Today, due to She of Little Talent’s lingering illness and falling-behindness, we present a much-shortened, much-delayed dual book review of the latest installments in two of our favorite cozy mystery series. The books are The Cat, the Sneak, and the Secret by Leann Sweeney and Paws and Effect by Leighann Dobbs. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled blogging next week.
The Cat, the Sneak, and the Secret
Jillian Hart, cat-quilter extraordinaire, is getting married in a matter of days, but that doesn’t mean she can’t take the time to solve a mystery in between wedding preparations. It all starts when a tortie cat gets stuck inside a beat-up old love seat and emerges with a blood-covered clue that becomes part of a murder investigation. The cat earns the name Magpie for her propensity to collect items like socks, buttons—and clues. She plays a vital role in the resolution of this mystery, and you know how we always love it when the cat becomes central to the story.
This book's pleasingly complex plot involves the most tangled of family relationships, secrets, and the delicious type of twist that makes you say “Wait…what?” followed closely by “Ohhh” as the pieces suddenly come together. But lest you think the plot is all lies and violence, we must mention the admirable acceptance and patience for others displayed by this book’s characters, especially Jillian.
We found the world of The Cat, the Sneak, and the Secret to be a refreshing escape.
Paws and Effect
Paws and Effect returns us to Mystic Notch, New Hampshire (one of our favorite fictional places), and to bookstore owner Willa Chance and her cat, Pandora. The tale begins, somewhat mysteriously, way back in 1656, with a woman and her cat in some very serious trouble. Then, in present-day Mystic Notch, a fancy silver box is discovered during the groundbreaking for the new historical society, and immediately a fight erupts over who it should belong to. Soon, the ghosts of that seventeenth-century woman and her cat appear to Willa’s boyfriend and Pandora, respectively, with an important message: the box must be protected from those who would use it for evil. Trouble is, figuring out just who those evil-doers are.
Fortunately for the humans, Mystic Notch has some very special cats who whose job is to keep evil at bay. Not that the humans realize this; they think the cats are just cats (of course; humans are so dense sometimes). Pandora is one of these special cats, and most of this short book is told through her eyes. We love this, as we see her struggling to know what to do, to balance her enthusiasm with others’ advice and to find her own inner strength. We also get to see her use a computer (and you thought cats just randomly walked across keyboards!).