The Whole Cat and Caboodle
by Sofie Ryan
Mass Market Paperback:
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: April 1, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Sarah Grayson is the proprietor of Second Chance, a shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. She sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. The shop has a big, black cat named Elvis. He turned up at a local bar when the band was playing the King of Rock and Roll’s music and hopped in Sarah’s truck. Since then, he’s been her constant companion and the furry favorite of everyone who comes into the store.
When Sarah’s elderly friend Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, the kindly old lady is arrested for the murder. Even Sarah's old high school flame, investigator Nick Elliot, thinks the evidence is against Maddie. It's up to Sarah, Elvis, and a geriatric version of Charlie's Angels to clear her friend’s name.
The Whole Cat and Caboodle is a cozy mystery. Considering the series title ("Second Chance Cat"), it won't surprise you that a very smart cat is a major character. While he has some human attributes (like nodding and shrugging, which I've never witnessed a cat do) and he does play a major role in solving the mystery, he still comes across as a cat.
There's quite a bit of comic relief in this story, so I suspect we're not intended to take the characters or story too seriously. They are fun characters, and Elvis and Mr. P stole the show in my opinion.
The heroine gets involved in the mystery because she's trying to keep her elderly friends out of danger as they sleuth. At times, she's observant and thinks things out. At other times, she (and her friends) seem to miss the obvious. I was 100% certain of whodunit within a page of first meeting whodunit and quickly figured out the motive. Yet no one made those connections even though they had the same information I did, and they only suspected after the cat clued them in.
This book had some of my pet peeves: the police arrested and charged someone based completely on circumstantial evidence that could point equally well to other people. The characters all acted like this was an air-tight case, though. And, in the end, the only way to get proof of whodunit was for a clever murderer to suddenly abandon all caution and decide to kill the heroine in a busy, public place....and confess while doing so.
There was a very minor amount of explicit bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this book to cat lovers and those who like humorous stories.
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: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.