Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lending a Paw

Author:  Laurie Cass
Genre:  Mystery

Four Stars
 
Minnie Hamilton is a librarian in Chilson, Michigan.  She has convinced the library to purchase a bookmobile - with the help of an extremely large donation from a resident, Stan Larabee - and, of course, as the library's assistant director, she is the one who will be driving the bookmobile from location to location.
 
She also has a 'assistant' in her voyages; a cat named Eddie that followed her home one day and insists on going everywhere she does, especially when she doesn't want him to.  When he sneaked aboard the bookmobile one day, she decided to make the best of the situation and determined it would be his last trip with her.  But not only did the town's residents take to the little guy, he darted out the door when they were at a stop, and when Minnie chased after him, he led her right to the dead body of a local. 
 
At first she is going to let the police handle the investigation, but Eddie seems determined to keep her on the case, and when an employee at the library, Holly, believes she is the main suspect, she asks Minnie to help her find the real killer. 
 
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I wanted to read this book because it had two things going for it that I really love - books and cats.  So for me, it had already started out well and I was hoping not to be disappointed.  I was happy to find that for the most part, I wasn't.  Eddie was quite a character, and being a cat owner myself, I can relate to some of his antics.  I enjoyed the fact that throughout the book Minnie began to grow closer to him, which, as all pet owners know, you can't help but do.
 
We have a basic description of Minnie - dark hair and eyes, short - but that's about it.  We also know that she moved to Chilson three years ago at the age of 33 when she received her degree in Library Science.  So she's 36, and one would think she had a previous life before moving, but we never learn much about it.  Only that in the summer she lives on a houseboat, and in the winter she lives with her Aunt Frances, who owns a boarding house (which is another story in itself).

It did seem odd to me that when she was out on a date everyone in town (at least everyone we learned about in the book) seemed to be out and about also and stopped to say 'hi' to her.  It was sort of funny, but also rather unbelievable.  The other thing was that even though I love cats, everyone in this town wants to be with Eddie.  I started to get the feeling that there were no other cats anywhere around this area. 

There were times I felt that the book should have been titled 'Eddie the Psychic Cat,' because he seemed to know everything that was going on, and I felt that unless the dead man were his owner, he probably wouldn't have run as far as he did to find the body (although I will concede it is possible) and gave Minnie so many clues that he practically solved the murder by himself.  Aside from that, the mystery was very good.  I'm pretty good at figuring out mysteries, but the murderer wasn't expected.  The thing is, even though a lot of people didn't like the man, I didn't feel that any of them had reason enough to kill him.  So I really didn't know why or who the murderer was, which is a good thing, because it keeps you interested along the way.  In the end, I would have liked to have seen more resolution with her Aunt Frances and her guests, but perhaps Ms. Cass is saving that for the next book.  

http://www.amazon.com/Lending-Paw-Bookmobile-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00C5QUM0U





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