A Whisker of Trouble
A Second Chance Mystery #3
By Sophie Ryan
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The New York Times bestselling author of Buy a Whisker offers another adventure with secondhand shop owner Sarah Grayson and Elvis the rescue cat.
Spring has come to charming North Harbor, Maine, and with the new season comes a new haul for Second Chance, the shop where Sarah Grayson sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. Sarah is turning her keen eye to the estate of collector Edison Hall, hoping for fabulous finds for Second Chance—but when her rescue cat Elvis discovers a body in the kitchen, everything goes paws up.
The body belongs to an appraiser who had been hired to check out Edison’s wine collection. When Edison’s sister shows up at Second Chance, she hires Sarah’s friends—the kooky and charismatic trio of ladies who call themselves Charlotte’s Angels and work out of the shop—to solve the murder, Sarah knows she and Elvis are only going to get deeper into the case. But as it becomes a cat and mouse game of lies, cons, cheats, and family squabbles, can Elvis and Sarah claw their way to the truth before the killer slinks away forever? (from Goodreads)
Sarah is the kind of protagonist I appreciate; her attitude reflects one of the reasons I enjoy cozy mysteries: ‘I liked it when the world was fair, when the bad guys got what was coming to them. Even though it didn’t always happen, I wanted it to.’ (page 243) “A Whisker of Trouble” is the third cozy mystery with Sarah, owner of ‘Second Chance’, and Elvis, the opinionated, glossy black cat who shared his life with her. The series continues to get better with each novel. Even if the author did leave ‘I Can’t Get No…’ running through my mind for way too long after the last page! (I won’t spoil that teaser with the reason!)
Second Chance is an all-around repurpose shop that includes antiques and thrift items, some of which have been refinished or new items derived from old. It also houses a small apartment upstairs where Sarah’s right-hand assistant, Mac, now lives, as well as the office of Charlotte’s Angels on the sunporch. It’s kind of like Charlie’s Angels, but these ladies are more dignified, wise, and seasoned than Charlie’s were. The Angels are Charlotte, Liz, and Rose, (all who help at the shop) and Rose’s gentleman friend, Alfred. As Sarah continues to find dead bodies – purely by accident – the Angels got together to ‘help the police’ solve the crimes. They do an admirable job of it, by the way. Between them and Elvis, who else does a gal need?
Sarah, Mac, and Rose were going to clean out and sell any useful items from the home of Edison Hall who had passed away recently. The only thing they didn’t have to take from the home were cases of wine that Edison had purchased as an investment for his son and his children. Ethan, Edison’s son, was working with a man who would evaluate the wine for a sales value. Mac, Rose, Elvis, and Sarah went to the Hall home to begin the process of sorting and clearing out the many piles of collections of Mr. Hall’s where Sarah and Elvis found what they most hated to find – the body of a well-dressed man who appeared to have been murdered in the kitchen of the former Hall home. The identify of the man was surprising, especially when the police tried to determine how he – or his killer – had access to the house.
The author has an all-star, well-described cast! She is a mistress of interesting, strong characters! Charlotte’s Angels are almost like wise twenty-somethings trapped in the bodies of seniors. I feel as if Rose is an old friend, while Liz and Charlotte are enigmas by comparison. Sarah is the best-defined character, and she could step off the pages as three-dimensional. Rose’s son Nick, Sarah’s brother Liam, and her assistant Mac have integral roles in Sarah’s life and in working through the murder.
Plot twists and surprises continually change the course of the investigation. The Angels, full of surprises for Nick and Sarah, keep them on their toes, especially with some of the information they find – and actions they want to take. They, and Elvis, provide much-needed comic relief when life heats up. Elvis reflects a bit of several cats that I’ve loved; he is very realistically portrayed with regards to his cat-sonality. Sarah and the Angels are part of the exciting resolution that relieves the incredible suspenseful tension, and parts of the finale are definitely surprising. I highly recommend ‘A Whisker of Trouble’ for cat lovers and cozy mystery lovers who are looking for a series that delightfully combine the two.