquisition people are banging down Charlie’s door to get their hands on them. Before Charlie can even get a good look at the books they are stolen from his office and a woman ends up dead. Just what is written in these diaries? Charlie feels obligated to find out but has to be careful because if the information has already gotten on person killed
Another get installment in this series. Spending time with Charlie and Diesel, is always a blast. The mystery was fun but the inner story involving the Civil War was very interesting and had me flipping pages fast to see, which family story turned out to be true. And I have to say, the title of this book was very clever, I didn't see how arsenic was going to play a part in this book until the end. I wished, there had been more characters involved with this story, like Charlie's son and daughter, ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Small town Southern politics, family secrets dating back to the Civil War and long-time family feuds. All these come to the forefront when the mayor of Athens donates a set of Civil War journals to the college. Charlie is in charge for preparing them for viewing. Things get wonky when a dead body turns up. This is a very good cozy series, made even better by the addition of Diesel, Charlie's Maine coon cat. Recommend!
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
When I have been reading a great number of books with heavy themes, my favorite way of taking a break is picking up a cozy mystery. There are a number of series that I enjoy in this genre but I discovered a series which is new to me… 'The Cat in the Stacks' series. 'Arsenic and Old Books' is actually the 6th installment in the series. I did not have any problem following the story but I liked the books so much that I intend to check out the earlier installments.

The story takes place in Athens, M
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

There's nothing more endearing than venturing into Librarian, Charlie Harris's and his Maine Cook cat, Diesel's world. A true southern gentleman in every sense of the word, Charlie is thrilled when mayor of Athena, Mississippi Lucinda Beckwith Long donates four volumes that turn into five of her husband's ansestor diaries to the archive at Athena College.

The word of the diaries on campus is soon out and a history professor who really wants tenure and a newspaper reporter who is looking to add fu
Joy Gerbode
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a fun mystery ... I especially like the way the protagonist is involved in the "thinking" about the mystery, but not really in the investigation (which he leaves to police). That's a more realistic scenario. I LOVE the cat ... he has such personality! I did think the resolution to the mystery came a little too quickly, or neatly ... I needed a bit more "solving" of the mystery.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just can't get enough of these endearing little mysteries. What, oh what, will I do until the next one comes out next year? This jumped from 4 to 5 stars with the extra story of how Diesel was found. Warm&fuzzies all around!
Miranda James' delightful Cat in the Stacks mystery series moves to hardcover with the publication of Arsenic and Old Books. All of the books combine mystery in a small college town with a charming Southern gentleman librarian who owns Diesel, a talkative Maine Coon cat. Or, as cat lovers would say, Charlie Harris is owned by Diesel. The mysteries are atmospheric with a close-knit cast of characters. In this case, James adds a fascinating search through Civil War diaries for the answer to a cont ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Fun cozy, love the protagonist's occupation--an archival librarian. Very accurate depiction of how the process works. (I do this for a hobby--I'm a fiction collection librarian for my regular job.)

This is my first book in the series, and I listened to it on audio. I liked Charlie, the protagonist, but the book is written in first person and was read by a woman, and I thought Charlie was female for the first few pages. Charlie is a very mild-mannered man--pleasant, academic, a nice guy.

On the oth
Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James.

Charlie Harris and Diesel are at his office upstairs in Athena's Public Library. Mayor Long is at the door with a request for Charlie to peruse old family diaries dating back to the Civil War. As soon as Charlie can declare them as originals from the Long family a new entry may be made to the library's archives.

Is that the only reason Mayor Long wants Charlie to examine the four volumes fou8nd in the Long family's attic? Could any information in those volum
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've long been a fan of Charlie Harris and his main coon cat, Diesel. In this latest tale, the town's mayor and grand dame, Lucinda Beckwith Long donates civil war era diaries of an ancestor of her husband. When a reporter and a college professor of Athena College express an intense interest in viewing them, Charlie, who is the librarian who works the archives of the college is harassed by their demands. The story centers around a political race between Beck Longworth, the mayor's son and Jasper ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
For a reading challenge, I needed to read another book about a librarian. I'm not a fan of cozy mysteries. I can read them without much eye rolling, but they seem to be a little too tame for me. I don't need dark and gritty, I just like there to be more depth.

This book, however, is the best cozy mystery I've ever read. I liked the characters more than the story. I also loved the fat cat. I will say that the story felt like it was written well. I just wasn't pulled in. It contained more of the b
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Arsenic and Old Books is the 6th book in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series.
The mayor of Athena donates four diaries to the library's archives.
Word gets out and a newspaper reporter and a history professor want access to them.
What is in those diaries that is so important!?
This was a fast paced story with Civil War history, murder and politics all mixed in.
Love this series.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another awesome book in the cat in the stacks series. Loved my visit with Diesel and Charlie. I'm so glad I picked this series up!
Karen B.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charlie Harris works in the college library and is in charge of the archives. The mayor donates some journals from one of her husband's ancestors during the Civil War. Immediately two people want exclusive access to the books before Charlie has even had time to enter them in. The diaries become the center of attention and one of the interested parties ends up to have been misleading Charles as to why she wants access. The other, a college professor, wants them to enable her to write something to ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cats, cozies, mystery
There are mysteries both old and new in this cozy featuring Charlie the librarian and Deisel the cat. When a set of Civil War diaries are donated to the library, much interest is arroused in their content. They stir up feelings of animosity between two rival politicians whose family feuds go back that far. More than one person wants to read the secrets contained in them. Throw in mystery deaths from that era, add in a current hit-and-run death, and top it off with the theft of books from Charlie ...more
Dawn Michelle
Anytime you add the Civil War to ANY story [even a cozy], there is bound to be a lot of sadness involved. Such is the case with this edition of the Cats in the Stacks mystery. Charlie and Diesel find themselves neck-deep in a mystery that involves murder and intrigue and the Civil War and someone bent on getting tenure no matter the cost.

This was a good read, but the best parts of the book are the diary itself and what Charlie finds there. It tells a story that is so sad and heartbreaking and y
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another cute book with Diesel - and Charlie, of course. Nice that our archivist didn't have to find the body this time! And I knew the cause of death for one of the cases right away, which was sort of neat, and sort of disappointing (seemed rather obvious).
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Arsenic And Old Books is the sixth book in the A Cat In The Stacks Mystery series.

Without a doubt this is my favorite series with a feline character. I love reading about Diesel and his human sidekick, Charlie Harris.

The story starts with the mayor of Athena, Lucinda Long, donating four diaries of the Long family that date back to the Civil War. Practically before Charlie Harris even has a chance to peruse this wonderful addition to the archives of Athena College, Marie Steverton assistant profe
Feb 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Baker
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, mystery
When the Athena College library receives a donation of an old diary kept by a resident from the Civil War, Charlie Harris is thrilled. However, before he can process them, he has two women demanding to see them immediately, and he is hearing claims that they might influence the current local election. When the diaries go missing, Charlie is concerned, but when someone turns up dead, he is truly puzzled. What exactly is in these diaries?

Between the past and the present, we are presented with a st
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Charlie Harris, part-time archivist at Athena College, receives a donation from the mayor's husband's family--four Civil War era diaries of one of the ancestral Longs. Several people--a professor and a journalist to the fore--want to see them, but they're stolen before anyone gets a chance to read the contents. Then the professor dies, and the books are returned, along with a fifth partial volume the mayor has just found. Everyone (except maybe Charlie) is sure that the diaries will prove key to ...more
Sue Ross
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Politics and the Civil War are the main theme of this installment of The Cat in the Stacks series. The mayor’s son is running for office and his family will help him win at any cost. But will that cost be at the expense of someone’s life or will it be something else? Is he really fit to be in office or will a little lie many many years ago take him out of the election? This is another great book in the series. I love how the clues fall together in the end and all is uncovered. The bonus to this ...more
 Gigi Ann
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
My Thoughts...

"Arsenic And Old Books" is the sixth and latest book in this series. It was a perfect cozy read for these last two hot and steamy lazy summer days. I grabbed a glass of sweet iced tea and cuddled up with the book here in My Reading Corner.

I again enjoyed my visit with Charlie and Diesel the Cat. The story flowed along nicely making the time fly by as I quickly turned the pages to see how Charlie would solve yet another mystery in the small town of Athena, Mississippi.

This book is p
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first cozy series that I read and have kept up with it ever since. Not a lot of action in these books but I've always liked the characters, especially Diesel the cat. The story moved along okay but since it involved historical documents and a lot of reading there was even less activity than usual in the book.

The big plus was the short story in the back of the book about how Charlie met Diesel and brought him home.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-2018-may
Book #6 in Cat in the Stacks series. Same format as usual. Enjoyable. 4 stars

Favorite comment:

True gastronomic delight
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

I picked this to read this week because this is National Library Week. I was looking for something that related to libraries in some way, and I was in the mood for a little bit of comfort reading. Any entry in the Cat in the Stacks series always fills both of those requirements!

I think that my friend Attila the Archivist would have a field day with this one. Not only does she love cats (Diesel is always a sweetie) but the mystery revolves around some Civil
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: daniele, jeanie

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele

As the archive and rare books librarian at the local Athena, Mississippi, college, Charlie Harris is excited to receive a collection of Civil War era diaries from the mayor’s husband’s family. The mayor hopes that authenticating and preserving the diaries will reiterate the Long’s long standing position in the community and reinforce her son Beck’s chances of becoming a state senator. Charlie has barely taken possessi
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