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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Lending a Paw (Bookmobile Cat Mystery #1)

Lending a Paw - Laurie Cass

I normally dread writing 3 star reviews and now I'm also suffering from review-writers block; I'm staring at the screen and I got 'nuthin, even though I just finished the damn book not an hour ago!


Lending a Paw is the first in a new series, and I admit when I first heard about the release, the title turned me off.  I like punny titles, but this one just didn't tickle the funny bone at all, it felt too precious.  But the book is about cats and books and libraries and well, really, it just wouldn't be fair to hold that title against the story.  And overall, it's a good read; not a strong first but I don't feel like it's 7 bucks and 7 hours I'm never getting back again either.


Minnie starts out so earnest, conscientious and anal retentive I'll admit I was concerned for my future reading enjoyment.  She has a check list for her brand-new bookmobile that sounds like a pre-flight checklist, complete with a daily inspection of her turn indicators.  ?!?!  But she loosens up as the story progresses, and morphs into a smart, competent, independent MC.   She's really the only character in the book the reader gets to know at all; the rest of the cast only makes entrances now and again.


Minnie's partner in crime is Eddie, her cat.  He stows away on the Bookmobile on it's maiden voyage and is suddenly a bigger draw than the books themselves, although he helps those fly off the shelves.  Eddie, of course, rocks the book.  He discovers the dead body and in a homage to The Cat Who... series, seems to have, in retrospect, pointed out clues to the killer.  He doesn't act like anything more than what he is - a very smart cat.  (And why mess with perfection?)


If there's ever a book in a series where the murder plot should be the easiest to write, it should be the first one by virtue of the fact that all the characters are brand new to the reader and therefore none (should) stand out as obvious culprits.  This book was a good example; we have a fairly good murder plot, a dead man with a bad reputation and lots of enemies discovered in an abandoned farmhouse.  Until the very end, Minnie's detecting is done the way I prefer it - she doesn't interfere, she doesn't go off looking for clues or interrogating suspects (or at least not really; she starts to a time or two but gets side-tracked each time), she just gathers information from talking to people she knows or who share her grief over the death of someone she liked very much.


The story does lose a star for the TSTL scene at the end.  It sort of felt like the author got to a place where she didn't know how to catch the killer, and perhaps someone suggested the story needed more action and this scene was stuck on the end.  I don't know, but I do know as I read it I was thinking "are you kidding me?  seriously?".    


I'm hoping for better for book two, and I will definitely pick it up - I want to read more about Eddie.