Miss Cuddlywumps reviews the first Beatrice Young mystery by Alannah Rogers
This short book features a clever, handsome, crime-fighting Maine coon cat called Hamish. That is reason enough to read it, but it is far from the only reason.
First things first though.
Picture life in a small New Hampshire town near the White Mountain National Forest. Now picture yourself visiting a place called the Cozy Cat Café, where sixty-something Beatrice Young is the owner. Without a husband or children, Beatrice needs to keep herself busy, which she does with her café, her cats, and solving mysteries. She also has a fairly dishy ex-husband, Matthew, who is now a good friend and spends so much time at her house that he keeps a pair of slippers there for comfort.
The mystery gets going when Matthew pays for a coffee with a counterfeit bill. Of course, neither of the humans recognizes the counterfeit. No, that is up to Hamish, the crime-fighting Maine coon (on whom I might have a slight feline crush, but that is beside the point). Hamish also has a sort of sidekick, Beatrice’s black cat named Lucky. Lucky lacks Hamish’s poise but does have his own strong points.
Beatrice naturally wants to discover the source of the counterfeit bill, but soon she and her cats have a whole other mystery to solve, after a young local man walks toward the woods one night never to be seen again—at least not until his body is found.
The local sheriff says he doesn’t like Beatrice and her furry investigators butting in on his cases, but he sure doesn’t seem to mind the help when they come up real clues, including the final clue that probably would not have been found without the cats’ noses. Hamish has skills!
The Counterfeiter-Catching Cat is a delight to read, and, as I already mentioned, not only because of the cats. Author Alannah Rogers writes of an easy rapport between Beatrice and Matthew that is completely convincing and that makes the characters and their relationship spring right into the room with you. The amount of background detail on Beatrice is perfect—just enough to let readers feel they know her. Our only complaint is that the fight scene seemed a little flat and not as dramatic as we’d hoped. But that is a small complaint, given the beautiful imagery of New Hampshire’s autumn colors, such a pleasure to read on a hot and humid summer day.