The Cat, the Sneak, and the Secret

A Cats in Trouble Mystery #7

By Leann Sweeney

ISBN 9780451415431

Author’s website:

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie



In the latest from the author of The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim, a feline with a penchant for pilfering ends up unearthing a deadly mystery.…

Jillian Hart and Tom are finally tying the knot, but first they need to make sure Tom’s stepson, Finn, is as comfortable as possible in the lake house they will all call home. So when it becomes clear that Finn has fallen for a pretty cat from the Mercy Animal Sanctuary, Jillian and Tom readily agree to make room for one more—even though the tortoiseshell kitty is a notorious kleptomaniac.

So far, the cat has sneaked out of the adoption center time after time, bringing back trinkets, shoelaces, and socks. But when she brings back an antique locket, Finn enlists Tom’s and Jillian’s sleuthing skills. They hope to return the treasured item to its owner, but their search for answers is sidetracked when a body is found. Still, their sneaky cat’s find may just lead them to a killer.…


What do a locket, a ratty old loveseat, and a classic pickup truck have in common? Only Jillian Hart, her fiance Tom Stewart, and best friend Deputy Candace Carson would be able to make sense of this collection. The Cat, the Sneak, and the Secret is #7 in Leann Sweeney’s ‘A Cats in Trouble’ series. It easily can be enjoyed as a stand-alone or in sequence with the series.

Oh, it is so much fun to be back with Jillian, Merlot, Syrah, Chablis, and now – Magpie! Gotta love Magpie, who likes to filch fun ‘toys’ and treasures! If only she could talk, what tales she could share. Tales that would reveal the truth about the loveseat she was most recently found in, the blood on her coat. Oh yes, and the locket. One of her treasures.

Jillian and Tom’s wedding was only days away when the town was wracked with grief from the murder of two prominent citizens. Well, one of the two, anyway. Jillian Hart and her soon-to-be stepson Finn were at the pet adoption center, where Finn’s boss and friend Shawn watches Finn’s pup Yoshi until he moves into an apartment after semester break at college. Finn fell in love with an escape artist cat at the shelter who always brings back a collection of ‘treasures’ she finds along the way. Finn was ready to adopt this lovely cat, but when he was ready to take the baby to Jillian’s, the cat hadn’t been seen after her most recent escape. He, Shawn and Jillian then answered a call to pick up a cat hiding in a loveseat wearing a collar from the adoption center. Ed, of Ed’s Swap Shop and companion to Tom’s mother, had picked up a used loveseat in a parking lot.

It was Magpie, as Finn named her, inside the love seat. A chain with a locket was around her paw, and she was covered in – blood? But, she had no injuries. When a bullet was found in the loveseat, Deputy Candace came out and found that the blood was, unfortunately, human.

The following day Jillian was out with Kara, her journalist step-daughter by her late husband, when the call came in that a body had been found at a construction site. Jillian raced Kara to the site and they waited hours for the body, which had been scheduled to be covered with concrete that day,   the body was quickly identified once uncovered. The second victim was found the following day, and it looked as if the vic had committed suicide. Both vics had been shot with a .22, same caliber as the bullet found with the loveseat. Thus begins the most heartbreaking and challenging pair of deaths encountered yet by Jillian.

I truly enjoy Jillian, a wise and intelligent woman with the gift to make friends with almost anybody, most especially any pet in need. She sees people with her heart, choosing to look for the good in a person while also seeing the pain masked by their anger or indifference. Jillian is not naive; she is unique in that she doesn’t participate in gossip, preferring facts and making her own conclusions of those around her. She is compassionate, a lady with firm convictions. Her fiance, working as a PI until circumstances require him to return to law enforcement and fill in as interim police chief, is also a man of firm convictions and intelligence. They complement each other, and attract friends who are like-minded. Candace, Kara, and Finn are as well defined as – and influenced by – Jillian and Tom. Others are as developed as required for their roles. It is stunning to see the difference between someone as kind and loving as Jillian when seen side-by-side with the bad guy or gal; I admire the author’s heart shining through Jillian.

The plot is thoroughly executed. Leann Sweeney proves her talents as an excellent author as she flawlessly designs and quilts a cozy mystery that is not only worth reading, it is worth re-reading. There are continual plot twists that introduce, suggest, and set aside possible suspects. The victims seemingly have nothing in common, no reason to die as they did. And even though I had suspected the guilty guy or gal, someone else was my favorite suspect. The motive couldn’t be easily discerned until the final clues were revealed, almost with pride, by the perp. This reader was pulled in from the beginning of the story and went along for the ride as the suspense built until feeling like I was on a speeding, twisting amusement park ride. I highly recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed the author’s prior mysteries, who likes pets, especially cats, and romance sweetening the intensity of the mystery investigation. The Cats in Trouble Mystery series will be a hit for a long time to come!