Familiar Motives

familiar motives

Familiar Motives
A Witch’s Cat Mystery, Book 3

Delia James
Berkley Prime Crime, 2017

From the back of the book, “After learning that she comes from a family of witches—and adopting a familiar named Alistair—artist Annabelle Briton has made beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her home. Together with her coven, this good witch is trying to put a stop to magic and murder most foul.

“When Anna takes Alistair to see local veterinarian Ramona Forsythe, they meet the most famous cat in town: Ruby the Attitude Cat, spokes-feline for a pet food brand. But then Ramona turns up dead and Ruby goes missing. It seems like the murderer used magical means, so it’s up to Anna and Alistair to catch a killer and cat-napper as only a canny cat can.”

I’m really enjoying this series of books. I don’t mind the witchcraft – its presence in the story is minimal and the witches are always working for good and not evil. The star of the story is of course, Alistair, a thoroughly magical cat that can appear and disappear at will (I would love to know how to do that!). He is very important in solving the mystery, despite Anna’s frustration that he won’t do things her way. He’s a cat, after all! The mystery is totally engaging and I didn’t guess the murderer at all! The only thing negative I have is, that like the other two books, as soon as the mystery is solved, everything jumps ahead several weeks as the author is wrapping up the book. It’s a little too fast for me – after the slower pace of the story, the rapidity of the wrap-up is just too much. Slow it down, Delia! Let me savor saying goodbye to Anna and Alistair until the next book!!! I’m going to miss them!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws – fun, page-turning, and riveting cozy mystery to read on cold winter nights!!





Cat Got Your Secrets

cat got your secrets

Cat Got Your Secrets

Julie Chase
Crooked Lane Books, 2017

From the dust jacket: “Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable grove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, she’s busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life. but when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle’s Bark-Mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene—and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father.

“It’s up to Lacy to clear her dad’s name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good. But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets. And Lacy’s not the only one with bones in her closet.”

More fun pet fashion and mystery! I liked this book as much as the previous two (and I only saw one spelling error, so the editor is getting better, too!). I did end up guessing who the murder was – but only just before Lacy did so I think that’s a pretty good mystery. The books are all well written with seamless plot twists and fast paced enough to keep me reading when I should’ve have taken a nap or groomed myself. I hope the author writes more soon!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws – There’s three recipes included and the tuna tart sounds the best. I’ve never been to New Orleans but I bet it would be fun – I’d especially like to see the Garden District and Magazine Street, which is where the fictional Furry Godmother Pet Boutique is.



Cat Got Your Diamonds

cat got your diamonds

Cat Got Your Diamonds
A Kitty Couture Mystery

Julie Chase
Crooked Lane Books, 2016

From the dust jacket, “Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District, where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true. After returning home following a nasty breakup with her (now ex) fiancé Pete the Cheat, it’s exactly the fresh start she needs, despite her old money mother’s disapproval.

“Full of peanut butter pupcakes and bacon-infused pawlines, and displaying sparkly Shih Tzu tutus and swanky cat headscarves, Lacy’s pink-and-green, chandeliered shop is a pet lover’s paradise. That is, until a man attacks her in her shop only to turn up dead the next morning – with her glitter gun as the murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1.

“Now handsome yet dogged Detective Jack Oliver is hounding her, her business investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association and a string of jewel heist has locals on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must make a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can she sniff out the killer in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?”

This was a fun book to read even though it’s a formulaic cozy mystery. I consider books like this a day at the beach for the brain – they’re relaxing and easy to read after taxing day at work or reading what I call a heavy or thought-provoking book. There’s a beautiful woman who has turned to sleuthing to prove her innocence, the dashing male detective who thinks she’s guilty at first, and an odd assortment of family and friends who come to her aide. The only thing missing in this first book is a four-legged companion!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws – the lush New Orleans atmosphere is palpable; the mystery is nicely twisted and the solution was a total surprise! Plus, there’s recipes for Pupcakes, Pawlines, and Tiny Tuna Tarts in the back of the book that sound really good – especially the tarts because, well, it’s got tuna!! Get your human to make you some snacks, then sit back, read and enjoy!!




The Edible Woman

the edible woman


The Edible Woman

Margaret Atwood

Anchor Books, 1998, 1969

From the back of the book, “Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can’t eat. First meat. Then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds—everything! Worse yet, she has the crazy feeling that she’s being eaten. Marian ought to feel consumed with passion, but she really just feels…consumed. A brilliant and powerful work rich in irony and metaphor, The Edible Woman is an unforgettable novel by a true master of contemporary literary fiction.”

First off, let me say the blurb from the back of the book is a little erroneous. Marian doesn’t eat pumpkin seeds, Duncan, her weird friend does. And she doesn’t have the crazy feeling of being eaten until the very end of the book. Until she just thinks she’s ‘not normal’ and is mostly curious about what’s happening to her.

The book is an excellent example of society’s attitude toward women in the 1960s. It was uncomfortable for me at first to read how Marian was allowing herself to be ‘consumed’ by the man in her life – especially after they became engaged. She gave over any opinion about anything to Peter (her betrothed); he would decide what to eat at restaurants, what they were going to do and she overlooked behavior that needed to be challenged. After a while, however, her rebellion burst through her Stepford-Wife-surface in surprising ways and she eventually figured out how to free herself.

While it took me a while to really engage with the story (my own discomfort with the character) it was certainly worthwhile for me to stick it out. I hadn’t heard of this Atwood novel until very recently – but it is well worth a read. Even early in her career. Margaret Atwood showed an amazing grasp of societal behavior, particularly between men and women.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for the sheer audacity to write such a novel during the 1960s.






The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency

no 2 feline

The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency

A Hettie Bagshot Mystery


Mandy Morton

Minotaur Books, 2014


From the dust jacket, “Hettie Bagshot has bitten off more than any cat could chew. As soon as she launches her No. 2 Feline Detective Agency, she’s bucketed into a case: Furcross, a home for slightly older cats, had a nasty spate of bodysnatching, and three of the residents have been stolen from their graves. Hettie and her sidekick, Tilly, set out to reveal the terrible truth. Is Nurse Mogadon involved in a deadly game? Has the haberdashery department of Malkin and Sprinkle become a mortuary? And what flavor will Betty Butter’s pie-of-the-week be?

“In a haze of catnip and pastry, Hettie steers the Furcross case to its conclusion, but will she get there before the body count rises – and the pies sell out?”

When mom got this book from the library for us to read together she had no idea it was actually about cats – cats that walked talked, drive around in cars and wore clothes. And cats that would commit murder! I had no problem with the concept, but mom certainly did! It took her several chapters before she got into the story because she just couldn’t see cats doing all the things humans do. She kept wanting to quit but I said ‘No!’ and when we got to the end she was glad she stuck it out.

This cozy mystery is different in other ways, too – first – there’s no police! How can you solve a crime and punish the criminal when there’s no police? Well, Hettie, despite her inexperience, manages to accidentally solve the crime and punish the culprit! Wow! That was different! And – second – the initial mystery/crime is solved way before the end of the book. When that happened, I thought, ‘what more is there to tell?’. Turns out, there was bunches more to tell and it was all really good! So what mom thought was going to be a bummer book turned out to be a fun, enjoyable and curious mystery to read!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because we were really surprised that we liked it so much!