CatnappedCatnapped by Elaine Viets is the 13th book in the “Dead-End Job” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, May 2014

No more pussyfooting around! Husband and wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont have barely scratched the surface of the world of show cats when a cornered kitty kidnapper’s claws come out.

This show cat is a no-show.

The one thing celebrity Trish Barrymore and her no-account accountant husband, Mort, can agree on in their bitter divorce is shared cat custody. But when Mort is found brained by a mahogany cat tower, and Justine, their pedigreed Chartreux show cat, goes missing, Trish calls on Helen and Phil. Despite a ransom note from the catnapper, Trish is still the prime murder suspect in the eyes of the police. As they await the post-Mort-em, it’s up to Helen and Phil to find the feline filcher and let the cat out of the bag.

Discovering that Mort had some shady dealings within cat show circles, Helen goes undercover as an assistant for a woman who shows prizewinning Persians. But Phil is not buying Trish’s cat-that-swallowed-a-canary act—he thinks she might be staging the whole catnapping.

As Helen and Phil get deeper into a high-pressure world of primping, posing, and purring to collar a killer, they get caught up in a cat-and-mouse game where the stakes are literally life and death.

One of the things I like best about this series are the dead-end jobs that Helen takes and in their latest caper, Helen gets a job as a cat groomer when her client is jailed for murder and her prized cat is kidnapped. This was a very enjoyable read with an interesting subplot peaked my interest – the behind the scenes look at the preparation of what it takes to “show” a cat. This quickly became a page-turner as I had to know what happens next and the author did a good job in keeping me busy collecting clues in this well-defined whodunit. As always, it’s a fun ride when we get to see Margery, Peggy and even Pete as Helen and Phil enjoy their daily lives and respite at the Coronado Tropic Apartments.

FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.

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