Saturday, June 23, 2018

Claws of Death

Author:  Linda Reilly
Series:  A Cat Lady Mystery #2
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Lyrical Underground
Publication Date:  June 26, 2018

Description:  Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, is a long way from Hollywood, but it’s the place legendary actress Deanna Daltry wants to call home. Taking up residence in a stone mansion off Cemetery Hill, the retired, yet still glamorous, septuagenarian has adopted two kittens from Lara Caphart’s High Cliff Shelter for Cats. With help from her Aunt Fran, Lara makes sure the kitties settle in safely with their new celebrity mom. 
But not everyone in town is a fan of the fading star. Deanna was in Whisker Jog when she was younger, earning a reputation for pussyfooting around, and someone is using that knowledge against her. After being frightened by some nasty pranks, Deanna finds herself the prime murder suspect when the body of a local teacher is found on her property. Now, it’s up to Lara, Aunt Fran, and the blue-eyed Ragdoll mystery cat Lara recently encountered to collar a killer before another victim is pounced upon.

My Review

It's time to return to Whisker Jog, New Hampshire to visit with Lara Caphart, Aunt Fran and he cats of the High Cliff Shelter.  I enjoyed the first book in this series so I was looking forward to seeing what the author had in store next for these characters.  I was not disappointed.

I find Lara to be one of those protagonists that come across the page as warm and genuine.  I like the way the relationship with her Aunt Fran is written.  Both women have a wonderful affection for each other and as a reader is it evident in the writing.  Lara's best friend Sherry and her mother also add to the dynamic as part of the secondary cast of characters.  There is even a budding romance for Lara but it feels like it is progressing at a natural pace and doesn't detract from the story.  The story of how the cats are adopted from the shelter is a nice addition and I even found myself getting a bit chocked up when one found his/her forever home.

The mystery involves a murder in the present with the motive buried in the past.  Deana Daltry is the hometown girl turned Hollywood celebrity.  When she returns home not everyone is happy to see her and it drudges up the past.  This allows the author to provide a number of clues for Lara to search out and verify.  It also allows for a number of viable suspects to choose from.  The author does a nice job of having the mystery unfold throughout the course of the book and there are a nice bit of clues designed to mislead tossed in as well.  Needless to say I fell for the clues that were there to mislead.  I didn't not suspect the identity of the culprit until the reveal and thought it was done with a nice bit of suspense.

I enjoyed this story and was entertained by the characters and the setting.  I will definitely return to Whisker Jog to follow this series.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy provided to me by the publisher, Lyrical Underground, through Netgalley.

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