Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Midwinter's Tail By Sofie Kelly With Thoughts of Love and Marriage in the Air!

I drove up Mountain Road thinking I’d warm up
 the last of the chicken noodle soup I’d made on
 the weekend for supper. That would give me a bit
 of extra time to spend with my cats before I had
 to get ready for the gala. Owen and Hercules
 had been out of sorts the past couple of days.
 If I hadn’t known better, I would have said that
 they were miffed because they weren’t going
 to the gala. The boys, brothers I’d had since  they’d
 followed me home, weren’t exactly your everyday
 run of the mill house cats. Sometimes I had to remind
 myself that they weren’t people, either, even though
 they seemed to think they were.
There's a bit of a cat fight between Owen and Hercules so I decided not to ask either of them to come visit and tell about the latest book I've been reading by Sofie Kelly. Seems they've been having some issues on toy ownership...

A Midwinter's Tail:
A Magical Cats Mystery

By Sofie Kelly

You know, I'd like to live in Mayville Heights... Oh sure, it's a "created" community only found in books, but I've been there enough now that I know most of the members of the community and they are very nice people. The thing that amazes me is that the community is always sponsoring different types of events. Sure, they are money-making, but still they always seem to be interested, working together, volunteering as needed...

There's just one minor thing that stops me from moving from my log cabin into this nice little town...

Everytime an event happens, there seems to always be a murder too... Does make you stop and think doesn't it? Still, Kathleen has finally acknowledged Marcus and they are now officially a couple, while Marcus has even recognized that Kathleen has a certain knack in solving crimes and, even though he doesn't share information with her, he's willing to listen and accept all that she finds out...LOL... he's no fool, right?

"I look like Fred the Funky Chicken's
mother," Rebecca said. And because
she was so kind, she immediately
added, "And it's not that I don't like
bright yellow chickens..." Her voice
trailed off.
"You just don't want to look like a
giant version of Owen's favorite catnip
treat on your wedding day," I finished.
Owen was one of my two cats. Rebecca,
whose house backed on mine, kept him
supplied with cdatnip chickens, which
he loved, much to the annoyance of his
brother, Hercules, who didn't get the
attraction of catnip or neon yellow
"It's not you," Roma agreed. "But
don't worry, We'll find you something."
..."This wedding is turning into shredded
wheat," Rebecca said, fingering the soft
blue scarf around her neck...
Roma frowned..."Shredded wheat,"
"The more you chew on it, the bigger
it seems to get..."
But the happy couple who are actually planning their wedding is Kathleen's neighbor, Rebecca, and Everett Henderson who is the man who first hired Kathleen... Everett is doing the planning for the wedding, wanting to show the world how happy he is, but Rebecca would be happy to just have an informal, small event. Right now, that doesn't look good, but before the end of the book, you never know what could happen!

In the meantime, Kathleen has started a wonderful mentoring program for reading, called Reading Buddies, which paired younger children with 4th and 5th graders. The library was putting on a fundraiser evening--it would be at the Stratton Theatre...

The stage had been dressed to resemble a French
bistro, with several local businesses providing
elegant desserts. In a wonderful twist of coincidence,
Eddie Sweeney's college roommate was the leader
and saxophone player in a jazz quartet, Jazzology.
They were providing the "atmosphere." Eddie was
generously--and quietly--covering their expenses.

And, yes, that's where the murder occurred!

Vincent Starr, an expert on American literature and children's books was visiting the library and would be giving a talk about rare books. He was a big supporter of projects for children's literacy and would be mingling and talking to potential donors during the evening...

But the evening really never got off to a start--all the people had come dressed in their finery, delighted with the atmosphere created for this important event. Nearly everybody in town was already impressed with the Reading Buddies program since it had started and proven to be a success...

Our of the corner of my eye, I saw the
door to the cafe swing open and a well-
dressed woman step inside. I knew
immediately that she was, as my friend
Harry Taylor would put it, from away...
Rebecca turned her head, probably to
see what I was looking at. She put one
hand, palm down, on the table and some
of the color seemed to drain from her
face. "Oh my word," she said softly. "It
can't be..."
Roma shot me a worried glance. "Rebecca
do you know that woman?" she asked.
Rebecca nodded. "I do," she said. "That's
Dayna Chapman, Burtis Chapman's wife."
With all of the planning for the fundraiser, the wedding, everybody was busy. But not busy enough not to stop and gape when a former resident walked into town and back into the lives of her ex- and her son... Burtis Chapman had not seen his ex- since she'd left them and the town years ago. Her son wanted nothing to do with her... And Burtis had recently hooked up with a local woman and they were dating...

So the night of the fundraiser comes and Dayna walks in, not taking long to get into a conversation with Burtis and Lita. While there, Kathleen had given the signal to proceed and a small box of candy was being handed out to each of the guests to welcome them.

Burtis took a box, handed it to Lita, and then another one and handed it to Dayna, with everybody assuming that it was purposely done to make a point with whom he was with.

Kathleen was the first one to notice Dayna take a bite and almost immediately touch her throat...she was unable to breathe...and later died...

But everybody had noticed that Burtis had handed the candy to Dayna! 

I love that the community members start talking to Kathleen about the murder. Everybody goes to her rather than Marcus since he represents the law and makes it harder to communicate, or at least that's how some of the locals see it. By now, even Marcus expects it... So Kathleen starts by finding out about this woman who had once lived in her adopted town but had chosen to leave, as Kathleen had made her own decision to stay...

Oh, Owen and Hercules still got involved, but sometimes only to make trouble for Kathleen, like the time that one of them locked Kathleen out of the truck and sat smirking and looking at the lock which he had just pressed down,,,

And then there was the time...

Well, they get their time in any of the magical cats mysteries, you can be sure... 

This mystery was a little tougher. Kelly has added a higher number of suspects with more twists and turns... Yeah, I missed naming the killer before reading it! Great mystery! Even if, once again, Kathleen almost doesn't make it through the danger when facing the killer!

Good thing, too, since the wedding that actually happened was simply lovely...


Sofie Kelly is an author and mixed-media artist who lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. She is the author of the Magical Cats mysteries, including Final Catcall, Cat Trick, and Copycat Killing, and the Second Chance Cat mysteries, including The Whole Cat and Caboodle.

Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of young adult writer and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan. As Sofie Kelly she writes the Magical Cats mysteries. And as Sofie Ryan she writes the Second Chance Cats series. Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.

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