Thursday, March 28, 2019

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (A Magical Cats Mystery #1)

Author:  Sofie Kelly
Genre:   Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780451232496
Berkley Obsidian
324 Pages
$7.29; $1.99 Amazon
February 1, 2011


When Kathleen Paulson leaves her life in Boston and moves to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she has no idea that two strays will muzzle their way into her life.  Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction, and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen's fondness for Barry Manilow.  But beyond all the fur and purrs, there seems to be something more to these felines.

When murder interrupts Mayville's Wild Rose Summer Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect.  More stunning is her realization that Owen and Hercules are truly special - perhaps even magical.  Suddenly she's relying on their skills to solve this crime and save her reputation.  With a little legwork from her four-legged friends, Kathleen may be able to solve this purr-fect murder...


Kathleen Paulson has left Boston to accept a position as head librarian at the Mayville Heights, Minnesota library.  She's also overseeing the renovation of said library, and that's not without its problems.  On this morning Kathleen hears a commotion in the library and goes to check it out, only to find one of her employees trying to explain to Gregor Easton, a visiting conductor, that the library is under renovation and the Internet is not yet connected.  Easton, however, is having none of it.  Since he was informed they did indeed have Internet, he wants to use it, and can't seem to understand that even if computers are available, the Internet might not be (not very tech savvy at all?).

But someone doesn't like the arguing - Owen, one of Kathleen's two cats, suddenly appears on Easton's head, and what follows is disaster.  After Easton is calmed down, Kathleen offers to have breakfast sent to his hotel room the next morning by way of apology.  Mollified, Easton leaves.  Kathleen, though, has no idea how Owen got into the library in the first place.

The next morning Kathleen needs to find Oren, a local handyman, and she thinks he might be at the theater working, so heads over there.  But Oren's truck isn't in the parking lot, and even so, she enters the theater but instead finds Easton, slumped over the piano - dead.  After calling the police and answering questions, she returns to the library.

Then things start getting strange.  The lead detective, Marcus Gordon, is questioning her and she thinks that she's probably the prime suspect, even though she only met Easton one time and managed to find his body.  Her work crew at the library arrives sporadically; accidents keep happening to her that manage to cause minor injuries; and her cats - Owen and Hercules - well, that's a story:  She found them as kittens on the grounds of Wisteria Hill, the abandoned estate of her employer, Everett Henderson.  They followed her home and she adopted them.  But she's now noticing that they have very special magical powers.

Kathleen realizes that in order to get herself out of hot water with the police, she'll need to figure out who had the best motive to kill Easton.  Unfortunately, it could be any one of her friends, and while she doesn't want to believe it, she knows that someone out there is framing her for a murder she didn't commit...

This is the first book in the series, and I thought it was a very good beginning indeed.  Our protagonist has her hands full with library renovations when Easton shows up, and when he's killed she suddenly moves to the top of the list as a person of interest.  But since she had no reason to kill him, she figures out that someone in town knew things she'd said to Easton and used them to draw him to a death trap.

I thought the book was written well, although I also thought it was a little heavy on non-essential things to the plot.  We really don't need to know about her Tai Chi class, nothing happens there that makes a whit of difference, and it certainly didn't matter to me.  Yes, it introduced other characters, but they could have been introduced at a cafe or the library just as well.  It bogged down the tale a tad.

The only other thing that bothered me is when one character tells Kathleen that she "wouldn't understand because she's from away."  This is not a phrase they use in Minnesota (I know because I grew up there).  When someone moves to town, we don't say they're 'from away.'  That's strictly an east coast phrase (and since the author is from the east coast, I would have expected her to know this).  Minor, but it bothered me, since when someone moves to town we merely say that 'you're new here'.  I was also a bit surprised not a single person spoke as if they actually grew up in the state.  But hey...

Anyway, I absolutely loved Owen and Hercules.  They've decided to adopt Kathleen, and they help her in her investigation, and she reacts much as the way anyone would when they find out the truth.  They point her in the right direction by bringing her clues, and even act as her protectors when need be.  Without them, the story wouldn't be half as interesting as it is.

When the ending comes and we discover the murderer it came as rather a surprise, yet I didn't feel that the reason for the murder was enough of one to kill for; but that's my own opinion.  There was also another surprise in store, and that was an interesting red herring.  Still, the climax was done well and everything was explained in a satisfying manner. 

All in all, I enjoyed the book and the introduction to Owen and Hercules, and look forward to reading the next in the series.  Recommended.


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