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review 2019-09-07 19:07
Black Cat Crossing - Bad Luck Cat #1" by Kay Finch
Black Cat Crossing (A Bad Luck Cat Mystery #1) - Kay Finch,Amy Rubinate



Light Cosy Mystery, set in a small Texas hill country town, with a she's-just-like-us heroine, a preternaturally intelligent black cat and a not very challenging murder to solve.


"Black Cat Crossing" is a smile of a book. The kind of thing that you listen to when you want an amusing, unchallenging distraction as you get on with unavoidable chores.


This book is fundamentally nice.


Sabrina Tate, our heroine, (late thirties, divorced, no kids) is a nice, likeable everywoman, who in the wake of her divorce, has left her paralegal job in the big city to come back the small town of Lavender, where she spent her childhood summers with her Aunt Rowena. Her ambition is to become a published mystery author but rea life keeps distracting her, initially in helping her Aunt run her vacation cottage rental business and then in trying to solve a murder in which her aunt is the prime suspect.


Sabrina has nice friends (one of whom is a bookseller who introduces her to a well-known literary agent) and mostly nice neighbours.


The only really not nice person quickly becomes the murder victim, which Sabrina wouldn't have minded if her aunt hadn't been the one most likely to have killed him.


The most mysterious thing in this mystery is The Bad Luck Cat, a large black cat that local superstition holds brings bad luck to anyone whose path he crosses. The cat, for reasons of his own, adopts Sabrina and then pops up whenever she needs her attention drawn to a critical clue or needs her life saving.


The writing is clean, clear and amusing. The pace is slow and easy without actually dragging. Tension is just high enough to stop you losing interest but not high enough to cause any real worry.


I think this was well done but it's the kind of thing, like salted caramel ice cream, that I can only take in small amounts.

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text 2019-09-05 08:16
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.- new book for the Black Cat square
Black Cat Crossing (A Bad Luck Cat Mystery #1) - Kay Finch,Amy Rubinate


After abandoning the novella I originally started on this, I'm happy to say I've found an easy-on-the-ear alternative.


"Black Cat Crossing" is the first book in a cat intensive cosy mystery series. It sounds relaxing.

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review 2019-08-19 10:34
"The Cat Of The Baskervilles - Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #3" by Vicki Delany
The Cat Of The Baskervilles - Vicki Delany

A disappointing episode, like a sponge cake that's failed to rise. It had all the right ingredients but the plot and pacing collapsed and left me glad to have finished.


I was frustrated by this third offering tn the "Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries". I could see the potential of the book but, for me, that potential was never realised.


The title was enticing but, apart from some unexplained muddy catspaw prints in the opening chapter, it had no relevance to the plot.


I enjoyed the early set up of the premise for the book, a death associated with a drama festival featuring, Sir Nigel, a once-famous British actor, as Holmes in "The Hound Of The Baskervilles" although it did seem to parallel the course of the last book more than a little.


I liked the description of the big party and seeing how the rich and the actors behave around ordinary folks.


I think it was the plot and the pacing that let this book down. The subplot around Sir Nigel's past worked well but the subplot around a spate of thefts went nowhere. The main motivation behind events was a stretch that wasn't helped by having the action hang on one of the most thinly drawn characters. The pacing was a problem because the book appeared to end three times and none of the endings was particularly satisfactory.


I did enjoy the trope twist on the Poirotesque big reveal scene and the dialogue made me laugh several times. I still like the characters. I'll still stick with the series but I'm hoping the next book works better.


An unexpected source of disappointment for me was that that the narrator of the audiobook was changed from Kelly Clare, who narrated the first two books, to Kim Hicks. I'd enjoyed Kelly Clare's performances and she seems to me to be a much better choice than Kim Hicks who, although she is a skilled narrator, sounds too old for a first-person account of a woman in her thirties.



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text 2019-08-11 00:19
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
The Cat Of The Baskervilles - Vicki Delany

I'm enjoying this but I don't understand why the narrator has changed from Kelly Clare, who narrated the first two books, to KIm Hicks. The problem is that, although Kim Hicks is a skilled narrator, her voice is too old for a first-person account of a woman in her thirties.

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review 2019-08-04 19:14
"Body On Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes Bookstore Mystery #2" by Vicki Delany
Body on Baker Street - Vicki Delany

I think I would have enjoyed "Body On Baker Street" more  if I'd left more of a gap between reading it and the first Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery, "Elementary, She Read". "Body On Baker Street" deserved to have me come at it fresh rather than for me to be constantly comparing it the first book.


That said, I enjoyed myself listening to "Body On Baker Street". The plot involves the murder of a flamboyant author of a set of Holmes pastiche novels.


This was a great vehicle for exploring some of the more bizarre aspects of publishing and promoting books and the extremes of "Sherlockian" fandom.


I loved the premise of the pastiche: that Mrs Hudson was secretly having an affair with Holmes and worked alongside him to solve the mysteries of the day, I can imagine the outrage this would cause.


The plot was a clever way of having the murder take place where Gemma Doyle and her friend and business partner Jayne Wilson can't help but become involved. The flamboyance of the author, the strangeness of her fans and detractors and the secrets in her entourage all fed into the humour of the book while making it more and more difficult to figure out whodunnit.


At one point, Gemma loses all perspective - who in their right mind breaks INTO a police station?- and I liked the way Vicki Delaney used Gemma's friends to keep her from crossing the line from determined investigator to total nutjob.


The resolution was as well worked out and as satisfying as the misdirection along the way. Gemma got to work it all out without stretching my belief too far and we got a little more development of the relationship between her and her friends.


I'll be back for more of this series but I'm going to leave it a month or two so I can get the most out of the books. Besides, book three is called "The Cat Of The Baskervilles", how could I resist that?



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