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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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

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

The Fast and the Furriest

fast and furriest

The Fast and the Furriest
Second Chance Cat, Book 5

Sofie Ryan
Berkley Prime Crime, 2018

From the back of the book, “Sarah Grayson owns Second Chance, a shop that sells lovingly refurbished items in the charming town of North Harbor, Maine. But she couldn’t run the store without the help of her right-hand man, Mac—or her dashing rescue cat, Elvis.

“Mac’s life before North Harbor was always a little mysterious, but it becomes a lot more intriguing when a woman from his past shows up in town…and then turns up dead. Suspicion falls on Mac, but Sarah-and Elvis-know he can’t be the killer, and they hope they can prove his innocence quick as a whisker.”

This is my first foray into the Second Chance Cat mystery series and I will admit to being a little confused at first. If I had read the previous ones, then the transition would have been smooth and I probably would have enjoyed it from the beginning. But, as it is, the first few chapters are choppy for new-to-the-series readers. There’s a group of people who all have a history and you know there’s been a lot of character development but as a first-timer, you don’t know what it was, and it drove me crazy. But I persisted and was finally rewarded with a good mystery. Plus, Elvis seemed like a really cool cat to get to know!

Rating 3 out of 5 paws, only because getting through the first chapters and trying to figure who these people were and what their background was nearly drove me to stop reading the book.  In the end, the mystery was well written and once I’ve read the previous books, I may go back and reread this one.

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue