A Tale of Two Kitties (Magical Cats)
by Sofie Kelly
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780399584572
Date: 05 September 2017 List Price $23.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This is the first Magical Cats Mystery I've read and I'm glad I gave it a try. I didn't feel that I'd really missed anything as there was enough information to bring a new reader up to speed with the various characters and relationships while moving forward with the plot. So, don't be afraid to just jump in with this book.
Kathleen Paulson is the head librarian at the Mayville Heights Free Public Library, which is one of the many Carnegie libraries built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie. She'd come to supervise the restoration and stayed for the community and people she'd met while there.
Kathleen has been adopted by two cats, Owen and Hercules. She's observed that Owen can turn invisible while Hercules can walk through walls. Both of them seem to understand her when she talks and give her clues when she's investigating a crime. But they don't talk back, they just do normal cat behavior in directed ways to help her clarify her thoughts. So, not so much magically helping her solve the crime but slowing her down to think through what she's observed and heard.
In A Tale of Two Kitties, the Janes brothers are both in town at the same time. Her friends have been swift to fill Kathleen in on the feud between the brothers. Victor Janes ran off with the wife of his brother Leo. Meredith Janes was later killed in a car accident. Simon, Leo's son, is not happy to have his uncle in town and his daughter Mia doesn't know what to think about the situation. When Leo is found murdered, things become even more strained.
As things unfold, Kathleen learns that there were plenty of secrets in the past lives of all the potential suspects. She's keeping her eyes open in order to help Mia and calm down the tension among those who knew Leo, Victor, and Meredith. Of course, Kathleen is dating Detective Marcus Gordon so she's passing on her suspicion and suppositions--he actually listens, too.
All in all, there are enough clues, twists, turns, suspects, secrets, and relationship issues to keep the pages turning. The cats are kept as assistants who don't solve the crime, but edge Kathleen toward answers with minor cat behavior that leaves them seeming to be either very helpful or very, very good at sleight of paw crime solving.