A Whisker of Trouble
A Second Chance Cat Mystery #3
By Sofie Ryan
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
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? (Goodreads)
A clever counterfeit wine con and murder, a mix of young and older sleuths, a touch of romance, and a really perceptive cat all come together to make an enjoyable third entry in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series.
Sarah Grayson is the owner of Second Chance, a resale and repurposing shop in tourist town North Harbor, Maine. She is always on the lookout for new materials so she readily agrees to help her grandmother’s friend Stella when her brother dies. Edison Hall was quite the collector (pack rat), and Sarah, along with her right-hand man Mac, expects to have their work cut out for them when they go to sort through the house. What they do not expect is to find a dead body on the kitchen floor in the midst of Edison’s wine collection. The deceased turns out to be Ronan Quinn, a wine expert hired by Edison’s son Ethan to appraise the wine. Unfortunately, the wine turns out to all be fake. Did Quinn’s questions about the wine lead to his death? Stella does not think the police are working quickly enough to solve Quinn’s murder, and she hires “Charlotte’s Angels” to get to the bottom of things.
Charlotte’s Angels is comprised of Sarah’s older friends, and some part-time employees, Liz, Charlotte, Rose, and Rose’s gentleman friend Alfred. Alfred has amazing computer skills and a newly minted private investigator’s license, and the crew has set up shop in Sarah’s store sun porch. Though Sarah does not want to get involved in the investigation (or so she keeps telling everyone), at the very least she feels like she can keep them out of danger if she helps them. It is almost too late for her when she realizes that she is the one in mortal danger.
Sofie Ryan has created an interesting setting in Sarah’s shop. All of the refurbishing and repurposing tidbits are much more creative than I could ever come up with. Equally interesting are the cast of characters. I love that there are multiple generations of people investigating. They have an easy rapport, and their connection makes them truly a family. Sarah is an intelligent protagonist, but do not underestimate the abilities of her cohorts. Their affability sometimes hides their keen wit, but they mean business. Alfred has become one of my favorite characters over the course of the series. Of course, the cast would not be complete without Elvis, the Jeopardy watching cat. I do not think Sarah and crew could solve a crime without his input, and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time to save the day.
The murder mystery itself is well crafted, although I did pick out whodunit fairly early into the story, but I did not know his/her motivation until near the end. The wine swindle was actually the more complex and interesting mystery to me. It was fun to follow everyone’s steps as they flushed out suspects, and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested. The romance portion of the book is relatively incidental, yet sweet. I just hope that there is not a love triangle brewing. I do not get why so many cozies have love triangles.
A Whisker of Trouble is a fun read, and I cannot wait to see what further escapades await Sarah, Elvis, and company. I recommend this cozy to fans of older sleuths and mysteries featuring super smart cats.