Cat About Town
By Cate Conte
A Cat Café Mystery #1
Minotaur Books, 2017
The first novel in a frisky new mystery series set in a small New England town, where an unlikely citizen is called in to solve the purrfect crime. . .
Maddie James has arrived in Daybreak Island, just off the coast of Massachusetts, eager to settle down and start her own business—and maybe even fall in love. When a stray orange tabby pounces into her life, she’s inspired to open a cat café. But little does Maddie know that she’s in for something a lot more catastrophic when her new furry companion finds the dead body of the town bully.
Now all eyes are on Maddie: Who is this crazy cat-whisperer lady who’s come to town? If pet-hair-maintenance and crime-fighting weren’t keeping her busy enough, Maddie now has not one but two eligible bachelors who think she’s the cat’s pajamas . . . and will do anything to win her heart. But how can she even think about happily-ever-after while a killer remains on the loose—and on her path?
Intelligent, well written, atmospheric, witty at times, full of heart, and downright entertaining … Cat About Town is an outstanding beginning to a new series by seasoned author, Cate Conte. Two things initially drew me to this story – I love cats and New England settings (I’d move there in a heartbeat if my husband would only go with me). While those two factors don’t necessarily guarantee a good read, they do in this case.
Cat About Town takes place in a fictional island off the Massachusetts cost. I’ve been blessed to visit Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and Conte vividly conveyed the feel of island life - the sights and sounds that one would experience in this setting. Several characters are introduced in a way that was easy to keep up with – and they felt real, not like cardboard figures. Conte has created a community and characters that will keep readers coming back for more.
Maddie – entrepreneur and cat whisperer – is an appealing, relatable heroine. Maddie’s relationship with her grandfather is one of the book’s strengths. There’s a hint of sweet romance, but I hope we won’t see a continuation of the love triangle theme. The Leopard Man, an “island enigma,” intrigued me and I long to know more about him. And then there’s the precious JJ, a street cat who hung out in a graveyard and connected with Maddie at her grandmother’s funeral.
The mystery plot is well crafted and, rather than try to solve the murder, I enjoyed taking my time and savoring every word. There was a little mild profanity that I wish had been omitted, but an excellent read overall. Cat About Town stands out among the cozy mysteries that I’ve read.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escape Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Cate Conte is the alter ego of Liz Mugavero. Liz is the author of the Pawsitively Organic Mystery series from Kensington Books, the first of which was an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel.
As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She currently lives in Connecticut.
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