Friday, October 24, 2014

Catwalk: An Animals in Focus Mystery #3

Author:  Sheila Webster Boneham
Genre:  Mystery

Three Stars

When animal photographer Janet MacPhail gets gets a frantic call from champion dog owner Alberta Shofelter about a "cat-napping," she and her Australian Shepherd Jay jump in to assist. Fur flies when the search turns into a nasty run-in with local big shot Charles Rasmussen, a bully who enjoys throwing his weight around.

As Rasmussen makes good on his promise to cause trouble, Janet tries to keep up with her mom's romantic travails,  figure out her own relationship with Tom, and train her animals for the upcoming agility trials. But when a body is discovered at the Dog Dayz event, it stops the participants dead in their tracks-and sets Janet on the track of a killer.

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Let me tell you first that if you don't like animals, you won't like this book.  But, if you do like animals, as I myself do, you will.  That being said: Janet MacPhail has her dog Jay and her cat Leo, whom she has trained herself, to do animal trials.  This is where (for those who may not know) the animals go through a timed series of obstacles.  Her boyfriend Tom also takes his dog, Drake, through these trials.

When one of her friends, Alberta, makes a frantic call for help because her cat is missing, both Janet and Tom offer to help her look.  They find the missing cat and her newborn kittens at Charles Rasmussen's home, in his wife's painting studio.  Mr. Rasmussen threatens to kill the cats and Janet calls for help, which comes in the form of Officer Hutchinson, who is another animal lover and takes Janet's side, which only infuriates Rasmussen more.  Even Rasmussen's wife Louise takes the womens' side.  So a very angry Rasmussen threatens them all even as they are removing the mama and her newborn kittens.  Then there is Janet's mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's, and has gotten involved with someone at the nursing home, who turns out to be Charles Rasmussen's father-in-law, and Mr. Rasmussen is none too happy about that.

Soon enough, the women (and Hutchinson) are served with legal papers from Rasmussen, and shortly after that, he is killed.  Now the race is on to find out who killed the man, since it appears he had no dearth of enemies.

This is where the book lost me a little.  The murder seemed to have taken second place to the animal trials and the plight of feral cats.  I will tell you that I realize this is serious, and I have adopted a few feral cats myself that wandered into my back yard.   So yes, I do know this is a problem.  But the book goes on and on about the trials, about the feral cats, about ways to help them.  By the time they get back to the murder - which is intermittently throughout the book - you start to wonder who-is-who and have to backtrack as to who was at the dogs' trials the night the guy was killed.  Please don't get me wrong; the writing is very good, but the book was more about the animals and not enough about the murder investigation.  I will say that justice was done, however.

http://www.amazon.com/Catwalk-Animals-Mystery-Webster-Boneham/dp/0738734888/



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