A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Solving the Murder of the Cat Lady of Ashton Falls

Miss Cuddlywumps reviews Kathi Daley’s Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies

Looking for a Thanksgiving read filled with mystery, animals, romance, and recipes? Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies might be just what you need. Just don’t expect to get up close and personal with those tabbies.

This book is the latest in Kathi Daley’s series of Zoe Donovan mysteries. Zoe runs a rescue and rehabilitation center for domestic and wild animals, which made us like her right away. Given that background, it is no surprise that she gets involved when strange things start happening at the home of the local woman known as the Cat Lady of Ashton Falls.

A neighbor has noticed the many, many cats in Lois’s house have been making an unusual amount of noise. Also, there is no sign of Lois. The initial assumption is that she has run off and left the cats behind, but that hardly makes sense. First, who can imagine a bona fide crazy cat lady doing such a thing? Second, this is a murder mystery, not a person-running-away-from-cats mystery.

It is Zoe who enters the cat-filled home and finds Lois dead—and not from natural causes.

Zoe figures the local sheriff can probably handle this one on his own. The clues seem to be there, plus she already has enough on her plate, what with suddenly having thirty-two cats to find homes for and being secretly engaged to boyfriend Zak, who is about to be “bought” in a bachelor auction. What woman wouldn’t be nervous over the thought of her fiancĂ© falling into the clutches of a beauty who’s willing to pay for his attention?

But when it comes down to it, Zoe just can’t mind her own business or stay out of a good investigation. When she discovers that Lois had some secrets, one of which might have gotten her killed, Zoe is all-in. We like that about her.

In fact, Zoe’s character is one of the best things about this book. This is a person who will crawl under a house to rescue some kittens and climb up a trellis to avoid some socialites. She also talks to bears. We like her a lot.

We also enjoyed the community of Ashton Falls, the small town Zoe loves living in. It’s the kind of place where even three feet of snow can’t stop a community dinner. Our one complaint about the setting is that, if there was any mention of the state Ashton Falls is located in, we missed it; this left us feeling a little disoriented as we read.

Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies is an enjoyable read with a solid mystery at its heart. The human characters and relationships are all well-drawn, but we wished for a closer look at the cats, none of whom really stood out as characters or got closely involved in the plot. While this is a good book and certainly worth reading, it’s not our favorite sort of cat cozy in which a feline plays a leading role.

For that reason alone, I give it

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