Buy a Whisker

buy a whisker

Buy a Whisker
Second Chance Cat: Book 2

Sofie Ryan
Obsidian, 2015

From the back of the book, “Things have been quiet in the coastal town of North Harbor, Maine, since Sara Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, solved their first murder. Sarah is happy running Second Chance, the shop where she sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. But then she gets dragged into a controversy over developing the waterfront. Most of the residents – including Sarah – are for it, but there is one holdout: baker Lily Carter.

“So, when Lily is found murdered in her bakery, it looks like somebody wanted to remove the only obstacle to the development. But Sarah soon discovers that nothing is as simple as it seems. Now, with the help of her cat’s uncanny ability to detect a lie, Sarah is narrowing down the suspects. Can she collar the culprit before the ruthless killer pounces again?”

Yes, of course she can!! She wouldn’t be our hero if she couldn’t. This 2nd book of the series had me stumped for a while – and the reason why the murder happened isn’t what it seemed at all. There is a large cast of reoccurring characters – 8 in all, not including the lie-detector cat, so there’s plenty of plot-line development which makes for a very good series but definitely not stand-alone books.  But, all in all, the many plot twists and turns as well as some fantastic ideas on repurposing junk make for a very quick and easy read. Elvis is pretty cool, too!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for a relaxing cozy murder mystery. Easily read at one sitting if you have the time – and its worth making time for!

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

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The Whole Cat and Caboodle

cat and caboodle

The Whole Cat and Caboodle
A Second Chance Cat Mystery: Book 1

Sofie Ryan
Obsidian, 2014

From the back of the book, “Sarah Grayson is the happy proprietor of Second Chance, a charming shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. At the shop, she sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. But her favorite pet project as far has been adopting a stray cat she names Elvis.

“Elvis has seen nine lives – and then some. The big black cat with a scar across his nose turned up at a local bar when the band was playing the King of Rock and Roll’s music, and he hopped into Sarah’s truck. Since then, he’s been her constant companion and the furry favorite of everyone who comes into the store.

“But when Sarah’s elderly friend, Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, the kindly old lady becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Even Sarah’s old high school flame, investigator Nick Elliot seems convinced that Maddie was up to no good. So it’s up to Sarah and Elvis to clear her friend’s name and make sure the real murderer doesn’t get a second chance.”

You may or may not remember a few weeks ago I posted a review of The Fast and The Furriest, which happened to be number 5 in this series of books and I admitted how confused I was in the beginning because the whole cast of characters (and there’s a lot of them) had a long background story and how they became friends and solved other mysteries together. I gave that book a 3 out of 5 paws because the book was unable to stand on its own, even though I did like the mystery. Well, now that I’ve read the first in the series, I am better able to understand the character involvement and what makes them tick. That understanding doesn’t change my rating of the other book, but it does make me like it more.

What the book publisher’s blurb doesn’t tell you is that Sarah has a group of friends, ‘ladies of a certain age’ who consider themselves detectives and help to solve the mystery. The suspect list wasn’t long but I surely didn’t think it was going to be who it turned out to be. I enjoyed reading about Sarah’s shop and how she remade/repurposed various items to sell. It makes me want to be a shop cat along with Elvis. And, speaking of Elvis, his particular talent is being able to tell when someone is lying. That could be a good skill to have – especially when your human comes home and tells you the store was out of cat food and you’ll have to eat scrambled eggs instead. (Not that my human would do such a thing!) Anyway, I like the book a lot and am looking forward to the next three so I can get caught up with Elvis and his people!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 books for a good cozy mystery that kept my interest from start to finish!!

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

It Takes a Coven

it takes a coven

It Takes a Coven
Witch City: Book 6 

Carol J. Perry
Kensington Publishing Corp., 2018

From the back of the book: “When Lee Barrett joins a former student’s bridal party as maid of honor, she expects cake tastings and dress fittings. But wedding planning becomes more peculiar than Lee’s scrying talents could ever predict. There’s a magical baker, a best man with a checkered past, and a talking crow named Poe as the ring bearer. There’s also a kindly old man dead under his apple tree – one of a series of unexplained deaths hanging over the Wiccan community…

“With witches dropping dead before they even come out of the proverbial broom closet, Lee’s best friend, River, fears she might have somehow unleased a terrible curse on the city. Now, aided by Poe and her clairvoyant cat, Lee sets out to investigate. Are lives being claimed by vengeful supernatural forces—or by something more shocking? She soon discovers, casting light on the wicked truth can be one killer commitment…”

The publisher has a fairly good teaser for this book – but there’s so much more happening that what they’ve indicated. Salem, Mass has been invaded by crows! Not just a few hundred, but thousands upon thousands of the loud and messy birds. Various events among the witch community leads Lee to believe the crows have something to do with the dying witches. Its kind-of-spooky-like, ala’ Hitchcock’s The Birds.

The mystery is well written and intriguing. If I’d read it over a shorter period of time, I certain I would have figured out the murderer – it was, after all, someone totally obvious. But, as it took me a week to read, only because I was keeping an eye on the other cats and my finch flock. This book is #6 in the series and our library hadn’t even ordered #5! Mom put in a request to them purchase it, so I’ll have to read that one when it comes in. Also, I’m wondering if the author is moving on to a new series because the main event in this book nicely closes a mystery that happens in the first book – sort of bookended the series. I suppose I’ll have to wait a bit to find out! But, if you’re considering a cozy mystery series and you don’t mind a few witches sprinkled in, the try the Witch City Mystery series. It’s very good!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws – it pays to have a cat on your side when solving a puzzle!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

Death by a Whisker

death by a whisker

Death by a Whisker
Cat Rescue Mystery: Book 2

T. C. LoTempio
Crooked Lane Books, 2018

From the dust jacket, “Getting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are excited about the shelter’s newest fundraiser: an appearance by the shopping channel queen, Ulla Townsend. Shelter administrator Maggie Shayne vehemently refuse to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned—that is until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.

“The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. But as they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects—Maggie is at the top of the list. Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to their truth before everything goes paws up in Death by a Whisker, the charming second installment in the Cat Rescue mysteries.”

Once again, Toby was trying to get this book away from me to read all because the main character is an orange and white tabby named Toby. I told him ‘no’, of course; but being a boy, he acted like he couldn’t hear me. We compromised – I said we could read it together but I would write the review.

So I liked this book a lot – especially since it involves rescue animals! I figured out how the victim died right away, or rather, how she would die. But the whys, wherefores, and whodunit remained a mystery until the very end. And, of course, it was the tabby sidekick who lead Syd to the final clue as to how which ultimately led to why.

The only downside was an editing/continuity error. Was Ken having drinks with Candy? Or Savannah? Or Candy? It was pretty easy to figure out; I just can’t figure out how such a glaring mistake slips past the editing process. The LoC reads a lot of books and we run into spelling errors frequently with an occasional grammar error – but almost never a continuity error. Kind of crazy we found an error in 2 books published this year by Crooked Lane Books. Hmmm…We’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one.

Rating 4 out of 5 – despite the continuity error, the story was really good, the mystery offered a lot of twists and turns so that we couldn’t figure it out; plus, there were lots of cats running around and getting adopted!!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

Body on Baker Street

baker street

Body on Baker Street
Sherlock Holmes Bookshop: Book 2

Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson, managers of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, have arranged a book signing by the (arguably) illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the highly controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author’s Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris berates Renalta for disgracing Arthur Conan Doyle’s legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is, until Renalta collapses on the table – dead.

“Donald pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects – Renalta’s bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of Sherlock enthusiasts who object to Renalta’s depiction of the Great Detective. Can the shrewd sleuthing duo eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man?”

You know, the Library loves those cozy mysteries where a cat is highly figured. If you must know, humans really can’t solve any problem without our intelligence. In this series, The Cat is a solid black named Moriarity, Gemma’s foe as much as Sherlock’s Moriarity was. The Cat doesn’t help her solve mysteries, but it is fun to see him love on everyone else and attack her at every chance. This mystery was a pretty good one – everybody was suspect until the very end and I didn’t guess who it was (and I like that in a book). We also enjoyed seeing the action take place in a bookshop. It’s our human’s not-so-secret wish to have a bookshop/antique store and we, here at the Library, wouldn’t mind being shop cats!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for a cool book-related murder mystery that takes place in a bookshop!! Loved it!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue