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How to Tail a Cat (Cats and Curios Mystery) by Rebecca M. Hale
Cover Artist: Mary Ann Lasher
Review by Harriet Klausner
Berkley Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425251294
Date: 04 September 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Publisher's Author Page / Show Official Info /

In San Francisco, the sibling cats, Rupert and Isabella, and late Uncle Oscar's niece have moved into the Green Case Antique shop. Rupert enjoys his daily fried chick lunch that the niece brings with her after she completes her jog. He knows the chicken made by Lick's Homestyle Chicken restaurant is as good as the chicken Uncle Oscar used to make for him. His brilliant strategic planning sister knows the source of the friend chicken that is making her brother obese, but refuses to tell anyone as the clues left by Uncle Oscar is all that matters.

Frog whisperer Sam Eccles visits the Aquarium ostensibly to help sick amphibians who refuse to eat, but he has plans to free Clive the alligator; the ailing frogs cooperate with Sam on his scheme. Meanwhile Isabella tries to get Uncle Oscar's niece to follow a clue involving the mysterious early twentieth century Steinhart brothers, who financed the aquarium that is home for numerous frogs and Clive, before the gator stepped out into the wild cold streets of San Francisco wondering why he failed to bring his heated rock with him as Mountain Lake is freezing. When Clive breaks out with human help, temporary mayor Montgomery Carmichael vows to catch and bring home the gator while the niece and her feline roommates search for the latest Uncle Oscar treasure.

Isabella is a terrific tactician who knows how to maneuver the niece to do her bidding; her awareness of her surroundings affirm her genius. Rupert lives for the chicken; when the niece is late coming back from her run he fears for her and for himself as he cannot deal with a diet. The nameless niece remains bewildered by her uncle's weird world and is clueless that the felines manipulate her to do what they want. Isabella is especially Machiavellian when it comes to her human's safety on the treasure hunt. The support cast like Clive, the cooperating frogs, Sam, the mayors, and the two males at Lick’s add diverse forms of eccentricity.

Though the storyline is thin and the pace leisurely even when Clive considers the temporary mayor as a snack, readers will enjoy the latest Cats and Curios whimsical Mystery (see How To Moon A Cat, Nine Lives Last Forever and How to Wash a Cat), which contains a stunning clever twist.

The tour of San Francisco is unique while Uncle Oscar's niece continues her dangerous adventures into his weird world of curios assisted by his cats who have adopted her. Cozy readers who enjoy something amusingly satirically different will relish this fried chicken shishkabob.

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