Home Sweet Mulberry is the story of a cat, his person, a helpful ghost, and murder.
It all starts just after the cat, a British shorthair named Sebastian, and his person, an artistic sort named Sasha Barton, move into an old home in Mulberry, California. The house belonged to Sasha’s grandmother, and Sasha has just inherited it. Apparently, she has also inherited the resident ghost.
His name is Alfred, and he claims to have been the grandmother’s gentleman friend. He also has a “visibility problem,” meaning no one but Sebastian can see him.
Oh, and Sebastian can talk. He doesn’t make meowy sounds that seem like words; he actually talks. He learned this skill by listening so much to his overly talkative human (not his “owner,” as he keeps reminding Alfred) that one day he could just talk. This is a useful skill for a cat, one that allows him to order up whatever flavor of cat food he prefers on any given day. (Oh, that we all could do that!)
The house is one of those big old homes with a front porch swing and a terrific garden. It is located in a neighborhood described as an “old folks’ haven,” but that doesn’t mean the place is peaceful.
When a dispute between neighbors across the street ends with one of them being knocked out, Sasha runs over to help and gets involved where she probably shouldn’t. That neighbor, Henry DuPont, comes to rather quickly and objects rudely to Sasha’s attempts to help. Soon Sasha and Henry are in a confrontation, and when Henry later turns up dead, there is suspicion that it might have been Sasha who helped him get that way.
Sebastian goes into inspection mode, suspecting every new person he meets—and admittedly, there is a lot of suspicious activity going on. He, Sasha, and Alfred must identify the real killer before that person makes Sasha or Sebastian the next victim.
We enjoyed the concept and story of Home Sweet Mulberry. The relationship between Sasha and Sebastian is truly entertaining, and Sebastian gets his share of laugh-out-loud one-liners. We especially enjoyed Sebastian’s attempts to get Alfred to feed him.
That said, there are some flaws in this book, most (if not all) of which could be fixed by a thorough copyedit. The absence of commas where they are really needed can leave the reader stumbling to find the meaning of a sentence, and there are quite a few typos that we found distracting.
Nevertheless, we thought the story was quite fun. So, with some reservations, I give it