Murder Go Round

murder go round

Murder Go Round
A Witch City Mystery #4

Kensington Publishing Corp, 2017

From the back of the book, “Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder.

“Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past—until her policeman boyfriend reports a dean man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee’s trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What’s the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubble-gum chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O’Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee’s set on catching the murderer … before she’s sent on the darkest ride of her life.”

Murder Go Round is an excellent cozy mystery!! I’m new to the series – it’s one of those books mom happened to see at the library and since it had an orange tabby on the front cover, she decided to pick it up for me to read. Of course, Toby, the Great Orange One (in his own mind) said it was too bad the main character was a woman – otherwise he would have read it. He loves reading about orange cats and imagining himself in its place. There are three other books and mom already has a hold on them at the library so expect more reviews in the near future!!

The setting is Salem, Massachusetts and so witch fever abounds! The main character, Lee, has a gift of seeing visions, past, present and future – pretty handy when it comes to solving crimes. Also handy is a psychic cat who provides clues to Lee – if she would pay attention. Also, very helpful is Aunt Ibby who is a former reference librarian who is second to none in researching odd topics!

The mystery was well done – I didn’t realize what the bad guys were after until it was revealed and, looking back on all the clues provided – it made perfect sense. The one death was only seen through a vision and a couple of the visions Lee had were a little scary, even for me a small cat safe at home, reading in bed. The only other yukky scene was when Lee found a secondary character beaten and tied up. The murderer was pretty obvious but the mystery was not necessarily in who but in why. In books like these it’s about the motive, unraveling the clues and getting to the truth.

Rating 4 paws out of 5 for the storyline having a solid mystery based in historical facts, colorful characters and a wise orange tabby cat!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue

The Improbable Cat

the improbable cat

The Improbable Cat

Allen Ahlberg
Illustrated by Peter Bailey
Delacorte Press, 2004

From the dust jacket, “It all begins when David’s family takes in a stray kitten. At least, that’s what the creature appears to be. But David and his faithful dog, Billy, immediately sense something terribly amiss. Then indeed “something crazy—impossible—horrific” happens….”

The story is told from David’s viewpoint – as a witness to a very, very strange occurrence. His family does indeed take in a small grey kitten, but from then on, the kitten – if you could call it a kitten – transforms into something weirdly cat/human-like and hypnotizes David’s family into serving it day and night. Only David and his dog, Billy, are unaffected. Somehow David has to rescue his family – and get rid of the “cat”.

This is a great little mystery – what could the creature be? What is it doing to David’s family? And why? All these questions – and more – popped up in my mind as I read this book. The copy I read is small (only 4.5 x 6.5 inches) and 92 pages long, but it packs a punch. Its classified for youth but, really, adults would enjoy it as well. This is the kind of story you read (or tell) around a campfire at night or some other spooky location. The ending is a little less than satisfactory – but that’s because David still has questions about what happened. If you like ghost stories and unanswered mysteries, this is the book for you!!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for being creepy, spooky and fun all at the same time.

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue

the improbable cat a

This is how the story begins.

 

the improbable cat b

This is how it almost ends!!!

Purr M for Murder

purr m for murder

Purr M for Murder
A Cat Rescue Mystery

T. C. LoTempio
Crooked Lane Books, an imprint of The Quick Brown Fox & Company, LLC., 2017

From the dust jacket, “Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina, and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat – along with Littleton’s dead body.

“Local homicide detective Will Worthington—who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush—is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local business whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death—until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.”

Toby and I argued over who would read this book – I said I should because it’s the protagonist is female and he said he should read it because the story revolves around an orange and white tabby named Toby who solves a murder. We decided to read it together; he of course wanted to emphasize all the ‘Toby’ parts, but since I’m writing the actual review, I’ll tell you about the whole book.

We both enjoyed this little murder mystery – it had us guessing until the end – the murder of Littleton takes place off stage – so there’s no violence in the beginning, but things do get a little dicey for Sydney when she uncovers who the murder is and they try to get her. (Toby wants to insert here that his namesake saves the day!!!). I liked the concept of surrounding this ‘cozy’ at a pet shelter – and the cat café idea is really cool to let folks meet their new feline companions.

It’s a standard genre mystery – with the main character a strong, independent-minded woman who is not in law enforcement but gets involved in solving crimes and has a relationship with a man who is in law enforcement, who continually cautions her not to get involved but understands and forgives her when she gets herself into trouble. That’s not a bad thing – its’ just part of the genre. I wouldn’t want a steady diet of these books, but they’re a nice break from all the other books we read and review.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because the story is an enjoyable and convoluted mystery with likeable characters that includes cats!!! Toby wants to interject here that he gives it 5 paws because the hero of the book is Toby!

Reviewer: BobbieSue
bobbiesue-loc

(and…)

toby-loc

Toby

Twelve Angry Librarians

twelve angry librarians

Twelve Angry Librarians
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Miranda James
Berkley Prime Crime, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Lighthearted librarian Charlie Harris is known around his hometown of Athena, Mississippi, for walking his cat, a rescued Maine Coon named Diesel. But he may soon be taken for a walk himself—in handcuffs…

“Charlie is stressed. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding this year’s annual meeting at Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he must deliver the welcome speech to all the visiting librarians. As if that weren’t bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie’s old nemesis from library school.

“It’s been thirty years since Charlie has seen Gavin Fong and he’s still an insufferable know-it-all capable of getting under everyone’s skin. In his keynote, Gavin puts forth a most unpopular opinion: that degreed librarians will be obsolete in the academic libraries of the future. So when Gavin drops dead, no one seems too upset…

“But Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin the day before, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must check out every clue to refine their search for the real killer among them, before the next book Charlie reads comes from a prison library…”

Sorry for the long introduction; we here at the Library usually try to keep those dust jacket intros short but sometimes it’s hard with adult fiction. Anyway, despite the intro being a little long and a bit salacious (you know our hero, Charlie, is never in any danger of going to prison!!) the book was outstanding. I read it in two days. I waited three months on the hold list for the book and read it so fast I feel guilty. I may have to read it again before I turn it back in!

This light, cozy mystery is a good read and while you know right off who is going to get murdered (in cozies, it’s always the most obnoxious person in the first couple of chapters) its’ less easy to figure out who did the killing. This mystery is a good one and I didn’t figure it out – I had to wait until Charlie revealed who the murderer was!

If you’re looking for vacation reading, check out Miranda James’ mysteries. There are currently two series: this one (The Cat in the Stacks) and Southern Ladies (with 2 elderly Southern belles solving mysteries) that are very well written and fun.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because the book has a giant house cat and a librarian as its’ central characters! Also, it’s just a darn good story.

Reviewer:

toby-loc

Toby

Murder Has Nine Lives

murder has nine lives

 

Murder Has Nine Lives
A Jaine Austen Mystery

Laura Levine
Kensington Books, 2016

From the dust jacket, “The future is looking bright for freelance writer Jaine Austen. She’s signed up for a new job, she’s looking forward to a tropical vacation and her cat Prozac is slated to star in a major commercial. But when the claws come out behind the scenes, Jaine worries that murder might be the only thing to meow about…
“A writer’s life is far from glamorous. Still, Jaine’s new gig to write an ad campaign for Toiletmaster’s new line of self-flushing toilets comes with a few perks—including a date with the president’s dreamy nephew. And with a much-needed trip to Maui on the horizon, it seems life couldn’t get any better—until her cat Prozac is tapped to star in a Skinny Kitty commercial. But Jaine never would have guessed the world of cat food could be quite so catty…
“Jaine is nervous that Prozac won’t be able to take direction, but the finicky furball ditches her diva behavior for the camera, eating and napping on cue like a seasoned pro. But just as Jaine begins dreaming of fame and fortune, Skinny Kitty’s inventor drops dead on the set. Everyone is a suspect—including Jaine. And she’ll have to get her paws on the truth before the killer takes a swipe at another victim.”

Loved this book! It is a funny cozy mystery that has a cattitude-laden hero cat named Prozac! Of course, the narrator of the story, Jaine Austen is pretty funny, too. And her parents – my goodness – crazy humans!! So just as Prozac is about to become famous the inventor of the cat food (who is a nasty piece of work, BTW) insults the rising feline star and calls her ‘fat’! That’s it for Pro – she shuts down and throughout the rest of the book she just mopes around being depressed. (So much like humans!) Meanwhile, the very likable character of Jaine has a murder to solve – and a lot of funny things happen along the way! I was unable to guess who the murderer was so it was a total surprise and that’s the kind of mystery I like!

In the end, Prozac snaps back to her old self, the murderer is caught and all ends well. No overt violence, cursing or sex. This book is very readable for young adults and even older kittens as well. There are a number of other books in this series so at some point in the future I will have to read them, too!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because it’s a lighthearted murder mystery with a manic-depressive cat and a funny, self-effacing female human protagonist.

Reviewer: BobbieSue