This week we review a mystery with a cat in the title, which made us think the cat would be a major player, appearing on at least every other page. It turns out that the cat in Dakota Kahn’s Kate & Blake vs. the Cat Heir is not the major character we hoped he’d be. But you know what? It doesn’t even matter; this book is so much fun we couldn’t help but love it.
Struggling lawyer meets wealthy recluse with a bubbly heiress
Kate Becker is a small-town lawyer who’s barely scraping by while she dreams of better things. Much better things. For example, she’d like a big, fancy office. Meanwhile, she’s stuck in an office so small and cramped she has to climb over her desk to get out of it. She does have a sort-of job with a mysterious person who calls himself the Landowner, but, well, let’s just say that job isn’t getting Kate any closer to her dream. Yet.
Like most small towns, Whispering Pines has its share of secrets. One of Whispering Pines’ major secrets lies in it fancy section, Blue Aspen, where all the well-off people live. Like Jacinda Foster, the rich old woman who thought she had no heirs, until a long-lost niece, PJ, was found. Before PJ entered the picture, Jacinda had no one but her housekeeper and her cat. As you may have guessed from the title of the book, she had willed her entire fortune to the cat. But now, she and PJ have hit it off so well, and Jacinda is so thrilled to have living family, that naturally she wants to update her will. The only problem is, Jacinda’s personal lawyer/secretary has suddenly gone missing.
This is where Kate comes in. The Landowner sends her to find a single piece of paper in the lawyer/secretary’s office: Jacinda’s new will, the one that does not leave everything to her cat.
Unfortunately, Jacinda is found dead before Kate can find the new will. Kate suspects poisoning, and she’s not the sort to just let things go, despite what her fiance, sheriff's deputy Blake Spanner, says. So, as Jacinda’s lawyer, she investigates, setting herself up for danger heaped upon trouble. Soon our new favorite lawyer is embroiled in all sorts of rich-family weirdness, including suicide, scandal, lost or stolen jewels, ghosts… So, you know, all the normal stuff. Basically.
About the cat...and that other pet
About this cat heir… Commodore Scruffington is his name. He’s described as charcoal gray, deserving of his rank, and having “a deep expression on his face, like he was constantly contemplating his fate.” Personally, we think Commodore Scruffington deserves to inherit Jacinda’s fortune. He makes periodic appearances in the book, but we wished we could see more of him.
Actually, the animal we see most often is a duck named Matador. Because Matador is Kate’s pet duck. Who sleeps with her. This, according to Kate, is normal, and since we like and trust Kate, we choose to believe her, though we wouldn’t want to try it at home.
Kate & Blake vs. the Cat Heir is a quick-paced, well-plotted cozy that is a joy to read. Yes, we hoped to see more of the cat, and there are enough typos in the text that they can be a distraction at times…but despite that, the book is very well written, and we love Kate. We can't help it. We’d really like to have coffee with her sometime. We might even consent to meet Matador, though honestly, we are still getting used to the pet-duck thing. In any case, we found Kate & Blake vs. the Cat Heir to be a lot of fun to read, and we highly recommend it. We can’t wait to see what Kate does next!
A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!