Sunday, August 13, 2017
The Big Kitty by Claire Donally
I find a lot of cozy mysteries charming; the small town, murder-lite amateur detective stories are always a reliable palate cleanser for my usual reads. When I came across a copy of this at my library, with an illustration of a cat front and center, I decided to give the series a shot with book 1. To my delight, it fulfilled exactly what I needed.
Sunny has returned to her small Maine hometown to care for her ailing father. She left a glamorous journalist job in NYC and, though she didn't know it at the time, her romantic relationship with her editor was about to end. She hasn't been able to find a newspaper job in a town with only one local news option, so she's taken a job with the tourism office. Though small, the town of Kittery Harbor has its fair share of tourists. Sunny's job as a reporter has helped her organize and research lodging and attractions for visitors. Her boss is a prickly, grumpy entrepreneur, but Sunny is grateful for the work.
One day, local cat lady Ada Spruance tells Sunny that she has won the lottery but has been unable to locate her lottery ticket. Time is running out and she'll lose millions if she can't find it. She enlists Sunny's help in finding the ticket. After Ada turns up dead, at the bottom of a set of stairs in a little used room in her home, Sunny immediately suspects something suspicious has happened to Ada.
Meanwhile, a small grey cat has begun appearing around Sunny. She quickly learns that Shadow was one of Ada's many cats and, it appears, Shadow has decided to adopt a new human. Shadow instantly likes this twolegs. He noticed her hanging around his former owner "The Old One" (now known to Shadow as the "dead one"), and Shadow figures he may as well see what this Sunny person is all about. When Shadow realizes Sunny is asking questions and investigating, with the help of local police officer, the Old One's death, he knows he should stick around to help. After all, he saw (and smelled) who did it.
One of the most pleasant surprises about this book, was the point of view of Shadow. Getting the viewpoint of the cat and his thoughts was cute and charming and worked really well within the mystery. Sunny is a likeable heroine and the storyline about her relationship with Will got the exact right amount of page space. The setting of small town Maine makes for the perfect New England background for this series and I will definitely read more of this series. I recommend this to fans of cozy mysteries or if you are ever curious about reading light mysteries like this (and are willing to suspend disbelief and read a cat's POV.)