Buy a Whisker
A Second Chance Cat Mystery #2
By Sofie Ryan
Author’s Website: sofieryan.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele
Things have been quiet in the coastal town of North Harbor, Maine, since Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, solved their first murder. Sarah is happy running Second Chance, the shop where she sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. But then she gets dragged into a controversy over developing the waterfront. Most of the residents—including Sarah—are for it, but there is one holdout—baker Lily Carter.
So when Lily is found murdered in her bakery, it looks like somebody wanted to remove the only obstacle to the development. But Sarah soon discovers that nothing is as simple as it seems. Now, with the help of her cat’s uncanny ability to detect a lie, Sarah is narrowing down the suspects. But can she collar the culprit before the ruthless killer pounces again? (Goodreads)
It is the quieter winter months in the tourist town of North Harbor, Maine, but Sophie and her cat Elvis are busy refurbishing and repurposing items for her store Second Chance. Lucky for her, the Canadian tourists are still coming and her online sales are growing. Mac is her jack of all trades and is intensely private. Her other employees include her grandmother’s friends’ Rose and Charlotte, retired educators, and high school student Avery, whose grandmother Liz is also like a grandmother to Sarah. The older ladies have taken to calling themselves Charlotte’s Angels (in homage to the television series and movie Charlie’s Angels) and have taken over Sarah’s sun porch for their office. They see themselves as quite the detective team, although recovering a set of dentures is about as exciting as it gets since they solved their first murder (in The Whole Cat and Caboodle). They are joined by their hacker friend Alfred, who is courting Rose, in their escapades.
The town is abuzz with talk of a large waterfront development that is in the works. However, Lily, who owns the local bakery, is the last holdout, refusing to sell. As a result, her shop has been vandalized and her business threatened by sabotage. Sarah is shocked to find Lily at the bottom of the bakery’s stairs early one morning. What at first seems to be an unfortunate accident is soon revealed to be murder. While Sarah is curious, she does not actively want to investigate but wishes to leave the detecting to her childhood friends Nick, who is an investigator for the medical examiner’s office, and Detective Michelle Andrews. The Angels have other ideas, and soon Sarah finds herself caught up in trying to keep the seniors out of trouble, all the while attempting to unearth the vandal, Lily’s murderer, the identity of the development’s secret investor, and the true fate of Caleb Swift, Lily’s ex-boyfriend who was presumed dead years ago when his boat was found adrift.
Buy a Whisker is such a fun read. The characters are all well developed and multidimensional. The Angels, who all consider Sarah to be family, are a diverse, feisty bunch, both endearing in their loyalty and entertaining in their antics. Though they are at times larger than life, they still come across as real people. We should all be so lucky to have people that care so deeply for us. I particularly love Alfred and his “not always exactly legal” computer activities and his charming efforts to win Rose’s heart. Mac is deliciously mysterious keeping his past and present close to the vest. I really want to know his back story. Sarah’s shared past with Nick, Michelle, and her friends Jess and Sam add depth to the story and give the setting a nice grounded, true to life atmosphere. And one cannot forget Elvis, the Jeopardy watching, lie-detector cat.
The mystery is complete and complex. There is quite a bit going on besides Lily’s refusal to sell and murder. All of the sub mysteries blend together seamlessly and tie together to solve the main murder mystery. The motivation and identity of Lily’s killer was kept at bay until very late in the book, but the real surprise for me was the revelation of Caleb’s lot. It all meshed to create an interesting and satisfying read.
I really enjoyed Buy a Whisker, and the Second Chance Cat series is quickly becoming a favorite, must read for me. I anxiously wait for the next book release. I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of the cozy mystery genre in general, those who enjoy some really entertaining senior citizens, and those who like the inclusion of a cat who may have a special ability.