Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
*Beware of Spoilers*
Sarah Grayson is the happy proprietor of Second Chance, a charming shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. At the shop, she sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. But her favorite pet project so far has been adopting a stray cat she names Elvis.
Elvis has seen nine lives—and then some. The big black cat with a scar across his nose turned up at a local bar when the band was playing the King of Rock and Roll’s music and hopped in Sarah’s truck. Since then, he’s been her constant companion and the furry favorite of everyone who comes into the store.
But when Sarah’s elderly friend Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, the kindly old lady becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Even Sarah’s old high school flame, investigator Nick Elliot, seems convinced that Maddie was up to no good. So it’s up to Sarah and Elvis to clear her friend’s name and make sure the real murderer doesn’t get a second chance.
What do Elvis, a naked senior in the activity room at the senior living apartments, Sarah Grayson, and her group of “indulgent aunts” have in common?
The Whole Cat and Caboodle is the first book in the Second Chance Cat series – a great first-of-series by Sofie Ryan (aka Sofie Kelly of the Mystical Cats Mysteries). Meet Sarah Grayson, who owns and runs Second Chance, a reputable repurpose shop where tea cup gardens, refinished furniture and collectible treasures are found in abundance. Sarah loves what she does in this new career, including going to auctions and flea markets to find what she and handyman Mac can repair or upgrade and sell.
Sarah’s grandmother recently remarried and is on an extended honeymoon. In her grandmother’s absence, the focus of her closest friends is Sarah and her recently acquired shop where the ladies help out. No stranger to these dear ladies as they have always been among her primary encouragers, Sarah hopes to keep Maddie, Charlotte, Liz and Rose out of trouble until Gram returns. Sarah’s new, faithful companion is Elvis, a stray cat…make that a former stray cat who adopted Sarah. His scarred face may lead one to think that he’s used up at least one of his nine lives, and his feline instincts are far beyond those of any four humans.
When Sarah and Charlotte arrive at Legacy Pines, a senior living apartment complex in their lovely ocean front town of North Harbor, Maine, a naked senior, Alfred Peterson, was on hand to greet them. Sarah and her part-time employees were leading an art workshop and Alfred Peterson was awaiting what he thought was a human form art class, naked as the day he was born, ready to model for the artists. Hmm. Charlotte sent him on his way, the workshop was a success, and they prepared to leave. Maddie didn’t show up at Legacy Pines as expected for the workshop, so Charlotte and Sarah went to see if she was okay. What they found in Maddie’s garden was completely unexpected – Maddie, sitting at an outdoor table with her new gentleman friend, Arthur Fenety – and Arthur was unmistakably dead.
Maddie is the only suspect in Arthur’s death, and this sweet, older lady is arrested and jailed until her initial court date. Against Sarah’s better intentions, Charlotte, along with the other friends of her grandmother’s friends Rose and Liz, have decided to play detective to help their friend Maddie and find the real murderer. Just as I was picturing the Golden Girls playing Nancy Drew, Sarah’s teen-aged assistant Avery nicknamed them Charlie’s Angels. They loved the idea, and tried to decide who would be Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith, but Avery was thinking of the more modern group of Angels.. To help keep them out of (too much) trouble, Sarah and her feisty feline Elvis went on sleuthing adventures with the Angels.
It seemed that Arthur Fenety had a few secrets that opened a whole new list of suspects to everyone except the police. Elvis gave his opinions whether or not anyone wanted to translate them, and it isn’t hard to imagine that his scar might have been due to having the whiskered nose tucked into someone else’s business. The ladies go on one exciting adventure after another, following clue after clue, including those unearthed by internet adventurer – Alfred Peterson?
I really loved this enjoyable cozy and first book of the series! Sarah’s new business venture, Second Chance, sounds like a favorable mixture of work, fun, and creativity. The friends of her grandmother are a real treat! I’ve always appreciated the company of older people, and these are certainly a young, fun bunch. As a cat lover who has been adopted by at least one and enchanted by many more, Elvis is a fun addition. The characters are – well, characters! Each are well defined and contribute to the story. The mystery is creative, with unforeseen twists and an ending that was quite surprising to me! I highly recommend this cozy to cat and mystery lovers of all ages, especially if one enjoys a slightly seasoned group of sleuths. The delightful generations represented are a treat. It is clear that more than Elvis has the second chance per the series name – the second chance also includes Sarah’s new career, the treasures she sells, and the charming seniors who share in the search for the real murderer.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying us with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*