A Purrfect Pairing of Cats and Intrigue
Hamlet, the black cat of Ali Brandon’s Black Cat Bookshop mysteries, is my kind of cat. He is a big fellow who is not afraid to go his own way and make his presence known. He rates a “Beware of Cat” sign at his person’s bookstore, which he oversees with an “iron paw.” He has a penchant for knocking books off shelves, and often those books are eerily relevant to whatever happens to be going on at the time.
Plus, he does karate.
Well, he did karate once, in imitation of his person, Darla Pettistone. That episode of feline martial arts was documented on video, it hit the Internet and went viral, and Hamlet (a.k.a. the Karate Kitty) became a sensation and was invited to be the guest of honor at a cat show in Florida. And that is where we begin in Literally Murder.
There is far more to this story, though, than a celebricat basking in his fame. Darla and her friend Jake (a.k.a. Jacqueline) head off to the show with Hamlet, but they soon find out there is a lot more going on than cats meowing, looking beautiful, and winning ribbons. There are animal-rights protestors, a cruel prank carried out on a prize-winning pet, and suspicions that the show’s multimillionaire head judge is skimming money from a condo association.
And that’s all before someone knocks Jake over the head and catnaps Hamlet. And that’s before they find the body. Good thing Jake is an ex-cop, now a PI, and can help Darla sort things out. Hamlet helps too, by providing a vital clue that of course the humans misinterpret (this mystery would have been solved much sooner if humans were smarter about listening to cats).
We found a lot to like about Literally Murder. There is Hamlet, of course, whom we adore. And the descriptions of the cat show made us feel like we were there (minus the crime, of course). The interactions and dialogue between Darla, Jake, and Jake’s mother are spot-on, not to mention entertaining. And Jake’s mom is quite the character—one we would love to see again. The action is well-plotted, and the mystery, more complex than we expected, kept us happily mystified (though we had our suspicions). The plot does slow at times, but that is forgivable, given that it is slowing for a cat show, because when it comes down to it, life is really just one big cat show. Or it should be.
We look forward to more episodes in this entertaining series!