Arsenic and Old Books

A Cat in the Stacks Mystery #6

by Miranda James

Berkley Prime Crime


February 2, 2016

ISBN-10: 0425277534

ISBN-13: 9780425277539

Available in: Paperback (reprint)

Arsenic and Old Books
by Miranda James

The New York Times bestselling author of The
Silence of the Library
returns with a tale of books
worth killing for…


Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, Mississippi, has
donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the archives of
Athena College. She would like librarian Charlie Harris to
preserve and 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 would like to get a look at the
diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family’s past
sins. Meanwhile, a history professor is also determined to
get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure.
But their interest suddenly turns deadly, leaving Charlie
with a catalog of questions to answer. Together with his
Maine Coon cat Diesel, Charlie must discover why the diaries
were worth killing for before he too reaches his final chapter.


Originally published February 2015 in hardcover.

Miranda James' Bio

Miranda James is the pseudonym of Dean James, a seventh-generation Mississippian long transplanted to Texas. A mystery fan since the age of ten, he wrote his first novel at the ripe old age of twelve. The only copy of The Mystery of the Willow Key vanished years ago, but since it was highly derivative of the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series, that’s probably a good thing.

A medical librarian for nearly twenty years, Dean has published articles on topics in library science, the history of science/medicine, and mystery fiction. His first book, which he co-wrote with fellow librarian Jean Swanson, was By a Woman’s Hand (Berkley; 1994). Jean and Dean won an Agatha Award for Best Mystery Non-Fiction and were nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Edgar for Best Critical-Biographical work for this popular reference book. A second edition followed two years later, and Dean and Jean collaborated on two further projects, Killer Books (Berkley; 1998) and The Dick Francis Companion (Berkley; 2003). In all he has co-authored or co-edited six works of mystery reference and one short story anthology. With Elizabeth Foxwell he wrote The Robert B. Parker Companion (Berkley; 200).

His first novel, Cruel as the Grave (Silver Dagger Mysteries) was published in 2000. Since then he has published eighteen more novels, writing under his own name and the pseudonyms Jimmie Ruth Evans and Honor Hartman. In August 2010 he launched a new series writing as Miranda James. The first book under this name, Murder Past Due (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99) spent four weeks on the extended New York Times bestseller list for mass market paperbacks. The next book in the series, Classified as Murder (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99), published in May 2011, also hit the NYT list. The third book, File M for Murder (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99) is out now. The fourth book, Out of Circulation (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99) debuted at no. 11 on the bestseller list. Book five, The Silence of the Library (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99) is just out, and there are more books to come in the series.

Dean lives with two young cats, thousands of books, and thinks frequently about killing people — but only in the pages of fiction.