The Big Kitty
by Claire Donally
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 1, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Back Cover:
Sunny Coolidge left her New York City newspaper job to go back to Maine and take care of her ailing father. But there’s not much excitement—or interesting work—in Kittery Harbor. So when Ada Spruance, the town’s elderly cat lady, asks for help finding her supposedly-winning lottery ticket, Sunny agrees. But when she arrives at Ada’s, with a stray tomcat named Shadow tagging along, they discover the poor woman dead at the bottom of her stairs. Was it an accident—or did Ada’s death have to do with that missing lottery ticket, which turns out to be worth six million dollars?
Town Constable Will Price suspects the worst. And Sunny’s reporter instincts soon drive her to do some investigating of her own. Even Shadow seems to have a nose for detective work. Following the trail of the purrloined ticket, Sunny and Shadow try to shed some light on a killer’s dark motives—before their own numbers are up...
The Big Kitty is a cozy mystery. Though Sunny is supposed to have lived in New York as a reporter for several years, she seems very naive. She's not street smart. She doesn't even know what commonly used abbreviations mean, and someone has to explain these things to her. She didn't think her actions through very well, either. She started off the story doing something that made me think, "Do you want the old lady to be killed?!" yet she rationalized that her actions were going to help the woman. At least no one in the book acted like she was especially clever, and her partner in investigation was "street smart." I found them and the other characters interesting and engaging.
The story had sections from the cat's point of view. I thought that the language--or something about how the cat expressed himself--was a little too human at first, but this got better throughout the story. He was given very cat motives for the things he did, and things were set up very naturally for the cat to act the way he did at the end. I liked the cat.
The mystery wasn't very complex. It was more like in real life, where people have a good idea of whodunit--or at least who was behind it--but not exactly who all was involved. In this case, they also didn't know where the main suspect was, though I thought they were a little slow in considering the possibilities. The suspense was created by physical danger to Sunny and on wondering if the lottery ticket would be found. There was also some relationship tensions.
There was no sex. There was a fair amount of explicit bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One:
[Short bit from the cat's POV]
*Still rubbing her arms, Sunny Coolidge returned to her computer and the latest crisis. She should have been home an hour and a half ago, but that was before some jackass had started acting out on a flight from Paris to Atlanta, getting his plane diverted to the customs and TSA facilities at Pease Airport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Frantic Web searches by stranded passengers in search of nearby accommodations had led to a surge of e-mails at MAX--the Maine Adventure X-perience sites--and Sunny's computer. Since the travel agency here in Kittery Harbor, Maine, was just across the state border and less than five miles from the airport in New Hampshire, she'd gone into overtime matchmaking passengers with local B&Bs, beating the bushes for whatever additional accommodations she could find, and arranging transportation.
Well, at least Ollie--Oliver Barnstable, a.k.a. "Ollie the Barnacle," the owner of MAX--should be happy tomorrow with all the extra revenue. And in spite of the late hour, Sunny was glad to help out the stuck travelers. It made her feel a little less like a mere Web lackey tending the site. When she'd come home to Maine eight months ago to take care of her ailing father, she'd only intended to take a brief leave of absence from her reporter job at the New York Standard. But unfortunately, the sickly state of the newspaper business had led her editor at the Standard to make her absence more permanent.