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Sunday, 18 October 2015

'The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency' by Mandy Morton

Published by Alison & Busby,
23 July 2015.
ISBN 978-0-9930411-0-5

Read the title carefully and you will get the picture.  This is not Africa which has the Number One Detective agency but is a world of cats.   A totally feline society living the lifestyle of modern Britain.  There are no people here and the cats behave in human and catly ways.  So the protagonist Hettie Bagshot, an elegant tabby, wears a mac in the rain, was previously a singer of 'progressive acid rock' but purrs when pleased and sleeps curled up in her chair.   The cats shop at Malkin & Sprinkle (M&S) for food, listen to Tabby Wynette singing 'Stand by your van', go to the long running play 'A Mouse Trapped' and retire to homes for slightly older cats like Furcross.

It is Furcross that provides Hettie with her first case as a PI.  Three inmates had taken the option of   Dignicat only for their bodies to be snatched from their graves.  Hettie's task is to find the corpses so they can be quietly re-interred.   The case soon gets more confused as there is a further death.
Hetty is assisted by Tilly, an older and rather arthritic cat, who helps to funnel Hettie's erratic enthusiasms.   The two protagonists have a number of friendly assistants and are helped in their obsession with food by living in a room attached to a bakery and visiting Furcross regularly where the cook is Marley Toke whose jerk chicken and Jamaican beer battered fish and chips are legendary, possibly because of the liberal quantities of catnip that she uses!

 Hettie and Tilly bring the case to a successful if unexpected conclusion and are obviously ready to carry the PI business onward and upward in future adventures.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This first outing for the feline detective agency already has a sequel Cat among the Pumpkins.  

Mandy Morton began her professional life as a musician. Her songwriting formed the basis of six albums during the 1970s and early 1980s, when she toured extensively with her band. More recently, she has worked as a freelance arts journalist for national and local radio, specialising in making music and theatre documentary. She is the co-author of a non-fiction theatre book, In Good Company, and lives with her partner in Cambridge and Cornwall, where there is always a place for an ageing long-haired tabby cat.  The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency is her first novel, and begins a series of books inspired by her first cat, Hettie.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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