Night of the Were-Cat
A Cat Groomer Mystery #6
By Eileen Watkins
Author Website: efwatkins(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
In the newest installment of Eileen Watkins’ meow-tastic Cat Groomer Mystery series, expert groomer Cassie McGlone must find a drug-peddling killer at loose in her small New Jersey town before the fur begins to fly!
Cassie McGlone’s Comfy Cats grooming service can turn a scruffy stray into a glamorous Cat-dashian. But with a drug-peddling killer at loose in her picturesque hometow-n of Chadwick, New Jersey, she’ll need to comb through some dangerous suspects to avert a catastrophe…
To an animal lover like Cassie, all cats are beautiful…though some are more photogenic than others. When a customer brings in Quentin, a Maine Coon who looks more wolf than feline, it gives Cassie an idea. The owner of Chadwick’s retro movie theater wants to promote an upcoming werewolf movie marathon–how about a w-erewolf lookalike contest for pets? Things are getting hairy around Chadwick in other ways too. A thief targets the clinic where Cassie’s veterinarian boyfriend Mark works, making off with anesthetics. Soon after, a young woman dies in a related drug incident. Wanting to help the police, Cassie and her good friend, Dawn, go undercover on the singles scene to investigate a suspected “party drug” ring, getting Mark’s protective hackles up. But the villain may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing–someone Cassie knows and trusts. And if her sleuthing skills aren’t up to scratch, the culprit may slink away to kill again. (Goodreads)
There are some purely delightful scenes in this novel, and some horribly frightening ones unrelated to the fascinating cat on the cover. I thoroughly enjoyed this newest Cat Groomer mystery, from the cats to the pet events, from the characters to the mystery. Cassie’s Cozy Cats has been open only a couple years, but it is the premier pet grooming and boarding facility in town. Cassie is very happy doing what she does, and life is good.
Halloween is a couple weeks away and events have been scheduled. One is a pet parade that will raise money for the local animal shelter. Dogs will be the primary participants in it, and the pets can wear costumes if the owners desire. Cassie and her assistant, Sarah, get an idea for another one when meeting the uniquely patterned Maine Coon cat, Quentin Collins, named after the werewolf from Dark Shadows, an old soap opera.
Quentin is bigger than the average Maine Coon. His color and pattern make the gentle giant look like a wolf, or this close to Halloween, a werewolf. It was a pity that cats and dogs, no matter how well trained they are, do not always get along well. This would be the perfect fur baby to win a pet parade if most participants weren’t dogs!
That evening, Cassie and her boyfriend Mark, a vet at a nearby clinic, went to a movie theater that shows classic movies. The usher told them about movies being shown before Halloween, including the werewolf movies that will be shown during Halloween week. The theater owner wants to find something special to draw in moviegoers. Cassie told the usher and Mark about the cat they currently have in their shop and the idea Sarah and Cassie had, and the usher will present it to the owner.
An emergency called them to the veterinary clinic. The evening tech was accosted when going into the clinic, threatened, and forced at gunpoint to open the room where anesthetics and narcotics were kept. Days later, a young woman died because of taking, or being slipped, a drug that may have been stolen from the clinic.
Cassie has helped solve murders and other crimes since moving to Chadwick. She knows nothing about drugs and doesn’t plan to get involved in this case. At least not until the parents of the girl who died wants to sue the veterinary clinic, even though it can’t be proven the drug she died from was stolen from there. Cassie asked Angela, the police detective, what she could do to help. As a result, Cassie and her best friend Dawn go to The Roost, a dance club where single women have been drugged and harmed in recent months. Cassie saw a man put something in a woman’s drink when her head was turned. Her actions to protect the woman puts Cassie on a killer’s “most-wanted” list.
Cassie, Dawn, Sarah, and Mark are the kind of neighbors I would like to have. They are smart, funny, loyal, and dedicated to helping animals. Sarah, Mark, and Cassie’s ideas that led to the theater’s special photo contest for non-canine pets was great fun for all involved. It drew many into the theater to vote and learn about upcoming movies. Cassie and Dawn make a great sleuthing team, and I enjoyed meeting the quirky owner of the theater, Avery Lathrop. Most of the characters are colorful and endearing.
This is a terrific mystery! The characters have rich, full lives yet still help in their community. The initial crime was harsh enough, especially for the vet tech, for the clinic to lose drugs that had to be carefully logged per statutory requirements and potentially face a lawsuit. There were several possible scenarios in which the theft could have taken place and who the thief and dealers are. There were red herrings and plot twists that kept me guessing. The solution was perfect, and there were no loose ends. I even liked the winner of the pet photo contest. Overall, I loved this latest offering in the series, and highly recommend it!