06 May 2013

Cozy Monday

Cat Nap (Sunny & Shadow Mystery #2) by Claire Donally (Berkley Prime Crime mass market,
7 May 2013).

When Sunny Coolidge moves back to her hometown in Maine to take care of her father after his heart attack, she's adopted by a  stray tabby cat she calls Shadow.  When Shadow injures his paw after running in the snow, she takes him to her local veterinarian, who just happens to be her old high school rival Jane Rigsdale.  Trying to let bygones be gone, Sunny agrees to provide moral support when Jane goes to explain to her ex-husband, also a vet, why she can't lend him money.

Unfortunately, when they walk into his office, they find his corpse stretched out on his examining table.  Of course, Jane is the prime suspect, but Sunny is determined to prove that her friend is innocent.

One of the cool things about this series is that some passages are written from Shadow's point of view (though not in the first-personcat).  We come to understand why he's torn between the freedom of being a cat-about-town and the comfort of being a pet.  And he's a big help in determining the identity of the killer.

Gluten for Punishment (Baker's Treat Mystery #1) by Nancy J. Parra (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 7 May 2013).

When she inherits her family home after her mother's death, Toni Ryder moves her online gluten-free bakery to a small store-front on the Main Street of Oiltop, Kansas.  Unfortunately, Oiltop happens to be right in the middle of wheat-country, and her grand-opening celebration is marred by a protester who throws a bag of flour at her.

She convinces herself not to take the hostility too seriously, but the next morning when she calls the cops about the drunk outside Baker's Treat and he turns out to be dead, she gets nervous.  He had been spray-painting a nasty message on the outside wall of the bakery, and since Toni was the only person around at that hour (preparing baked goods for her breakfast customers), she's the chief suspect.  Really worried about the future of her bakery, she decides to figure out who the killer is on her own.

This is a fun-to-read humorous mystery with a well-constructed plot.  The characters are believable and the premise is inventive.  I look forward to further installments in this series!

FTC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for sending me review copies of these books.

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