Second Chance Cat Mystery #9
By Sofie Kelly
Author’s website: sofiekelly.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Secondhand store owner Sarah Grayson and her inquisitive rescue cat, Elvis, will need to close the book on a killer in the newest installment of this charming New York Times bestselling series.
Although Sarah Grayson is often tending to the contained chaos of her delightful secondhand store in North Harbor, Maine, plus dealing with the quirky personality of her rescue cat, Elvis, she still takes an occasional night off. But her evening out comes to an abrupt end when Sarah discovers Stella Hall, a member of the library board, standing over a body in the street.
Although Stella admits that she and the victim had fought about several things including library funding, she is adamant that she is innocent and the real killer is on the loose. Sarah is eager to help, but even with the assistance of Charlotte’s Angels, the senior citizen detectives who rent out part of her shop, there is still a vast amount of circumstantial evidence linking Stella to the crime. The odds may be stacked against them, but Sarah and Elvis, along with the Angels, will work hard to check out the suspects and catch a killer. (From Goodreads)
Totally Pawstruck is another excellent novel in its series; I thoroughly enjoyed it! There is a winning combination of a personality-plus cat, a cast of characters who make up the very best kind of family, a charming repurpose and thrift store, and a murdered man with more enemies than friends. If I had the choice of where to get lost for a few months, this just might be a place I’d seriously consider. Elvis was a stray cat when an old friend gave him to Sarah. He is now an indispensable part of her life, as well as a feline lie-detector who must watch Jeopardy! every day.
Sarah moved to North Harbor, where she loved staying with Gram many summers when growing up. One of her oldest, best friends, Nick, is still here, as is Jess, her best friend since college. Gram and her new husband now live in an apartment in the renovated Victorian Sarah purchased and lives in. Gram’s closest friends Liz, Charlotte, and Rose are like beloved aunts to Sarah. Owner of Second Chance, the repurpose/ thrift shop, Sarah employs Rose and Charlotte. She also employs her right-hand person, Mac, who later became her boyfriend, and Avery, Liz’s granddaughter and a wonderfully creative teen.
Charlotte, Rose, and Mr. Peterson run Charlotte’s Angels from Second Chance, begun after Charlotte was accused of a crime she did not commit. Mr. P has the private investigator license for the Angels, and Rose has been studying to get hers.
Sarah and Jess had been out to dinner and were walking to Sarah’s SUV. They saw a man lying partway into the street, with Stella, a friend of Gram and the Angels, standing over him holding a bloody glass sphere. Stella was in shock and did not respond to their questions. The man is Vincent Swift. His pulse is very weak and his breathing shallow. They called for an ambulance, and Jess tried to get Stella to respond while Sarah held Vincent’s hand, encouraging him to hold on. There was a puddle of blood under his head, and from the way he was lying, it was clear he had been attacked rather than slipping on the ice and falling.
During the night, Swift died. Stella’s peace of mind died, also, since she is the only suspect the police are looking at. Shortly before he was attacked, Vincent and Stella had a public disagreement at the library where both were in a board meeting. Vincent was a cantankerous man who made enemies of most people in town due to how he treated others. He and his son, while not exactly estranged, rarely speak.
The characters are three-dimensional, heartwarming people I would love to have as my extended family! The lovable group of seniors of Charlotte’s Angels, plus Liz and Gram, are a delightful family. I especially like Sarah, Elvis, and Mac. They all help each other out and those in trouble. They are witty, loving, and hard-working. We get to know them best through their actions and realistic dialog.
It is sad that the dead man had more enemies than friends. It also makes for a definite challenge when trying to find the real killer. We are also presented with several possible motives and a red herring. Stella hired her friends at Charlotte’s Angels to find who really killed Vincent so she could stay out of jail. Sarah isn’t technically one of the Angels, but she does provide legwork and input to the brainstorming sessions. I continue to be amazed at the kinds of things that Mr. P finds online, and how, even though Liz’s connections in town provide valuable input.
I was surprised to find that my pet suspect was the real bad guy yet felt very sad for the person. There were bigger surprises that I didn’t see coming, however, which really added to the novel. All loose ends were tied up, and I am already missing Elvis, Sarah, and the Angels! I highly recommend this cozy mystery, which can be read as a standalone, and the rest of the series.