Cat Got Your Diamonds
By Julie Chase
A Kitty Couture Mystery #1
Crooked Lane Books, 2016
Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1.
Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?
Cat Got Your Diamonds is an entertaining, well-written cozy mystery that’s full of southern charm. The author conveys a vivid sense of place, especially when it comes to the New Orleans culture. I had no idea who the murderer was and just enjoyed letting the story unfold.
As the story opens, Garden District residents are busy preparing for the upcoming French Quarter Jazz Festival, which included “planning the finest fundraisers and galas for their favorite organizations and charities, including Animal Elegance.” Lacy has just opened her new specialty shop called Furry Godmother – a custom pet boutique and organic, animal-friendly bakery. The idea of making couture clothing for animals, as well as the New Orleans setting, was so foreign to me that I found it fascinating.
Lacy is a complex and very appealing protagonist. I loved how relationships play such an important part in this story. Lacy is the daughter of wealthy parents, and that creates difficulty as her mom’s “old money” and her dad’s “new money” conflict with each other. I admired Lacy’s refusal to accept her parents’ financial help, wanting to prove herself – and found her closeness to her father touching. There’s even an element of romance with two different guys. I’m pulling for a certain one, but have no idea what will develop as the series progresses.
There’s an ever-present humor that is delightful. Lacy exhibits lots of southern charm, one example being that she had “learned years ago why all the fancy ladies kept gardens. They could rip weeds out by the roots and pound gloved fists against the earth when they really wanted to scream and swear.”
I appreciated that Cat Got Your Diamonds is a fun, clean read. It will be interesting to see how the characters develop in future books.
Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey.
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I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.