Hiss and Tell
A Sunny and Shadow Mystery, Book #4
By Claire Donally
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
In this Sunny & Shadow Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Last Licks, a fat-cat wedding is making waves in Kittery Harbor, Maine.
Political heiress Priscilla Kingsbury is about to marry Carson de Kruk, son of business mogul Augustus de Kruk, at the Kingsburys’ waterfront compound. For reporter Sunny Coolidge, an assignment from the Harbor Courier to cover the event is like catnip.
But when Sunny photographs men pulling the body of a dead woman out of the water, the Kingsburys’ private security isn’t happy. They claim the woman’s death was an accident, but the story seems fishy. Now, with a little help from her police officer boyfriend and her cunning cat Shadow, Sunny is determined to get the scoop on a killer. (From Goodreads)
Hiss and Tell is the fourth Sunny and Shadow Mystery by Claire Donally; it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone. Sunny Coolidge left her career in journalism in the Big Apple when her father became ill. Her job was eliminated, so she has remained in Kittery Harbor, Maine. The local Harbor Courier, is the one-man newspaper operation of Ken Howell, so Sunny works for MAX, Maine Adventure X-perience, promoting all things relating to tourism and their beautiful area. Shadow, Sunny’s loyal grey tiger cat. has an opinion on everyone and everything. Seeing the world from his cats-eye view is startling at times, often funny, and in this particular story, even heart-hurting. He can find trouble faster than one can say food and shows me how they see us as rather peculiar two-leggeds!
Sunny’s gentleman friend, Constable Will Price, was running for county sheriff against the long-term sheriff, Frank Nesbit. As he began campaigning, the Sheriff assigned Will out of town in Wilawiport, and out of the way of effectively campaigning. The families of a bride and groom and their wedding party were in Wilawiport, the very upper-crust, old-money part of the county. Priscilla ‘Cillie’ Kingsbury, daughter of a generations-old political family was marrying Carson, the son of business mogul Augustus de Kruk. Will was going to be the ‘liaison’ between the Kingsbury family’s security and the community – in other words, traffic monitor.
Late one night, Ken Howell received a tip that something was up at the Kingsbury compound and, hiring a boat and calling Sunny to take photos for him, they learned that a young woman died. This led Sunny to be on-site to cover the wedding events, in the pretense of making sure that the Kingsbury’s had at least one objective journalist. In the meantime, Sunny’s former boss from the newspaper she had worked for was at a press conference – in Wilawiport? He was chasing a story that a retired colleague had been investigating for years about another kind of mogul, the elusive Taxman. The Taxman was a blackmailing, murdering criminal and he could have interests with the wedding party or one of the families.
Wow! What a tale! And Shadow added to the tale; his tail disappeared from Sunny and her dad’s home after went to the Kingsbury’s. Until the day that Augustus de Kruk arrived and the family and friends gathered to greet him – and a familiar tabby tail and darling furry face graced the wall by the main house. What followed next was the beginning of his broken feline heart. Sunny, horrified and frozen in place, didn’t want to admit to being Shadow’s owner and get evicted from the grounds. Shadow didn’t want to abandon Sunny, yet what’s a guy to do? This is where my heart began to hurt for Shadow, and well, you’ll have to read it and see!
The characters are very well-developed, including those who are present only for the duration of this novel. Sunny, Mike, Shadow and Will are flexible as the situation requires without changing their basic makeup. Shadow might actually be my favorite, which could be how well Shadow’s feelings were described throughout this mystery, reminding me that our companions have tender hearts, also. Sunny runs a close second, in spite of her choosing to not call for Shadow – or call off the security team chasing him. Cillie, who definitely isn’t silly, also has much more depth than her nickname might imply.
The plot is thoroughly planned and beautifully executed with all the open ends tied up. There are several possible suspects throughout the story with as many possible outcomes. Sunny risks wearing out her welcome as she pursues some of her snooping; Nancy Drew sure made it look easier than this! The plot twists were unexpected, and I was barely a step ahead of the story in guessing who the bad guy was – only by elimination, certainly not by evidence. The motive was really unexpected! I like a mystery that stumps me, and this did not disappoint! I heartily recommend Hiss and Tell to mystery and cat lovers and anyone who enjoys a well-crafted mystery in unique settings. And five paws …. um, how about four six-toed paws up for Shadow and Sunny!