The Whole Cat and Caboodle (Second Chance Cat)
by Sofie Ryan
Review by Mel Jacob
Signet Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451419941
Date: 01 April 2014 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Elvis, a cat with a scarred nose and interesting abilities, plays a major role in solving the murder of an elderly man who has cheated many women out of their savings.
Sarah recently came back to North Harbor, Maine, where she spent many summers as a child with her grandmother, and was adopted by Elvis. Sarah's shop, Second Chance, offers refurbished furniture and various collectibles to tourist, and is staffed, part-time, by some of her grandmother's friends; women, who have known Sarah since she was a child.
Maddie Hamilton had invited Arthur Fenety, her fiancÚ, for lunch, but he then died. The police claim Maddie poisoned his coffee with a deadly, banned weed killer. As a gardener, they are certain she had access to the poison although she denies it.
Romance enters the picture with the return of Nick Elliot as a forensic investigator. He is a former beau of Sarah and the nephew of Charlotte, one of Maddie's friends. The murder investigation complicates any potential relationship.
The police don't want Maddie's friends involved. And Sarah is appointed to try and keep the group in line and out of trouble as they scout out other suspects and clues to the murder. Given Arthur's long history of wooing, and leaving women much poorer, suspects include several scorned women and their relatives.
Ryan uses Elvis in interesting ways. The cat acts like a cat yet manages to nudge Sarah in the right direction unlike some other series featuring cats. She also writes the best-selling Magical Cat Mysteries. (Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (2010)). Cozy readers will enjoy the new Second Chance Cat series.