What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, October 2012
Ever since the death of her fiancé, Nela Farley has found herself plagued by a sixth sense: she understands the thoughts of cats when she looks into their eyes. Nela knows that what she’s experiencing is completely irrational and tries to convince herself that she is simply transferring her own thoughts that she doesn’t want to face.
When her adventurous sister, Chloe, goes on a trip and asks for a favor, Nela welcomes the distraction and agrees to substitute at Chloe’s job at a charitable foundation. Chloe has arranged a place for her sister to stay, but when Nela shows up, she encounters the previous tenant’s cat and gets a flash of thought: “. . . dead . . . dead and gone . . . She loved me . . . board rolled on the second step . . .”
Nela wants to ignore what the cat saw, but the idea that the death of former tenant Marian Grant wasn’t an accident is something she can’t ignore. As Nela begins to do some research into Marian’s life, strange events begin to occur, all seeming to lead back to the Haklo Foundation. But when a detective becomes suspicious of Nela’s sister and a second murder occurs, Nela realizes she’ll have to make the most of her unwanted ability to figure out what’s really going on, before she meets her own untimely end.
Carolyn Hart has got another winner on her hands with this suspenseful drama that quickly became a page-turner. We are introduced to Nela who has an uncanny ability and when tragedy strikes, information from an unlikely source leads Nela to a killer who’ll do anything to silence her. I loved how the story flowed from one scene to the next, keeping me glued to the pages as I didn’t want to miss what happens next. This was an enjoyable read and I hope we get to see more of Nela.
Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse by Peggy Webb is the 5th book in the “Southern Cousins” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington Books, September 2012
Someone’s ringing slay bells and Callie, her bodacious Cousin Lovie, and the basset hound who believes he’s the King reincarnated must go on the hunt for a killer who’s anything but jolly.
It may be Christmas in Tupelo, but there’s precious little peace in the valley for the Valentine gang. Callie Valentine Jones’ not-quite-ex Jack is trussed up like a holiday turkey, recovering from a shattered leg. Cousin Lovie’s on the rebound, looking for love in all the wrong stockings. And Elvis the basset hound is out for revenge on the Lhasa Apso who’s been singing “Merry Christmas, Baby” to his sweet French poodle behind his tail.
Everyone finally gets into the spirit when Uncle Charlie is pressed into service as Santa at a weekend charity event in the mall. But Yuletide cheer turns to Yuletide fear after a killer tries to zap Charlie back to the North Pole marked “Return to Sender”–and sends Rudolph to the big reindeer pen in the sky.
Determined to find out who’s decking the mall with Christmas corpses, Elvis and the Valentines fill up their sleigh with suspects. Could it be the cookie lady who puts more than sugar into her Christmas goodies? The deranged vet who vows to barbecue Santa? Or the former beauty queen who’s been stalking Charlie in her spare time? Can the Valentine gang unmask this devil in disguise in time to turn their “Blue Christmas” all Christmas-y and white?
When an incident puts Uncle Charlie in the hospital and Rudolph in the morgue, the quirkily eccentric Valentine gang, led by Callie, is back in full force as they take on a killer out to destroy Christmas in Tulepo.
I had such a great time reading this book. The fast-paced whodunit is a hilarious romp through the crazy world of Callie Valentine and her family. The fun never stops even when Callie and Lovie find themselves in precarious situations. The author did a good job in keeping me guessing and creating a dynamite series that boast lovable characters, a feel good atmosphere and zany dialogue. I love this series and I look forward to the next joyous escapades with Callie and her friends.
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Tagged Peggy Webb