Cat with a Clue
A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #5
By Laurie Cass
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.
As rumors about the victim circulate through Chilson, the police are in a bind over a streak of baffling break-ins. Luckily, Minnie and Eddie are traveling the county in their bookmobile, and they’ll stop at nothing to find the spineless killer before the final page is turned on someone else. (from Goodreads)
‘A Cat with a Clue’ has wins four paws and a tail up for a five star rating from me! It is fifth in ‘A Bookmobile Cat Mystery’ series, which is one of the handful of cat cozy mysteries that I really enjoy, and I look forward to each new novel in the series. The combination of a special cat, a library, and a setting in my home state makes it impossible to miss.
Eddie is the bookmobile cat in Tonedagana County, Michigan in northwest Lower Peninsula. Minnie is the Assistant Director of the library and was also in charge of the bookmobile program. She explores new routes when requested to add a stop, and drives it 2 to 3 days a week with a library volunteer through sunshine or snow. Eddie had been a stowaway the first time he rode it, and a smuggled kitty the next time he rode at the request of a young girl undergoing cancer treatments. Since then, he is a regular passenger; the bookmobile patrons adore this precocious tabby.
In the meantime, Minnie’s favorite (and only!) Aunt Frances has started her summer business of running a B & B. She rents to singles who plan to stay for the summer if she might successfully play matchmaker with them. This summer, however, her mind – and heart – are elsewhere, on the friendly widower who moved in across the street from her, Otto. After more than two decades of being a widow, Frances’ heart has met its match in him.
Early one morning Minnie was shelving books before the staff arrived, and literally stumbled over the body of a dead woman in the nonfiction shelves. The woman was the niece of an elderly woman who had recently passed away. The niece was in town for her great aunt’s funeral – but how had she gotten into a locked library – and how did the killer get out? There was no sign that anyone had broken in, and all the doors were locked when Minnie arrived. Once more, Minnie and Eddie are on the trail of a killer without really meaning to be. Minnie’s new boyfriend, Ash, is a deputy with the county sheriff’s office who wants her to be safe and not take the kind of risks as she had in the past. This time, however, the stakes are higher than ever for Minnie when the bad guy/ gal finds out she is hot on the trail.
Minnie is an independent woman in many ways, living on a small houseboat during the summer and with Aunt Frances in the winter when the B & B is closed. She has clearly learned much from her aunt, who was widowed at a young age and supporting herself since in a town where winters can be harsh. Neither are shrinking violets! The characters complement each other, including the library staff, Minnie’s best friend Kristen, and Ash, who takes part of his morning run with her. Other characters contribute to solving the mystery as they bounce ideas off of each other. Whether the characters are long-term to the series or short-term to the novel, each is designed with care and given that bit of humanity that brings them to life. Let’s not forget Eddie! He has a unique catsonality that, while the cats I have loved have some of his traits, not one of them has quite all the personality plus Eddie does. And yes, I do think he understood everything Minnie said to him!
The plot was flawlessly executed, well-detailed, with plot twists that changed the course of questions that Minnie asked of people. The author has a gift for keeping several balls in the air at once, between the break-ins around town, the family of the murder victim, Minnie’s life with Eddie and her friends, and solving the murder itself. As the novel proceeded, I selected and discarded several suspects. The actual murderer, and the terrible threats made, were the stuff that nightmares are made of for those of us who love our felines. All the situations were resolved beautifully, and now…I eagerly await the next one. I heartily recommend ‘Cat with a Clue’ to cozy mystery readers who love cats, books/ libraries, and mysteries that keep the reader guessing through the very end. The unique flair this one has of the bookmobile with the bookmobile cat adds to the amazing series the author blesses us with, a series I hope to see for a long time to come.