Gone with the Whisker
A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #8
By Laurie Cass
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
A friendly feline and a feisty librarian merrily roll along in the newest Bookmobile Cat mystery…until murder stops them in their tracks!
It’s the summer season in Chilson, Michigan, and the town is packed with tourists ready for a fabulous Fourth of July fireworks show. Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, have spent a busy day on the bookmobile, delivering good cheer and great reads to even the library’s most far-flung patrons. But Minnie is still up for the nighttime festivities, eager to show off her little town to her visiting niece, Katrina.
But then, during the grand finale of the fireworks display, Katrina discovers a body. Minnie recognizes the victim as one of the bookmobile’s most loyal patrons. And she knows she–and Eddie–will have to get to the bottom of this purr-fect crime. (from Goodreads)
There are many good cozy mystery series with cats, but only a few have captured my heart as Eddie has. This fabulous cozy is catnip for fans of cat-and-book-themed mysteries. I love the characters more with each new mystery. The setting of northwest lower Michigan in summer is wonderful, and this mystery is confounding and dangerous! It can be read as a standalone, and even more fun as part of the series.
Eddie is the popular bookmobile cat, best known for being Minnie’s best feline buddy. Eddie has one word, Mrr, varied primarily by tone and volume. They are almost inseparable, as Eddie is expert at getting into and out of things to get his way. He was on the maiden voyage of the bookmobile after slipping out of the small houseboat Minnie lives on and to the library. He gave her no choice but to take him along. Just once. The next time Minnie was at a certain stop, a tiny girl with leukemia wanted to know where the kitty was and insisted that Minnie bring him along again. Eddie became one of the library’s best kept secrets. Eddie has also been her companion in finding killers.
Minnie has finally discovered that Rafe, now a middle school principal, who she met when visiting Aunt Frances 20 years ago, is the love of her life. They are an adorable couple, and even Eddie tolerates him. When Minnie’s brother and sister-in-law send her 17-year-old niece to stay with her for the summer, Minnie hopes that she and Kate will grow as close as she and her aunt Frances have over the years. She wasn’t prepared for the mumbles and hostility of a teen missing her friends and seeking a summer job in a strange town.
Rafe, Minnie, and Kate went to the fireworks display on the Fourth. Afterwards, as they head back toward the houseboat, they talk about how Kate is starting a new job in the morning. Kate suddenly screamed. She has almost fallen over a dead body next to the lake. Minnie knew the man. Rex was one of her library bookmobile patrons, and he had been shot.
When they talk about the nightmares she is having, Minnie tells her that she has found someone dead in the past (an understatement, having found more than one). Kate is impressed that Minnie helped find out who the killer was and begs Minnie to help find the bad guy so she can sleep again. Determined to help her, Minnie agrees, despite having almost lost her life when “investigating” in the past.
Minnie’s friends and her co-workers at the library are used to her unusual questions; Minnie is a problem solver and will get to the bottom of any challenge. She and her bookmobile assistant, Julia, are saddened by Rex’s senseless murder and try to find a starting place to find the bad guy. Minnie and Rafe’s friend Ash is a deputy, studying to become a detective in the local sheriff’s office. Over the past couple years, he and Hal, an older detective, have learned to listen to what Minnie hears and observes while not encouraging her to get involved.
A few days later, Minnie and Julia are out on the bookmobile when Eddie throws a kitty fit. Minnie opened the door; Eddie dashed out and led them on a chase to where he found the body of Nicole, another bookmobile patron. Initially it was thought she drowned, but the autopsy showed she was murdered. The stakes increased, along with Kate’s nightmares, and an attempt is made on Minnie’s life.
I feel as if I know the delightful characters well, yet I learn more about them in each mystery. Minnie is a young woman with a big heart, intelligence, and the drive to find the truth. She is still willing to learn from Aunt Frances, especially when it comes to improving her relationship with Kate. Eddie is an adorable, opinionated boy who is fiercely loyal to the human who feeds him – as long as he gets to ride on the bookmobile! I also like Aunt Frances, who is adjusting to no longer running the boarding house across the street from her and her husband’s home.
This mystery, at first, seemed to have no easy solution. A bit of investigation opened a couple possibilities for Rex’s killer, but Nicole’s death changed everything. I enjoyed both Minnie’s daily life with Kate and Rafe, as well as the three of them putting ideas together of who the killer was. While I had an idea who was involved, I had no clue how or why. I was quite surprised at the root of the situation and the full resolution! The end includes several surprises and all loose ends are tied up; I highly recommend this best-in-series!