by Sandra Murphy
Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.
This is the first in a new series called the Second Chance Cat Mysteries. You might remember Cat Trick, Copycat Killing and, Final Catcall, the Magical Cats series by Sofie Kelly, reviewed here at KRL? They feature cats, Owen and Hercules, one who loves homemade treats and the other Fred the Funky Chicken catnip toy, as well as Kathleen the librarian. Here you’ll have a similar good read, because Kelly is using the pen name Ryan for this new book.
Sarah Grayson is the owner of Second Chance, a resale/repurposed furniture shop located in North Harbor, Maine. She’s the ideas person and Mac is the man who carries out the heavy labor for things like the tub chair (made from an old bathtub) or the table that had to be cut in two pieces to be removed from a house. Estate sales, flea markets, garage sales, and consignment items are in the mix. Avery is the high schooler who helps out. She has cranberry-colored hair, a flair for selling and a knack for getting along with everyone, no matter their age. That’s good because the part-time help is made up of Sarah’s Grandmother’s friends.
You’d think that nice little old ladies wouldn’t get into much trouble but you’d be wrong. Maddie has a new boyfriend, if you can call a seventy-five year old man “boyfriend.” Liz, Avery’s Grandmother, Rose and Charlotte make up the rest of the crew. When Maddie fails to show up for a class on paint-washed furniture, the group is concerned enough to check on her. It’s a shock to find her sitting at the table in her back yard with her boyfriend Arthur. The problem is, Arthur’s dead and Maddie’s in shock.
Come to find out, Arthur’s not the nice guy he made himself out to be so there are plenty of suspects to go around. He has, as they say, a past and now it’s caught up with him. Sarah is sure that Maddie didn’t kill Arthur but also knows she is not telling the whole truth about what happened that morning. The rest of the ladies feel it’s their duty to assist the police, who have arrested Maddie! The ladies liken themselves to Charlie’s Angels, although they are a little confused over the Farah Fawcett version vs. the Drew Barrymore version.
The characters have great personalities, especially Elvis the cat. He was a stray and decided that Sarah was his person. He steals every scene he’s in. It seems Sarah has a penchant for collecting strays, what with Mac who has a past he doesn’t talk about, Avery with her dyed hair, the ladies and their computer guru, Mr. Peterson. The scene with Mr. P posing for the art class is priceless. There’s a little romance in the mix too as Nick, a not-quite-boyfriend from when Sarah was a fifteen year old summer visitor to town, is back and then there’s Josh, former nerd, now Maddie’s attorney who I think has great “romantic triangle” potential.
I’m a big fan of the Magical Cats series but like this new series even more and can’t wait for the next book. My only disappointment is there was no explanation of paint washing furniture at the back of the book. Maybe in the next one?
To enter to win a copy of The Whole Cat and Caboodle, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cat,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 19, 2014. U.S. residents only.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.