Reviewed by Jeanne
Cassie McGlone is a relative newcomer to Chadwick, New Jersey, but she thinks it will be a good place to start business as a cat groomer. Not much competition for one thing; and she has found a good, affordable location. She even has a high paying client in George DeLeuw who wants the best for his Persian, Harpo, and who even has a professional grade grooming studio set up in his house.
Arriving for her regular appointment, Cassie is shocked to see Harpo outside and unattended. That shock is nothing compared to what awaits her when she gets Harpo back into the house: DeLeuw is dead. As sorry as she is about her human client, Cassie’s main concern is what is going to happen to Harpo. She’s afraid he’ll end up abandoned or euthanized, so she volunteers to board him until the estate is settled—but that may wait until the murderer is found.
I read a lot of cat-centric mysteries, enough so that I tend to start new series with lowered expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by this one: cats are important to the storyline without being able to pontificate on the human condition or find clues. Cassie is a solid heroine who, in my view, has a reasonably good head on her shoulders. She’s also seeking to escape some things in her past that may yet come back to create trouble. She has a strained relationship with her mother, partly out of grief after her father’s passing. The rest of the supporting characters were adequate; this is a first in series book, after all, and there are characters to be introduced.
The plot was interesting and while a clue or two was not followed up with alacrity, it was all still entertaining. My favorite part is the way cat information was handled; I never felt I was being lectured to and yet I had a strong feeling that the writer knows her subject. (With some authors, I have had my doubts.) On the other hand, there’s not so much information non-cat aficionados would get bogged down but would be able to enjoy the mystery on its own merits.
The second book in the series, The Bengal Identity, just came out in March. It's on my list to read soon!