Catnapped!: A Dead-End Job Mystery
by Elaine Viets
Cover Artist: Tsukushi / Lott Representatives
Review by Sherry Lilley
NAL Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451466303
Date: 06 May 2014 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Helen and Phil, P.I.s in Miami, are living the good life. They have each other, profitable work they're good at and enjoy, good friends, family really, in the Coronado Apartments, and time to revel in it all. Then along comes a new case and new troubles.
Bright and early one morning, Helen and Phil are called in to bring home a cat. Trish Barrymore and her husband, Mort, are in the midst of a bitter divorce, but have worked out shared cat custody. However, when Mort doesn't bring Justine, their pedigreed Chartreux show cat, home on Sunday evening, and the police won't get involved, Trish goes to her attorney who calls in Helen and Phil. When Helen and Phil get to Mort's, they find Mort dead, brained by a mahogany cat tower, and Justine missing. The police, who are having a hard time worrying about a missing cat, have their eyes on Trish as the prime suspect in her husband's murder. The police are not even a little bit concerned about the missing cat, in spite of the ransom demand. And Phil's not sure the police are wrong. So, Phil poses as Trish's assistant, just in case Trish is arrested for murder and needs someone to answer the phone call from the catnapper, and Helen gets a job with one of the premier breeders of show cats -- Persians in this case.
Added to this, the Coronado Apartments is in trouble. It's old, and it will be very, very expensive to repair the rusting rebar. Margery, their landlady and dear friend, is considering selling. Margery is not in a good mood about this, and when her ex-husband shows up, her mood gets even worse. When her ex-husband dies, and Margery is arrested for murder, Helen and Phil have to find out what happened.
One of the things I really enjoy about this series is the research that clearly goes into it. In this case, it was a fascinating look into the world of show cats. Just the idea that a cat should be bathed, every day, and would not only put up with the bath, but enjoy the bath, was entertaining. The grooming and living environment, and general all around way the cats are treated, was fun to read about, as was the description of Justine's first appearance in a cat show.
As for the rest of the book, it's enjoyable. Catnapped is easy to read, interesting enough to hold your attention and engage your imagination, and just cozy enough not to give you nightmares, but not so cozy as to make your teeth hurt.