Catch as Cat Can
A Sunny and Shadow Mystery, Book #5
By Claire Donally
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
When a new seafood shop opens in Kittery Harbor, Maine, Sunny’s tomcat Shadow is on the hunt for tasty treats—until Sunny discovers a cold-blooded killer’s catch of the day.
Neil Garret is new to town, but his seafood shop is already going belly up. Working next door, former reporter Sunny Coolidge can’t help noticing the telltale signs. But checking on Neil one morning reveals something far worse for business than a lack of inventory—a mysterious man lies murdered in his freezer.
Sunny’s boyfriend, Chief Investigator Will Price, nets Neil as the prime suspect. But even when Sunny learns about Neil’s secret past, the open-and-shut case seems fishy. Now it’s up to Sunny to find the real culprit and get Neil off the hook.
Catch as Cat Can is definitely a four paws and tail up novel! Shadow brings an air of mystery and delight to his person, Sunny, and to Kittery Harbor. He is the epitome of a cat who owns his person! Sunny is a sleuth extraordinaire and has a close relationship with Will, the Chief Inspector for their little town. In the cold of winter, Sunny’s boss Ollie, who owns the neighboring storefront, asks her to check with Neil Garret from the seafood shop and collect the rent he is late to pay. Neil has regularly given tidbits of fish to Shadow whenever the sweet little beggar had opportunity to cast pleading eyes to the fishmonger.
Sunny, who usually brought her cheerful personality to each person she met, couldn’t cheer Neil up, however. When she heard the gate going up to Neil’s shop one morning and went to meet him, the first thing they noticed was how cold the shop was. Neil walked part of the way through the shop, he opened the custom-made walk-in freezer and saw a dead man lying in frozen blood. He and Sunny spent much longer with the local police that day than either wanted to. Sunny’s natural curiosity and Shadow’s natural desire to keep a food source nearby, send them into a vortex of mayhem and more murder that they didn’t see coming. We see why, with Shadow, that cats need nine lives! Even if he is trying to protect his primary food source, he does love Sunny.
While there is a handful of mystery series with a cat in a role almost equivalent that of its primary person, Shadow’s role is almost greater than Sunny’s, with whom he shares top billing. He is a cat with a memory for his own past and an ever-evolving attachment to Sunny, all the while retaining his right to kitty-cat around the town to solve his own curiosity. I enjoy reading the portions from Shadow’s point of view, including his nicknames for people!
Sunny and her father Mike are both very well-defined, not only by their conversations and actions but by their thoughts that are shown. Ollie, Sunny’s boss, and Will, her boyfriend, are defined as needed for their roles, as is Helena, Mike’s lady friend and neighbor. The peripheral characters are described only as needed for their more limited roles.
The author has a gift for plotting and writing cozy mysteries, and offers us another delightfully riveting read. Descriptions of the setting are so well written that one can almost feel the bite of the wind and snow! It is a rich toboggan ride of humor and suspense that could almost give a cat-about-town grey whiskers. When Will’s old ‘friend’ Val, a US Marshall, came to town and began riding around town with him, and the dead man in Neil’s freezer had no ID of any kind, things were strange indeed. Just when it seems the reader knows who the bad guy/ gal is, another plot twist occurs and the reader changes direction along with Sunny and Shadow. I highly recommend Catch as Cat Can for older teens and adults of any age who enjoy their cozy mysteries with humor and with nail-biting moments, cats, and a bit of romance.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*