Illustrated by Itoko Maeno
Marsh Media, 1992, 2008
From the dust jacket: “The lion is the emblem of Venice, but the common cat rules its narrow streets and alleyways. A prince among these feline rulers is Piccolo, and what a fine life he leads! Especially after dark—when the streets are full of possibilities!
“Then one night, Piccolo makes a discovery that threatens his carefree life and his independence and starts him on a new and special kind of adventure.
“In these pages, you will also meet Caesar—Piccolo’s older and somewhat cynical friend, and Sophia—the shoe shop cat, to whom Piccolo turns for advice when his life takes it turn. And you will meet two irresistible kittens—one spotted and one striped—who need a home and who help Piccolo discover his own tender heart.”
Piccolo is quite the roaming tomcat – he and his pal Caesar patrol their streets looking for mischief and sardines! All that changes when he meets two homeless kittens and after he tries to pawn the kittens off on a female friend, Sophia (she says absolutely not!), they win him over and he becomes a papa.
This is an adorable book that offers a different kind of family – one that has a boy cat looking after kittens. The author wrote it to teach boys that it’s okay to be nurturing but thankfully, the teaching part comes as an afterword at the end of the book and not as a part of the story. The illustrations of Venice are wonderful – it makes me want to go there!
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because Piccolo rescued some kittens and is proud to be a papa!
The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency
A Hettie Bagshot Mystery
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!
Tiny Hats on Cat
Grand Central Publishing, 2015
From the back of the book: “Blogger and illustrator Adam Ellis’s amazing paper hats became an instant internet sensation when he posted photographs of his cat Maxwell wearing his creations. In Tiny Hats on Cats, Adam has fashioned the only book dedicated to taking your cat millinery hobby to the next level. Inside you’ll find pictures of his headgear being rocked by feline models. And once you’re feeling inspired, you can follow step-by-step instructions on how to create thirty-six different hats—one for every occasion—from party hats and fedoras to hats fit for safaris and for solving crimes. All you need are a few basic crafting materials and a healthy level of interest in your cat’s wardrobe, and you’re all set to begin! Tiny Hats on Cats will ensure your feline has the purrfect accessory to don at any soiree!”
I must admit it, the hats in this book are really adorable – but you won’t catch me wearing one of them! Thank goodness, I don’t live with my cousins and my Auntie. She’s already snatched the book from me and is making plans to make hats!!!! Poor Toby – I know he’s going to be her preferred model! The instructions are very detailed and easy to follow, so we’ll have to see how the creations come out!
If you’re crafty – or even marginally so – this book looks easy to follow! You’ll at least enjoy looking at all the gorgeous felines stylin’ and profilin’ in their chapeaus!!!
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for cool hats and appearing to be very easy to make (again, we’ll see!)
Tails You Lose
A Witch City Mystery, #2
Carol J. Perry
Kensington Publishing, 2015
From the back of the book: “After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts—known as “The Tabby”—in her hometown of Salem Massachusetts. But when the local handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee’s clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.
“The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbell’s Department Store. Ass Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store’s history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers—and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she’s certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store’s attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose…”
This second book in the Witch City mysteries is better than the first one. The mystery is tightly woven and I wasn’t able to figure out who the murderer was this time. That’s the way I like my mysteries! The main character, Lee, is still afraid of using her gift of scrying which was a bit frustrating (but in a good way); and the budding romance between Pete and Lee is moving along at a nice, old-fashioned pace. Of course, the wonderful orange tabby, O’Ryan, was outstanding but not used as much in this book as in the first or the fourth. I’m starting the 3rd book soon and I hope the super-smart kitty will be more prominent in the story line. This story is set in the middle of a New England winter and the author writes in a way that made me believe I was in the middle of Salem on a cold, winter afternoon.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws – if you don’t mind a bit of ghostly and witchly happenings with your cozy mystery, you’ll love this book as much as I did. This series is definitely on my list to read!
Caught Dead Handed
Witch City Mystery #1
Carol J. Perry
Kensington Publishing Corp., 2014
From the back of the book, “Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it’s home. This October she’s returned to her hometown—where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives—to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. it seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.
“Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she’s using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it’s starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch—especially when O’Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer—or her career as a psychic may be very short lived…”
This is the first book in the Witch City Mystery series – I’ve already read and reviewed the 4th book, Murder Go Round, (mom found it displayed at the library and brought it home thinking I would like it – she was right!) and it was so good, I had to go back and start over from the beginning! It was good to find out how O’Ryan adopted Lee and how Lee recovered her scrying abilities. The mystery was fun and compelling, with lots of twists and turns. However, I did figure out the overall big secret of the murderer and who he or she was, but not the details. As I read I kept wanting to shout at Lee, “The murderer is …..!” As per the genre, no on stage violence or sex but a teensy bit of romance (shades of things to come!). Caught Dead Handed is a thoroughly enjoyable, tightly written mystery with all the questions wrapped up neatly in the end.
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws – great book, fabulous cat!!