The Black Cat Knocks on Wood
A Bad Luck Cat Mystery, Book #2
By Kay Finch
Author’s website: http://www.kayfinch.com/
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The author of Black Cat Crossing is back as mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat Hitchcock find themselves roped into another dangerous murder case…
Sabrina finds it difficult to work on her latest suspense novel when her Aunt Rowe’s antics keep tying up her thoughts. This time Rowe and her fun-loving friends have decided to compete in the upcoming Texas Hill Country Senior Pro Rodeo. The problem is these women have little to no experience with lassos, bulls, or even horseback riding.
Before Sabrina can keep the stubborn seniors from mounting their steeds, she’s sidetracked by a bigger problem. An uppity local business owner is found dead in an accident—right after a black cat was seen in her office. While the townsfolk think the bad luck cat has struck again, Sabrina suspects there might be something more murderous afoot. With a twisted killer on the loose, she’ll have to round up clues quickly before she or her aunt are steered straight into the path of danger.
I absolutely love The Black Cat Knocks on Wood, second in the Bad Luck Cat Mystery series! It can be read as a standalone, although I read the first in series just prior to reading this. The characters have grown just since the first novel, and of course Hitchcock is still the best-known cat in Lavender, Texas. Hitchcock was, for me, the primary attraction to the series, just long enough to be wowed by the author’s excellence in plotting and characterization, both of which make this series so much better than I had even anticipated.
Sabrina left behind her career as a paralegal in Houston to follow her dream. Her beloved Aunt Rowe had taken a nasty fall and was recovering from a broken leg when she invited Sabrina to move to Lavender stay with her for a while, live in one of the cottages she rented to tourists, and write the book she had promised herself to write for many years. The two of them were close, and the move was a win-win for both of them.
Aunt Rowe, recovered now from her injury, was exercising more than most 70+ year old ladies to get her strength back. Her plan to ride in a Senior Pro Rodeo with three of her contemporaries and rope goats was just not what Sabrina thought she should be involved in. Then she sees that Rita, the barracuda she had worked for in Houston for many years, was renting a cottage? And expected Sabrina to drop what she was doing and work for the woman while she stayed there – and was befriended by Aunt Rowe?
When one of Rowe’s friends, Pearl, asked to borrow Hitchcock to bring bad luck to a Realtor she had been cheated by, Sabrina could put her foot down…until she learned the next morning that Hitchcock had done another Houdini and mysteriously made it out of their cottage and into town. He was supposedly seen in the building Pearl had put money under contract to purchase just before…Pearl went in to find the Realtor, Crystal Devlin, dead under a pile of bricks that had fallen from where staged. Pearl, known to have a huge grudge against Crystal, was the primary suspect, and wanted Sabrina’s help to find the real culprit. *Sigh*. How could a woman get a mystery written with these crises?
Sabrina and BFF Tyanne, the local indie bookstore owners are very well described. Were there a real Lavender, including these two ladies, I might be tempted to go meet them! I could see how events from the first novel, thanks in part to Tyanne’s strong encouragement, has given Sabrina a more confident outlook. Rowe and her staff, Glenda and Thomas, are not as well defined but are clearly the next most important people in the novel. Rowe’s friends and the murder suspects are each defined as their roles required. What can I say about Hitchcock? He takes a serious role as a protector for Sabrina, even though he does tend to disappear at will and grab rides where his feline desires lead him. Love this little guy!
There are two things that impress me about the mystery in general. The first is Sabrina’s no-nonsense approach to black cats being unlucky or any other superstition. She refuses to give in to superstition. The second is how the author includes an event with Sabrina and veterinarian Magnolia Jensen called Love-a-Black-Cat adoption weekend to show the positive traits of the lovable black cats and help find good fur-ever homes for the stray black cats in the area.
The plot was intricately woven and thoroughly executed, leaving no loose ends. There are interesting twists and turns that kept this reader going in circles at times trying to determine who the bad guy / gal might be. There were moments that were so fraught with suspense that they were almost breathtaking. It was good to see how diligently Sabrina pursued finding the killer! It was not an easy choice, as there was certainly a wild assortment of suspects! And the final resolution was almost a complete, sad surprise to me, although I absolutely enjoyed Hitchcock’s helping paw! I highly recommend The Black Cat Knocks on Wood to those who love well-written cozy mysteries, cats, and reading about life in the hill country of Texas, the life of a writer and of a bookseller, and even female seniors preparing for a rodeo.