Tag Archives: Miranda James

A day in the life with Miss An’gel Ducote by Miranda James

When you live in a house like Riverhill, occupied by your family for going on two hundred years, you have to accept the fact that people have died in the house. Most of them died of natural causes, but there could be one or two who were helped along the way to that white light. There’s no way to know for sure, and those who went unwillingly might try to linger in some form.

My sister Dickce and I have observed odd things over the many decades of our lives at Riverhill. The occasional inexplicable cold spot in the house, a door that doesn’t like to stay closed, small objects discovered in places they don’t normally reside. Nothing frightening – just odd. If you ask me whether I think Riverhill is haunted, I’d laugh and say it isn’t.

I don’t know what your definition of haunted is, but mine would include malicious spirits – if I really believed in ghosts. I tend to believe that there is usually a human hand behind most allegedly ghostly occurrences. For example, I wouldn’t put it past my sister to be the one sneaking around the house, moving things, and then claiming that she isn’t responsible.

Now, however, Dickce and I are responding to a plea from Mary Turner Catlin, granddaughter of an old friend, to figure out the source of weird goings-on in her home in Natchez. Mary Turner and her husband, Henry Howard Catlin, operate Cliffwood as a bed-and-breakfast. Mary Turner thinks there’s a ghost loose at Cliffwood, and she’s afraid if word gets out, they’ll lose business. They can’t afford to lose business, because they might lose the house that has belonged to her family for generations.

I have no doubt that the troubles are caused by human hands, but the question of course is, who is behind this? Dickce and I, along with our ward, Benjy Stephens, and our two pets, Peanut the labradoodle and Endora the Abyssinian, will be heading to Natchez to sort out the problem. I enjoy a challenge, but figuring out the motive for these shenanigans, how they are done, and who is responsible shouldn’t really be all that tough.

You can read more about Miss An’gel in Fixing To Die, the fourth book in the “Southern Ladies” mystery series.

It’s autumn down south, and An’gel and Dickce Ducote are in Natchez, Mississippi, at the request of Mary Turner Catlin, the granddaughter of an old friend. Mary and her husband, Henry Howard, live in Cliffwood, one of the beautiful antebellum homes for which Natchez is famous.

Odd things have been happening in the house for years, and the French Room in particular has become the focal point for spooky sensations. The Ducotes suspect the ghostly goings-on are caused by the living, but when a relative of the Catlins is found dead in the room, An’gel and Dickce must sift through a haunted family history to catch a killer.

Buy Link

# # # # # # # # # # #

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Fixing To Die. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 7, 2017. Good luck everyone!

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Miranda James grew up in Mississippi on a farm but sadly, the house wasn’t an antebellum mansion. Mysteries set in old houses have always intrigued Miranda, and the books in the Southern Ladies series are all linked to antebellum houses. In addition to this series, Miranda also writes the best-selling “Cat in the Stacks” series featuring librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Their latest adventure, Claws for Concern, will be out in February 2018.

All comments are welcomed.

The Expectation with Miss Dickce Ducote by Miranda James

Digging Up The DirtI just heard the most fascinating news, and I can’t wait to get home to tell my sister An’gel. My older sister, that is. The look on her face when I tell her! Oh, this is going to be good. . .

A friend told me that Hadley Partridge, of all people, has turned up in Athena again. He left town forty years ago under odd circumstances, and no one has seen hide nor hair of him since. Not a word, at least that any of us in the Athena Garden Club has heard. But he’s back in town, or so people are saying, and he’s supposed to turn up at the board meeting the garden club is having.

Forty years ago, he was the most handsome, the most charming, and the most infuriating man in Athena. Rumors were always flying about who Hadley’s latest conquest might be. I was never one of them, mind you, but I suspected at the time that An’gel, my older sister, might have succumbed. That’s why I can’t wait to see her expression when she hears the news.

I also can’t wait to see what Hadley looks like after forty years. Some men age so well, and it will be such a disappointment to all of us if Hadley comes back with a pot-belly, a receding hairline, and false teeth. I’ve never looked forward to a garden club board meeting this much!

Digging Up the Dirt is the third book in the Southern Ladies mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, September 2016.

The New York Times bestselling author of Dead with the Wind and Bless Her Dead Little Heart is back with more of those sleuthing Southern belles, the Ducote sisters. . .

An’gel and Dickce Ducote, busy with plans for the Athena Garden Club’s spring tour of grand old homes, are having trouble getting the other club members to help. The rest of the group is all a-flutter now that dashing and still-eligible Hadley Partridge is back to restore his family mansion. But the idle chatter soon turns deadly serious when a body turns up on the Partridge estate after a storm. . .

The remains might belong to Hadley’s long-lost sister-in-law, Callie, who everyone thought ran off with Hadley years ago. And if it’s not Callie, who could it be? As the Ducotes begin uncovering secrets, they discover that more than one person in Athena would kill to be Mrs. Partridge. Now An’gel and Dickce will need to get their hands dirty if they hope to reveal a killer’s deep-buried motives before someone else’s name is mud. . .

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Miranda James is the New York Times-bestselling author of two series, the “Southern Ladies” mysteries and the “Cat in the Stacks” mysteries. Miranda lives near Jackson, Mississippi, has two cats and thousands of books. By day, Miranda is a medical librarian, at night and on weekends, a serial murderer. . . but only in the pages of fiction.

All comments are welcomed.

An’gel Ducote’s Plan For The Road Trip by Miranda James

Dead with the WindAn’gel Ducote set down her coffee cup and looked at her sister across the breakfast table. “I think we ought go a few days early. I’m sure Mireille and Jacqueline will need help with last-minute preparations for the wedding.”

Dickce Ducote sighed. “I just knew you were going to suggest that.” She picked up a piece of buttered toast and stared at it for a moment, then put it back on the plate. “I’ve already had three. That’s enough.” She didn’t sound happy about it, though.

“As we’ve lived together nearly eighty years, Sister,” An’gel replied with a touch of acid in her tone, “I’d be surprised if you hadn’t known. The point is, you know how much there is to do at the last minute. We’ve certainly helped out with other family weddings.”

“Mireille is a distant cousin,” Dickce pointed out. Mireille Champlain, related to the sisters on the maternal side, lived in St. Ignatiusville, Louisiana, with her daughter Jacqueline and her husband, and Jacqueline’s daughter by her first marriage, Sondra, the bride-to-be. “I forget how many times removed.”

“Removed or not,” An’gel said, “she’s still family, and Jacqueline is, after all, my god-daughter. I feel we should be there early to help.”

“I know there’s no use in my resisting,” Dickce said. “You always get your way. I just want to remind you, though, about how annoying you’ve always found Sondra.”

“She is certainly one of the most spoiled child I’ve ever known,” An’gel admitted. “Surely by now, though, she’s grown out of some of that.”

Dickce snorted. “With Mireille and Jacqueline giving in to her all the time? Don’t you bet on it.” She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms across her chest while she regarded her sister with a speculative expression. “Tell you what, I’ll agree to go a couple of days early, but we have to take Benjy, Peanut, and Endora with us.”

“Take the dog and the cat to the wedding? Seriously? I don’t think so.” An’gel echoed her sister’s snort. “Besides, I’m sure Benjy would rather stay here and look after them, rather than go to a family occasion with people he doesn’t know.”

“I think you’re wrong. Benjy would enjoy a trip like that,” Dickce said. “Anyway, Peanut and Endora will pine away for us if we leave them behind.”

An’gel knew her sister could be every bit as stubborn as she herself was. “Very well,” she said. “They can go. Benjy will probably be bored stiff, but it’s your doing.”

When the sisters travel to Louisiana with their ward, Benjy, Peanut the labradoodle, and Endora the Abyssinian, the family wedding turns out to be anything but boring. You can read all about it in Dead with the Wind, the second book in the “Southern Ladies” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Bless Her Dead Little Heart.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Thursday, October 8 for the chance to win a print copy of Dead With The Wind. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone! Two lucky commenters will be randomly selected.

About the author
Miranda James is the New York Times-bestselling author the Southern Ladies and the Cat in the Stacks mystery series. A librarian at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Miranda lives in the Jackson, Mississippi area with two cats and thousands of books.  Visit Miranda at southernladies

Author Showcase ~ Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James

Arsenic and Old Books

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 archives of Athena College. The books were recently discovered among the personal effects of an ancestor of Mrs. Long’s husband. The mayor would like Charlie to preserve and to substantiate them as a part of the Long family legacy—something that could benefit her son, Beck, as he prepares to campaign for the state senate.

Beck’s biggest rival is Jasper Singletary. His Southern roots are as deep as Beck’s, and their families have been bitter enemies since the Civil War. Jasper claims the Long clan has a history of underhanded behavior at the expense of the Singletarys. He’d like to get a look at the diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family’s past sins. Meanwhile, a history professor at the college is also determined to get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure. But their interest suddenly turns deadly. . .

Now Charlie is left with a catalog of questions. The diaries seem worth killing for, and one thing is certain: Charlie will need to be careful, because the more he reads, the closer he could be coming to his final chapter. . .

Release: January 2015
Series: Cat in the Stacks #6
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on February 5 for the chance to win a copy of Arsenic and Old Books. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours of giveaway ending.

About the author
Miranda James is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Cat in the Stacks” books featuring Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Miranda currently resides in Mississippi with two cats and thousands of books.

Website | Facebook

A Conversation With Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote by Miranda James

Bless Her Dead Little Heart“I don’t know what I was thinking.” Miss An’gel frowned at her sister, the younger by about four years. “What business do we have baby-sitting a cat?”

“Oh, hush, Sister.” Miss Dickce stroked Diesel’s head. “He’ll think you don’t want him here. You know what a well-behaved kitty he is.” She giggled. “Not to mention how smart. I’m sure he knows we’re talking about him.”

Diesel warbled loudly as Dickce continued the pleasurable rubbing of his head.

“See, told you.” Dickce flashed a triumphant smile at her sister.

“I grant you he’s the smartest thing on four legs I ever did see,” An’gel replied. “What on earth will we do if he gets sick or eats the wrong thing? Charlie will never forgive us if anything happens to his cat.”

“You are in a mood today,” Dickce said. “I’ll just start calling you Dour Dora and be done with it.”

An’gel frowned at her sister. “I’m not dour, just thinking responsibly, that’s all.”

Dickce rolled her eyes at her sister. “They’re only going to be gone about three weeks. Don’t start imagining disasters.” She encouraged Diesel to stretch out across her lap. He was so large, however, only about half of him could cover her. “We have a quiet month ahead of us, and we can relax and enjoy ourselves.”

“True,” An’gel said. August was a quiet month for charity and committee work.

The doorbell rang. An’gel frowned. “Who on earth could that be?”

That turns out to be Rosabelle Sultan, their old sorority sister. True to form, Rosabelle brings trouble in her wake, and soon the Ducote sisters find themselves in the midst of a murder investigation. Find out what happens on October 7th, when Bless Her Dead Little Heart goes on sale!

You can read more about Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce in Bless Her Dead Little Heart, the first book in the new “Southern Ladies” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on October 10 for the chance to win a signed copy of BLESS HER DEAD LITTLE HEART. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
Miranda James is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Cat in the Stacks” books featuring Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Bless Her Dead Little Heart launches a new series, the “Southern Ladies” mysteries featuring Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, who made their debut in Out of Circulation. Miranda currently resides in Houston, Texas, with two cats and thousands of books.

Website | Facebook

The Silence of the Library by Miranda James

The Silence of the LibraryThe Silence of the Library by Miranda James is the fifth book in the “Cat in the Stacks” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, February 2014

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but a celebrated author’s visit draws an unruly swarm of fanatic mystery buffs…and one devious killer!

It’s National Library Week, and the Athena Public Library is planning an exhibit to honor the centenary of famous novelist Electra Barnes Cartwright—creator of the beloved Veronica Thane series.

Charlie has a soft spot for Cartwright’s girl detective stories (not to mention an extensive collection of her books!). When the author agrees to make a rare public appearance, the news of her whereabouts goes viral overnight, and series devotees and book collectors converge on Athena.

After all, it’s rumored that Cartwright penned Veronica Thane stories that remain under wraps, and one rabid fan will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get hold of the rare books.

Charlie is thrilled to meet one of his favorite author from his childhood and when she agrees to make an appearance at the library’s exhibit which has become the talk small town Athena. Trouble soon follows when the president of the author’s fan club is murdered and Charlie is pulled into the fray to find a killer. Charlie ponders why was she murdered? Was it something she said or did? You’ll discover the answers in this well-written book that quickly became a page-turner.

This book had a natural flow that made it easy to follow and hard to put down. The author did a good job in supply us with plenty of viable suspects and clues that when all was said and done, led to a “wow” moment that I didn’t see coming until after reading the story within the story, which by the way, was nicely done. Charlie is at the top of his game, especially when it all came together as he unraveled that last piece of the puzzle that would eventually lead to the apprehension of the killer and what a surprise that was. The best part of the book was the last few chapters waiting with anticipation as to how it was all going to end. It was also good seeing Charlie and Kanesha coming together on this case. Again, a great read and I look forward to the next book in this endearing series.

Out of Circulation by Miranda James

out of circulationOut of Circulation by Miranda James is the 4th book in the “Cat in the Stacks” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, January 2013

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but when a feud erupts between the town’s richest ladies, the writing on the wall spells murder.

The Ducote sisters are in a tiff with Vera Cassity over the location of this year’s library fund-raising gala, and Charlie would rather curl up in a corner than get into the fray. It seems everyone–even his housekeeper, Azalea–has it in for Vera. And at the gala, she gives them good reason, with a public display of rancor aimed at anyone who gets in her way.

But those bitter words wind up being her last. When Charlie discovers Azalea standing over Vera’s dead body, it’s up to him–with a little help from Diesel–to clear Azalea’s name, and catch a killer before his last chapter is finished.

When his housekeeper becomes tangled in a murder, Charlie dons his investigation cap and in the process uncovers some deep dark secrets, one of which will lead to the apprehension of the killer.

WOW! I could not put this book down once I started. I always get a sense of home coming every time I make a visit to Athena where I get to spend time with Charlie, Diesel and the rest of the gang, especially when there’s a murder mystery to solve. The author did a great job in keeping me glued to the pages as I had to know what was going to happen next. A lot of warm felt emotions were played out in this story, especially when the killer was revealed. This is the best book ever in this magnificent series and I can’t wait to see what adventures the Harris clan will have on our next visit.

Trouble on Board by Miranda James

out of circulationI believe that a strong public library is an essential part of the community, and I do what I can to support the Athena Public Library. Working as a volunteer doing cataloging and reference several afternoons a month allows me to keep my hand in. After all, I was a public library manager in Houston for many years before I moved back home to Mississippi. My Maine Coon cat, Diesel, also enjoys going to the library. He has been a great hit with the staff and the patrons alike. He’s very sociable, and his unusual size (he weighs thirty-six pounds now, and he’s not overweight, he’s just big) always gets people talking.

When the library director, Teresa Farmer, first approached me about serving as a member of the board of the Friends of Athena Public Library, I was honored. My dear friend Helen Louise Brady – owner of a wonderful French bakery in Athena – had to step down after more than a decade of service, and she recommended I take her spot.

I told Teresa I’d be happy to accept, and then I started querying Helen Louise about just what serving on the board entailed. (And, yes, I should have asked that first before I agreed to do it. This wouldn’t be the first time my enthusiasm had led me into the path of trouble.) According to Helen Louise, the big event was the annual Friends gala, held in December, as a major fundraiser. I haven’t been to one, and now I’m a bit anxious about attending my first one.

The duties weren’t onerous, Helen Louise assured me. The only potential problem was apparently the fighting among certain of the board members about who would do what – like host the gala, for example. The two bedrocks of Athena society, the octogenarian Ducote sisters, kept everything under tight control. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce had run things for six decades, and they weren’t about to cede control to anyone. The trouble was, Vera Cassity had her sights set on becoming queen bee, and Vera had all the sensitivity of a rhino with a headache. Plus she had a chip on her shoulder the size of Memphis because she grew up poor and now has a lot of “new” money, thanks to her businessman husband, Morty.

Things could get pretty dicey before the gala is history…

You can read more about Charlie in Out of Circulation, the fourth book in the “Cat in the Stacks” mystery series. The first book in the series is Murder Past Due.

** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of OUT OF CIRCULATION to give away. Contest open to US residents only and ends January 30. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Meet the author
Miranda James is the pseudonym for an Agatha and Macavity Award-winning author who has published eighteen mystery novels, along with several short stories and works of mystery non-fiction. A librarian in Houston, Miranda has two young cats running riot through the house and thousands of books. Visit Miranda at www.catinthestacks.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

File M for Murder by Miranda James

File M for Murder by Miranda James is the third book in the “Cat In the Stacks” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), January 2012

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the good-natured librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but his daughter’s unexpected visit may take them all for a walk…straight into trouble!

Athena College’s new writer in residence is a famous native son, playwright Connor Lawton, known for his sharp writing—and sharper tongue. After an unpleasant encounter, librarian Charlie Harris heads home to a nice surprise: his daughter, Laura, is subbing for another Athena professor this fall semester. It’s great news until he hears who got her the job: her old flame Connor Lawton.

Fearing competition for Connor’s affection, one of his admirers tries to drive Laura out of town. And then, before Connor finishes the play he is writing, he is murdered—and Laura is the prime suspect. Knowing she’s innocent, Charlie and his faithful sidekick, Diesel, follow Connor’s cluttered trail of angry lovers, bitter enemies, and intriguing library research to find the true killer before his daughter is forever catalogued under “M”—for murderer.

What a happy surprise for Charlie as his daughter, Laura, arrives for a visit that includes teaching at the local college. Laura’s visit is later marred when her ex-boyfriend is found dead and her life is threatened. This was a good read and I love the pace of this well-written story. I adore the relationship that Charlie has with his family and friends in this character-driven tale. I look forward to the next book in this enjoyably charming series.