Thursday, August 11, 2016

Last Weekend's Read was Especially Fun - Hitchcock Visited, from Lavender, the setting for the Bad Luck Cat Mystery

I hurried down the sidewalk toward the candy store, scanning the street as I went. No sign of a black cat, not that I expected to spot Hitchcock strolling amongst the tourists. Pearl's proposal to bring him to town was even more ridiculous now that I'd met Chrystal Devlin, a woman who didn't strike me as particularly superstitious. If the cat in the real estate office was Pearl's doing, she'd wasted a lot of effort.
Unless her goal was to annoy me--because if that cat was Hitchcock, she'd succeeded bit-time.
A young mother with two small boys entered Sweet Stop ahead of me. The kids squealed with delight and raced




across the wide-plant floor to the Ninja Turtle display in the corner. I stepped over the threshold and was instantly enveloped by the mixed scents of chocolate, peppermint, and vanilla. With the song "It's A small World" coming through speakers and the chatter of excited children as background, some of the tension left my shoulders.
Two young women standing behind the glass display case doled out candy to customers, but Pearl was nowhere in sight...
I excused myself just as Pearl came around a shelf carrying an unopened carton marked "Necco" She stopped short when she saw me.
"Sabrina. What are you doing here?"
Was that guilt crossing her features?
"Where's my cat, Pearl?"
Her brows drew together. "You cat? How would I know? Isn't he at home?"
...Did you bring Hitchcock to town with you, Pearl?"
"Absolutely not." She looked away.
"Pearl?"
"I'll be right back."
She began to turn, but I put a hand on her arm. "Do you have my cat here in the store?"
...I'd like to believe you, but after what you said thos morning I'm not sure I can."
"How do you know what happened at Crystal's office?"
 She crossed her arms over her chest.
"I was there for reasons unrelated to you. I thought about going to bat for you, Pearl, but now that I've met Crystall--"
A slim grandmotherly woman who'd been checking out the Disney display turned to us and said, "Are you talking about the Devlin woman who cheated poor Pearl out of her Property?"
"That's the one, Doris," Pearl said.
"I heard that an Austin developer plans to open a cigar shop next door," Doris said.
~~~

I pulled off the main road onto Traveler's Lane and immediately spotted Thomas. He stood in a landscaped bed trimming an overgrown vine that threatened to crawl up and cover the Around-the-World Cottages sign. He lowered his clippers and flagged me down. I pulled to a stop and opened my window.
Thomas walked to the car and removed his straw hat before leaning over to talk face-to=face. "'Case you were missin' your cat today. I took him for a ride."
My heart rate sped up. "What do you mean?"
"He hitched a ride. Just like you warned me, except this time I caught him red-handed."
"Red-handed?"
"Red-pawed?" Thomas grinned. "Whatever. The cat made the trip home with me. Can't honestly say how he got to town in the first place. I didn't see him on the way in. Then clear as day I saw him take off out of the backseat of my jeep when I parked at Rowen's house.
~~~


The Black Cat
 Knocks on Wood

By Kay Finch

You know, after digging into history and traveling out of this world for my last two books, I needed to get back to a good cat cozy mystery...And since I had just read the Debut of the Bad Luck Cat Mystery series--see my review--I wanted to continue on with the next book...

The main character, Sabrina, had come to live on the property of her aunt, who owns cabins she rents out. It was Sabrina's goal to get established as a writer. What she immediately got into instead was getting involved with her aunt and her friends getting into trouble! 

Not only was the group planning on participating in a local rodeo, with seniors roping goats--Yikes!--but Pearl, the owner of the local candy store, became involved right in the middle of a murder investigation. Specifically, she was the prime suspect!

I understood Pearl's animosity toward
the woman, but I couldn't excuse her
silly idea to use Hitchcock to cause bad
luck for the real estate agent. Until
today I didn't realize that Pearl was
one of Lavender's superstitious
citizens...
What I could do today, though, was
talk to the rodeo people about the
upcoming senior event. That seemed
like a task better done in person...
~~~
Sabrina and Hitchcock both got involved when Pearl asked if she could borrow Hitchcock to see if some of his bad luck would rub off on a local real estate agent...

Now continuing to call Hitchcock bad luck, let me tell you, will immediately set Sabrina on his defense and after a few choice words, she refused to allow Pearl to borrow him...

Even though she did feel sympathy for Pearl. You see, the store next to Pearl's candy shop had become vacant and she wanted to expand and met with the agent, even depositing a check. Later, the woman denied the whole thing, had never cashed Pearl's check, which confirmed her denial, and indicated she had another individual ready to buy.

Soon the agent was dead...and Pearl and Sabrina were both on the scene before the police, Pearl having called her without telling her what had happened... Of course, Sabrina was pulled into working the investigation... with so many people expecting her to!

"He's not bad luck, Thomas." I said,
"but I'll try to keep a better eye on
him...
And even sorrier if it turned out that
Pearl had actually taken Hitchcock
into town, then turned around and lied
to my face.
~~~
And then there's Hitchcock to consider...Is he magical or is he just like his name--Hitchcock--who can figure out how to get in and out of Sabrina's home at any time...

Because on the day of the murder, a black cat had been seen in the building where the agent had been found.

On a happier note, Sabrina has received word that a publisher is interested in her book...

And...the Forest Ranger has declared he's interested...

All that and a mystery to solve! But it took a long time because this female agent was just not a likable person...Even her husband and son were both suspected...sad to say... I had just "an inkling" of whodunit...but still had to wait until the end to be sure...So plan on paying close attention...maybe you'll figure it out, although I prefer when I don't...

I love Sabrina and Hitchcock together...I think Sabrina talks to Hitchcock even more than I talk to my cats...and you can certainly tell Sabrina has fallen in love with her little pal. It's great to read about another cat lover, even as a character! But Hitchcock wasn't too happy when it was suggested that he start being led with a leash...

So I know there are many out there who read cat cozies just for the cat...But the senior citizen group, the town characters who have become Sabrina's friends...the little town of Lavender just begs to have you come and visit and stay awhile...at least until this mystery is solved! The we can look forward to the next one!

By the way, Sabrina is leading a campaign to adopt a black cat to eliminate the town's fear of bad luck! Good for her...Here's Why!



Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews



Kay Finch grew up on a Pennsylvania farm but she got to Texas as fast as she could and discovered the Texas Hill Country, the setting of her Bad Luck Cat mysteries coming from Berkley in 2015. As a child Kay wrote mystery stories, but it wasn’t until she went to work for a renowned criminal defense attorney that plot ideas once again began to flow. In addition to the Bad Luck Cat mysteries, check out Kay's Corie McKenna PI mysteries, Final Decree and Final Cut, and Relative Chaos, her Klutter Killer mystery. Kay is long-time member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division. She lives with her husband, a rescue cat, and two wild and crazy rescue dogs in a Houston suburb. Visit her at www.kayfinch.com.