Second Chance Cat Mystery, Book #4
By Sofie Ryan
Author’s Website: sofieryan.com
The New York Times bestselling author of A Whisker of Trouble returns as secondhand shop owner Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, get caught up in a case of she said, she said….
When Sarah Grayson opened a secondhand shop in the quaint town of North Harbor, Maine, she was expecting peace and quiet. Then she was adopted by a rescue cat named Elvis and a kooky trio of senior sleuths known as Charlotte’s Angels. Now she has nine lives worth of excitement…
Sarah’s friend and employee Rose is delivering a customer’s purchase when the quick errand becomes a deadly escapade. Rose arrives just in time to see the customer murdered by his wife, but before she can call the police, she is knocked out cold. When she wakes up, no one believes her, especially after the woman claims her husband is very much alive and has left her for someone else—and has a text message and empty bank account to prove it.
Despite her convincing story, Sarah is sure something is fishy—and it’s not Elvis’s kitty treats. Sarah, Elvis, and the Angels are determined to unravel this mysterious yarn, before the feral killer pounces again… (Goodreads)
Telling Tales has some of the most lovable characters in today’s cozy mystery genre and a cat who, among his skills as a feline lie detector and mystery solver, also has to watch Jeopardy! every evening. This is fourth in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone. It is so hard to put down, as the family of Sarah and her brother Liam is so inviting! Charlotte’s Angels, who have been surrogate family members since she was a child, demonstrate seniors who are not dotty old fools but as untapped treasures they truly are.
Sarah is the owner of Second Chance, a re-purpose/ thrift/ antique store in a quaint, coastal Maine town. Her grandmother, who has recently remarried, has been travelling and volunteering to help build homes along the East Coast with her hubby. Charlotte’s Angels watch out for Sarah in Gram’s absence, but they also work part-time for her in the shop. Of course, they continually remind her that they’d changed her diapers so she concedes – or pretends to – to their wisdom.
The Angels are a trio of Gram’s lifelong pals, Charlotte, Rose, and Liz, with Rose being the most adorably featured. Rose lives in one of the three apartments in Sarah’s home. Rose has a sweetheart, Alfred or Mr. P, who has a PI license now so they can legally ‘help’ the police and Sarah with the icky situations she becomes embroiled in.
This time it is Rose who gets into a situation when she goes against Sarah’s decision that if the purchaser of a pair of lovely antique silver candlesticks needed them delivered to his wife that day, to call a cab to deliver them. Instead, Rose takes the cab to the address given to them, lets the cab leave, and knocks on the doors. Through the window, as she sees what looks like the back of a woman dragging the body of the candlestick buyer, she is hit over the head. The next thing she remembers is a dog kindly nudging her and alerting its owner to her presence.
Rose wasn’t prepared for her friend’s concerns when they went to the hospital ER where she was checked out and patched up. Michelle, the police detective and Sarah’s BFF, thinks perhaps she had a stroke and hit her head when she fell. Two others kind of agree with her and are asked to leave. Another simply doesn’t quite think she really saw what she said, as it seems too implausible. Sarah wants to believe her, and is willing to take the drives to see the home and talk to relatives of the candlestick guy. By the next day, the Angels are behind her enough that they are starting to ask around and Mr. P is using his computer … uh … skills to see what he can find out on the people involved. And what he finds is that there is much more to the candlestick guy and his family than anyone could have guessed…
The author is remarkable when it comes to designing her characters! Each one is so well defined, if not as through Sarah’s eyes, than through their appearance, their words and actions, and their hearts. The dialog is masterful, and most of the regular folks are complex. Those who are only in this cozy are described as well as necessary for their roles. The puzzler is – who are the suspects and who are the victims? Kind of hard to determine without a body!
The plot is cleverly planned and flawlessly executed. That being said, it is a real bear to figure out who the bad guy/ gal might be! It is full of humor, cat antics, intrigue and suspense. After much consideration, I figured out whodunit, but had to wait for Sarah to discover the motive and backstory to know why-dunit. The motive was somewhat surprising, as well as why the candlestick guy bought the candlesticks. The end was completely satisfying with no loose ends left untied except for the ongoing wonder of who will win Sarah’s heart besides Elvis. For a good time, I highly recommend reading Telling Tails. It is great for a cold night and roaring fireplace or on the beach, if you don’t mind getting caught laughing out loud by yourself! It is the best of both worlds for those who love cats and cozy mysteries. It is also for those who enjoy and value multi-generational tales.