Telling Tales

telling tails 4

Telling Tails
Second Chance Cat: Book 4

Sofie Ryan
Berkley Prime Crime, 2017

From the back of the book, “When Sarah Grayson opened a secondhand shop in the quaint town of North Harbor, Maine, she was expecting peace and quiet. But then she was adopted by a rescue cat named Elvis and a kooky trio of senior sleuths known as Charlotte’s Angels. Now, she has nine lives worth of excitement…

“Sarah’s friend and employee Rose is delivering a customer’s purchase when the quick errand becomes a deadly escapade. Rose arrives just in time to see the customer murdered by his wife, but before she can call the police, she is knocked out cold. When she wakes ups, no one believes her, especially after the woman claims her husband is very much alive and has left her for someone else—and has a text message and empty bank account to prove it.

“Despite her convincing story, Sarah is sure something fishy—and it’s not Elvis’s kitty treats. Sara, Elvis and the Angels are determined to unravel this mysterious yarn, before the feral killer pounces again…”

In most cozy mysteries the murder takes place within the first couple of chapters. However, in this tale, we are led to think a murder has taken place only to not be completely sure until 3/4s of the way in the book. Rose’s friends believe her (although it takes some convincing) but the police definitely think she’s just a little old lady who’s had a stroke or something. And, just when I thought I had it all figured out, then, SURPRISE!, the murderer was not who I thought it was. This is a fun series filled with intrigue, almost-romance and a lie-detecting cat. Excellent!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws

Reviewer: BobbieSue

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A Whisker of Trouble

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A Whisker of Trouble
Second Chance Cat Mystery, Book 3

Sofie Ryan
Obsidian, 2016

From the back of the book: “Spring has come to charming North Harbor, Maine, and with the new season comes a new haul for Sarah Grayson’s shop, Second Chance, where she sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. Sarah is turning her keen eye to the estate of collector Edison Hall, hoping for fabulous finds for Second Chance – but when her rescue cat, Elvis, discovers a body in the kitchen, everything goes paws up.

“The body belongs to an appraiser who was hired to check out Edison’s wine collection. when Edison’s sister shows up at Second Chance, she hires Sarah’s friends – the kooky and charismatic who call themselves Charlotte’s’ Angels and work out of the shop. To solve the murder, Sarah knows she and Elvis are going only to get deeper into the case. But as it becomes a cat-and-mouse game of lies, cons, cheats, and family squabbles, can Elvis and Sarah claw their way to the truth before the kittler slinks away forever?”

Another great installment of the Second Chance Cat series. I’m going to miss this series when I’m finished getting caught up. I’ve come to quite like the ‘little old ladies’ who make up the detective team. Its definitely formulaic, as just about all cozies are, but it’s a well-put-together formula. The Angels do most of the leg work but its Sarah who figures out who the killer is – just in time to be almost killed. She fights back, Elvis attacks the attacker, and then one of her kooky friends rescues her from oblivion. Sarah’s almost-romance takes a step in the right direction and Elvis gets tons of sardines for being a hero. Oh, and the mystery is pretty good, too. I had my suspicions about who it was, and I was right! I love it when I guess who the culprit is, although I can’t ever figure out why!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for a fun cozy mystery (if murder could be called fun!).

Reviewer: BobbieSue

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Faux Paw

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Faux Paw
Magical Cats: Book 7

Sofie Kelly
Obsidian, 2015

From the back of the book, “Normally, the arrival of an art exhibition at the Mayville Heights library would be cause for celebration. But thanks to the overbearing curator and the high-tech security system that comes with the show, Kathleen’s life has been completely disrupted. Even Owen and Hercules have been affected, since their favorite human doesn’t seem to have a spare moment to make their favorite fish crackers or listen to Barry Manilow.

“But when Kathleen stops by the library late one night and finds the curator sprawled on the floor—and the exhibition’s most valuable sketch missing—it’s suddenly time to canvass a crime scene. Now Kathleen, her detective boyfriend, Marcus, and her clever cats have to sniff out a murderous thief before anyone else has a brush with death….”

I feel like I’m repeating myself when I say I like this book a lot. And, maybe I am, since I’ve read 7 of them in a row and have two more before I’m all caught up! I just hope you’re not bored by reading the reviews. What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this mystery series? Oh – I know! There were no spelling errors we could find (not that there weren’t any, we just didn’t see any) which is outstanding – especially after Book 6 (see previous Magical Cats review).

In this book, the murderer is somewhat of a surprise. After the perpetrator was revealed, I thought back over the story and realized the clues were there, I just didn’t see them. I guess I was too caught up in Owen and Hercules to pay attention. Also, before this book, the magical cats worked their clue finding abilities in the presence of only Kathleen, but in this one, they find clues right in front of Marcus, so maybe in the next book (or the next) Kathleen will come clean to Marcus about all of their magical talents!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for a pair of handsome cats, especially Hercules, who’s a tuxie like me!!

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

A Midwinter’s Tail

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A Midwinter’s Tail
Magical Cats: Book 6

Sofie Kelly
Obsidian, 2014

From the back of the book, “Winter in Mayville Heights is busy and not just because of the holidays. Kathleen is hard at work organizing a benefit to raise money for the library’s popular Reading Buddies program. She has her hands full hosting the event. And when a guest at the gala drops dead, her magical cats, Owen and Hercules, will have their paws full helping her solve the murder.

“The victim is the ex of town rascal Burtis Chapman, but she hasn’t lived in the area in years. And though everybody is denying knowledge of why she was back in town, as Kathleen and her detective boyfriend, Marcus, begin nosing around, they discover more people are connected to the deceased than claimed to be. Now Marcus, Kathleen, and her uncanny cats have to unravel this midwinter tale before the case gets cold.”

That’s right – Kathleen finally got together with Marcus. Thank goodness! Their on-again, off-again relationship was making me crazy. It’s stuff like that that can make me stop reading a series of books because it’s just so mind numbing –  for me, anyway. This mystery was another good one. I was really surprised when the murderer was revealed, although when I think about it, the clues were fairly obvious, I just didn’t pick up on them! Like any good mystery, there were a lot of red herrings and possible suspects to sift through, but Kathleen, Owen and Hercules figured it out.

The one thing that bugged me throughout the novel was a consistent misspelling of the victim’s name. She was introduced to the reader as Dayna Chapman. But about 1/3rd the way in the name was spelled Dana. From then on, through out the rest of the book the spelling of the name went back and forth between Dayna and Dana – sometimes in the same paragraph! Now for some folks, this wouldn’t bother them; but me – it bugged me big time. As we’ve said in previous reviews, misspelling in published novels is inexcusable due to the number of times the book is read/edited before printing. For non-professionally published cats like ourselves, an occasional spelling snafu is acceptable if our humom misses it. Therefore, we are resolved to point out spelling/grammar errors when we find them in published books!

Rating 3 out of 5 paws – Even though I love the way the author makes sure the library figures heavily in this series, the frequent spelling errors (make up your mind, author/editors how you want to spell the victim’s name!) brought the review down a whole paw.

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

Final Catcall

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Final Catcall
Magical Cats: Book 5

Sofie Kelly
Obsidian, 2013

From the back of the book, “With her sort-of boyfriend Marcus calling it quits and her ex-boyfriend Andrew showing up out of the blue, Kathleen has more than enough drama to deal with—and that’s before a local theater festival relocates to Mayville Heights. Now the town is buzzing with theater folk, and many of them have their own private dramas with the director, Hugh Davis.

“When Davis is found shot to death by the marina, he leaves behind evidence of blackmail and fraud, as well as an ensemble of suspects. Kathleen, with a little help from her feline friends Owen and Hercules, will have to catch the real killer before another victim takes a final curtain call.”

I hope you’re not getting tired of reading these reviews for all these cozy mysteries because I have 3 more in this series before I move on to something else. Maybe I’ll take a breather and let Toby do some reviews! Anyway, besides the frustrating on-again, off-again romance of Kathleen and Marcus, which I’m finding rather tedious, this was another good book in the Magical Cats series. As usual, the murderer wasn’t who I thought it was – I’m really not good at picking up on the clues. The author always throws in some red herrings to throw the reader off so that when Kathleen finally reveals the perpetrator, its’ always a surprise and I put paw to forehead and say, “Darn! Why didn’t I see that?”

In this book we get to meet Andrew, the boyfriend who caused Kathleen flee Boston for the wilds of Minnesota. He’s a thoroughly charming guy, making all of Kathleen’s friends fall for him. Will she or won’t she go back to Andrew? No spoilers here, but I have started the next book in the series, if that offers a tantalizing clue for you! We also get to meet Kathleen’s mom who has more than one opinion about Marcus and Andrew. Basically, she’s like any momma-cat – don’t mess with her kittens or you’ll get a face full of claws and fur!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws – good mystery and extraordinary cats make for a wonderful combination!!

Reviewer: BobbieSue

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