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Friday, 21 August 2015

‘Catnapped’ by Elaine Viets

Published by the Penguin Group,
15 June 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-451-46631-0

While negotiating their divorce, the only thing that Trish and Mort Barrymore can agree on is shared custody to ensure the well-being of their adored pedigree kitten, Justine. When Mort is late returning Justine, Trish, a wealthy, spoiled socialite, immediately contacts her lawyer, who in turn calls in husband-and-wife Private Investigators, Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont. When Helen and Phil reach Mort's house they discover him dead, cudgelled by a Zen Cat Tower, and Justine has been kidnapped.

Before calling in the P.I.s Trish has already angered the local police by demanding that they put out an Amber Alert to find her kitten. This seems to be reason enough for the incredibly inept detective in charge of the case to arrest Trish and charge her with his murder.

Helen and Phil have to clear their client and rescue her abducted kitten, which leads Helen into a job with a local breeder of pedigree cats, spending her days emptying litter trays and grooming pampered Persians.
As if this wasn't enough to cope with, Helen and Phil fear that they will have to seek new premises to live and work, when their landlady, Margery, decides that she cannot afford to do the necessary repairs. They are relieved when she changes her mind, but their delight turns to despair when Margery is charged with murdering her ex-husband, a man who only came back into her life two days before. Now Helen and Phil have two murder suspects to clear, as well as recovering Justine, the kitten.

Catnapped is great fun; a perfect summer read. This is the thirteenth in the Dead-End Job series, but it is easy to follow the back-story, and the series protagonists are very likeable, although most of the characters are distinctly eccentric. However, I was left with one disconcerting question, are there really that many US detectives who are incompetent and lazy to the point of corruption? That said, it is a comedy crime and, throughout the book, there is a reassuring feeling that justice would be done, the guilty discovered, the innocent vindicated, the decent detectives will get promoted and the unjust detectives will get their just deserts, and the best cat will definitely win.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Elaine Viets  says she writes her novels with the help of Harry, a striped cat who sleeps by her  computer and lashes the keyboard with his tail. He whips her into a writing frenzy.
Harry collaborates on two series, the Dead-end Job mysteries and the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series. He's doing a good job. Elaine has just signed a contract with NAL/Signet for two more books in each series.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.

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