*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
First and pawmost I need to note that the characters in this book are cats (which should really be obvious from the title, series and cover, but you never know!).
These are cats that wear ponchos and mini-skirts, drive buses, play guitars and cook delicious Jamaican jerk chicken (with a sprinkle of catnip to mellow the mood). They also clean their whiskers with their paws, sleep curled up on chairs and other surfaces, and take a fairly practical attitude to life and death. So still cats, basically.
I wasn’t sure quite how I would feel about anthropomorphised cats solving mysteries and playing music gigs, but actually it works. It works so well that the characters’ felinity is of as little importance as their breed, sexual orientation or age…it might have a small influence on their actions and behaviours but is irrelevant to the plot and to their characterisation as a whole. I like that.
In fact, at times I suspected the cats’ primary function was to allow the author to exercise her punny bone! Names of characters, places and well-known phrases are all opportunities that the author does not miss to slip in the purrfect feline pun. It added a light-heartedness to the writing that made me smile as I read.
Cats aside, Magical Mystery Paws is a cosy mystery and a well-written one. We have our small clowder of suspects and our curiosity-led amateur sleuths. There are clues and interviews, leading to a big showdown and the final reveal. To my own personal annoyance, I spotted one twist but guessed the actual murderer wrong…a good sign, as that means the author had me fooled!
This book is the fifth in the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency series, and not only will I be tracking back to pick up the first four books, but I will be eagerly awaiting the next release. Recommended for fans of cosy mysteries with their (rough) tongue firmly in their whiskered cheeks!
These days, some of the names resonated with both Hettie and Tilly – cats who had left the earth prematurely and been part of some of the high-profile murder cases that had landed on their desk at the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency. Teezle Makepeace and Mavis Spitforce now rested under nearby trees, no longer burdened by the cares of everyday life; although that made them sad, Hettie and Tilly were proud of the fact that – thanks to them – their murderers were tucked away beyond the consecrated ground, unrecognised by any headstone, and as if they had never been. Justice had been served.
– Mandy Morton, Magical Mystery Paws
Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
The No.2 Feline Detective Agency novels are difficult to categorize. They are fantasies in that all of the characters are cats - walking, talking, driving, clothes wearing, pastry eating cats. They look and behave like cats, but at the same time do all the things humans do. Apart from this, they are strictly mysteries- delightfully whimsical ones, with plenty of cat reinterpretations of pop culture history. The novels aren’t for everyone, but if you love cats and enjoy a bit of whimsy you will have a lot of fun reading Mandy Morton’s novels.
In the newest No. 2 Feline Detective Agency novel, Magical Mystery Paws, Hettie and co agree to accompany Patty Sniff on her new tour. Crammed together on Psycho Derek’s bus along with Patty and the Cheese Triangles, Kitty O’Shea’s Irish dance troupe, and Derek and Belinda Beacon they prepare to set off. The first stop - murder. One of the Cheese Triangles is strangled and everyone associated with the tour is suspect. As the tour goes on, it quickly becomes clear that someone is looking to stop the tour, and is more than willing to kill to succeed.
The mystery isn’t very complex, but the interplay between characters and the charming and humorous events that occur make up for any weakness. As a cat lover and mystery aficionado, I like these novels a lot. They are a unique blend of fantasy, mystery and whimsy.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Magical Mystery Paws from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Let’s get the band back together! And that’s one of the things that happens in Magical Mystery Paws, another chapter in the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency series by Mandy Morton. One needs to suspend all disbelief to read these books; once that’s accomplished, feel free to enjoy the feline antics of Hettie and Tilly, the proprietors of the aforementioned private detective company, and their many cat friends, who just happen to talk, and dance, and sing. And kill things. Like the drummer of the backup band The Cheese Triangles who quickly turns up dead, strangled by a guitar string. Hettie and Tilly are soon on the case, whiskers twitching and tails up.
Never mind the bodies strewn about, Hettie’s long-haired tabby hackles (as described) are soon raised over the disaster in the making of a rock band tour, recalling her own history of being on the road. And disaster is a good word for a lot of what happens in the book, which is more a tale of musical misery (the lot of a performer, human or cat, is apparently not a happy one) than mystery.
The book itself, apart from the plot, is quite a wonder. The play on words flies fast and furious -- Tabby Road Recording Studios; Agatha Crispy, whose books Tilly adores, since she is so adept at ferreting out the murderer; M. Balm, the town’s undertaker. There's Enya, the cat with the beautiful singing voice that sings “Caribbean Boot.” And lest we forget, Nicolette Upstart, the famous writer. There’s more where that came from -- especially on the last page.
Finally, the killer is revealed (a bit before the ending), and everything plays out to a happy and triumphant end. The Summer of Fluff tour, when everythin’ seems better with a little bit o’ nip.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the copy of this book, in exchange for this review.