Claw and Disorder
A Cat Groomer Mystery #5
By Eileen Watkins
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Expert groomer Cassie McGlone knows how to handle even the feistiest of felines, but their owners are a different tale! But when an elderly woman is murdered in the night and suspicion falls on not only her husband but their cats as well, it’s up to Cassie to solve the case before fur really starts to fly in this fifth Cat Groomer Mystery by Eileen Watkins!
Around the quaint town of Chadwick, New Jersey, are two families in need of Cassie’s help. Wealthy perfectionist Gillian Foster is orchestrating the restoration of her family’s nineteenth century home and wants her purebred Himalayan, Leya, boarded at Cassie’s Comfy Cats. Meanwhile, the elderly Tillmans are in dire straits, hoarding possessions and a clowder of cats in their run-down house. Perhaps Cassie can persuade the couple to surrender a few of their furry friends. Unfortunately, neither task is cut and dried…
Mrs. Tillman is mysteriously asphyxiated in the night, and suspicion falls on her husband–and their cats. Meanwhile, the Fosters host a banquet for the local historical society, and when one of their guests falls gravely Gillian is convinced someone is out to get her. After a second death occurs, it’s clear a killer isn’t pussyfooting around. Now it’s up to Cassie to get these houses in order before disaster pounces again… (From Goodreads)
Who knew that cat grooming and boarding could be so dangerous? Or that Cassie would be transformed into a “gangsta girlfriend”? Cassie could have not predicted what she was in for when moving to Chadwick, New Jersey to start her new business two years ago.
Claw and Disorder is a page-turner; Cassie, her friends, and her business captured my attention from the beginning and held it throughout. I enjoyed the characters; cat lovers are my kind of people. Reading about the business and Cassie’s extensive knowledge of cats and breeds was enlightening. The mysteries are intriguing, keeping me guessing who the bad guys are.
Sarah asked for Cassie’s assistance with the needs of a couple that Sarah and a friend from church were helping. They needed help rehoming some of their cats. The no-kill shelter they work with doesn’t typically take pets from out of town, but Cassie might help them make an exception.
Chester and Bernice had large “collections”. Bernice had severe asthma, and Chester seemed to be in early stages of dementia. Both love cats, with five indoors and a small colony of community cats they fed. Chester had many items from when he interviewed famous athletes as a sportscaster and original jazz LP’s that had belonged to his father and toys from when their children were young.
Cassie met Sarah and another woman who helped out to meet the couple and the cats. Chester and Bernice were a wonderful couple who definitely needed help with their situation. They adored their cats and took good care of them. A couple days after their visit, Bernice was dead, apparently smothered. The police in the little town they live in near Cassie’s weren’t helpful, especially when Chester brought to their attention that some of their memorabilia had been disappearing.
Gillian, owner of Leya, a gorgeous Himalayan cat, came to Cassie’s Comfy Cats when she wanted to board the pet for a few days while finishing their home remodel. She and her husband did extensive work to restore the home to its early 1800’s elegance. It was fascinating to “see” the brief tour Gillian’s daughter gave Cassie when she picked up Leya. Gillian had a meltdown over a work that wasn’t perfect, so Cassie recommended her handyman, Nick, due to his excellent work.
When Cassie delivered Leya back to Gillian and her family, a reception for the historical society was ready to begin. Gillian desperately wanted the home on the historical register, so all had to be perfect. Nick was doing final tweaks, and Gillian was very happy with his work. Cassie and Nick were walking out together when Gillian’s husband came in and invited them to stay. Within a couple hours, one of the esteemed guests was taken to the hospital. She had eaten only from what was supposed to be the gluten free dish but was having a severe reaction. Gillian also could not eat gluten, and wondered if someone tried to ruin the reception.
Cassie, with help from friends, helped solve murders since coming to Chadwick. She wanted to find out who killed Chester’s beloved wife and didn’t understand why the Dalton police weren’t investigating. She asked the Chadwick detective she’s worked with before to help the cops in Dalton. If anyone would pursue the case, it would be Angela Bonelli. Bonelli was also involved with the gluten fiasco at Gillian’s due to the hospitalization of the guest. Then another person died under suspicious circumstances, and Cassie wasn’t able to let go of any of the situations.
I could almost picture Cassie, her friends, and her clients. The portrayals of Gillian and Chester especially were excellent, and helpful in guessing who might or might not have been bad guys. Each persona was built chapter by chapter. For those who have read earlier books in the series, we learn more about Cassie, her assistant Sarah, and her boyfriend and veterinarian, Mark. The woman who brought out the “gangsta girlfriend” in Cassie shown a spotlight on a different side to the polite young woman we’ve come to know!
The mysteries were well plotted and finely executed. I enjoyed the mental workout of each mystery and possible suspects, even having a strong feel for the resolution of one of the situations. This is solid addition to the series, and I am looking forward to the next one! The author entertains, gently shares or advises things related to cat care, and presents a set of mysteries, and a sleuth, that doesn’t quit. I highly recommend it!