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 16, 2015

Book Review of “Look Both Ways” by Carol J. Perry

Miss Cuddlywumps reads the latest from the Witch City Mystery series

We were delighted to get to visit Salem, Massachusetts, once more by way of Carol J. Perry’s Witch City Mystery series. This installment is titled Look Both Ways, and it is (as we  knew it would be) another winner.

To start off, our favorite redhead, Maralee “Lee” Barrett, is working on furnishing her new apartment in her aunt Ibby’s house after losing everything in a fire. She is lucky enough to find a bureau exactly like one she used to have. And when I say “lucky,” I mean extraordinarily lucky, because this is one unique piece of furniture: only three like it were ever made, it has some interesting secret compartments—and it came from the site of a notorious murder. At least that’s what antiques dealer Shea Tolliver tells her, wondering if Lee will be bothered by the murder connection. But Lee has never even heard of the Helena Trent murder, so who cares if it came from there?

Well, pretty soon Lee starts to care. Like after she finds Shea murdered in her own shop, and after she starts seeing strange visions in the bureau’s blackened mirror, and after she finds out about the missing pink diamond that someone might want badly enough to kill for—and which someone might think is concealed in one of the bureau’s secret compartments.

But let’s back up to those visions for a moment. Lee is a very interesting person, and one of her most interesting attributes is that she is a “scryer” or “gazer,” meaning she can see things in shiny objects, and I am not talking about her reflection. Lee sees visions, and in this case she sees a woman and dog that might be connected to the Helena Trent murder. Is scrying a gift or curse? Something to reveal to her boyfriend, police detective Pete Mondello, or to hide from him? Lee is still deciding on those questions.

There are several questions in this book, the big ones (besides Lee’s personal scrying/boyfriend issues) being Who killed Shea Tolliver? and Where is Helena Trent’s pink diamond? I have a third question, which is, Why do all those cats keep hanging around on the fence?

Let’s take the questions in order. As to who killed Shea Tolliver, it could have been her former business partner, or it might have been the man convicted of Helena Trent’s murder (who was also Helena’s husband and has conveniently just been released from prison), or it could have been Helena Trent’s stepson. It very well might have had something to do with that pink diamond, which brings us to our second question: Where is it?

Well, I’m not going to tell you that, so let’s skip to the third question: What’s up with the cats?

Actually, I’m not going to tell you that either, exactly. But the question reminds me that I have gotten this far into the review and have not even introduced O’Ryan, the big yellow-striped cat who used to live with an actual witch and may have been her familiar. Now he lives with Lee, and boy, is it ever a good thing. As for O’Ryan and those cats on the fence and in other places, let’s just say Lee really needs them.

Look Both Ways is the perfect kind of cozy. It’s got a cast of characters that almost walk off the page, a mystery that will twist your mind in knots, a little romance, a dash of magic… Carol J. Perry has given us another great read.

Highly recommended!

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