Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Kathleen Paulson is snowed under running her library and caring for her extraordinary felines, Owen and Hercules. But when a fund-raiser turns deadly, she’ll have to add sleuthing to her already full schedule….
Winter in Mayville Heights is busy and not just because of the holidays. Kathleen is hard at work organizing a benefit to raise money for the library’s popular Reading Buddies program. She has her hands full hosting the event. And when a guest at the gala drops dead, her magical cats, Owen and Hercules, will have their paws full helping her solve a murder.
The victim is the ex of town rascal Burtis Chapman, but she hasn’t lived in the area in years. And though everybody is denying knowledge of why she was back in town, as Kathleen and her detective boyfriend, Marcus, begin nosing around, they discover more people are connected to the deceased than claimed to be. Now Marcus, Kathleen, and her uncanny cats have to unravel this midwinter tale before the case gets cold. (Amazon)
This sixth installment of the Magical Cats Mystery series opens with Kathleen busy with preparations for one of the library program’s fundraiser. What was supposed to be an elegant evening of desserts, drinks, and jazz comes to an abrupt end when one of the guests has an allergic reaction, possibly to a chocolate truffle, and dies. As if the untimely death was not enough of a shock, the deceased is the ex-wife of town business owner, Burtis Chapman, and she has not been seen in town in more than two decades. Burtis asks Kathleen, as a friend, to look into things and find out why Dayna came back to town. By talking to towns’ folk and doing a bit of research, she finds other people, besides Burtis and her sons, have connections to Dayna outside of Mayville Heights. This provides several viable suspects, but little revealed motive. Of course, by the climax of the book, Kathleen, with the help of her cats, figures it out but is in danger herself for her efforts.
This is definitely a character driven series, and that is quite evident in this installment. The mystery gets a little lost among all of the other subplots – three budding romances, wedding planning, the feral cat colony, the library program fundraiser. There is just not that much investigating going on. The reader is presented with many names early on in the book, and it was difficult to keep them all straight, even as a loyal follower of the series, especially when most of them were not pertinent to the central mystery storyline.
This is technically a Christmas mystery, but the holiday is not the emphasis of the story. In fact, it is only mentioned in passing and in one scene about decorating the library tree.
I really enjoy Owen and Hercules. To me, they are reminiscent of Lillian Jackson Braun’s KoKo and YumYum. They are obviously not your average felines, and the reader must suspend reality, but they always manage to find clues and present them to Kathleen in a somewhat plausible manner. I know not all readers appreciate that she talks to the cats as if they can understand everything she says, but it amuses me and makes me feel better about talking to my own pet.
I liked this book and will definitely continue to read the series as books become available. I recommend it to fans of library cozies and those featuring cats.