Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, is a long way from Hollywood, but it’s the place legendary actress Deanna Daltry wants to call home. Taking up residence in a stone mansion off Cemetery Hill, the retired, yet still glamorous, septuagenarian has adopted two kittens from Lara Caphart’s High Cliff Shelter for Cats. With help from her Aunt Fran, Lara makes sure the kitties settle in safely with their new celebrity mom.
But not everyone in town is a fan of the fading star. Deanna was in Whisker Jog when she was younger, earning a reputation for pussyfooting around, and someone is using that knowledge against her. After being frightened by some nasty pranks, Deanna finds herself the prime murder suspect when the body of a local teacher is found on her property. Now, it’s up to Lara, Aunt Fran, and the blue-eyed Ragdoll mystery cat Lara recently encountered to collar a killer before another victim is pounced upon . . .
Praise for Linda Reilly’s Deep Fried Mysteries
“I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzler of a mystery. Reilly cooks up a perfect recipe of murder and mayhem in this charming cozy.” —Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Hat Shop Mysteries
“Smart, sassy, and a little bit scary. Everything a good cozy should be!” —Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries
“Everything I want in a cozy mystery: endearing characters, an enchanting setting, tantalizing food descriptions and a top-notch mystery plot!” —Susan Furlong, author of the Georgia Peach Mysteries
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"Oh God, I've got to get ready."
With the toe of her beaded blue sandal, Lara Caphart turned off the vacuum cleaner and pressed the button to retract the cord. The cord snaked into the vacuum with a loud snap. She jumped slightly at the sound.
Take a deep breath, she told herself. She's only a movie star. She's only been nominated for three Oscars and a Tony. She's only Deanna Daltry ...
Lara was lugging the vacuum back to the supply closet when she bumped smack into her aunt, Fran Clarkson. Seven months ago, Lara had moved into her aunt's Folk Victorian home in the town of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. Though Aunt Fran had lived in the house for well over three decades, as of the beginning of the year it officially became the High Cliff Shelter for Cats.
"Sorry, Aunt Fran. I'm rushing, and I — Oh good glory, you look gorgeous. Is that a new top?" She tucked a strand of her coppery hair behind her right ear.
Aunt Fran smiled, her green eyes beaming beneath the smidge of highlighter she'd swept along her upper lids. "Yes, it is," she said, referring to the gauzy, moss-colored top she wore over her pale gray capris. She did make for a stunning picture. "Lara, why are you so jittery? Ms. Daltry won't be here for at least another hour."
"But ... but ... she's Deanna Daltry! And she's going to be living in our town — in tiny Whisker Jog, New Hampshire!"
Aunt Fran chuckled. "I've never seen you so starstruck before. Remember, she's here to adopt, not to audition us for parts in her next movie."
"I know, I know. It's just —"
"And also remember, she has a reputation for being late. Notoriously late. So don't expect her to be here at the stroke of three."
Lara sighed. It was true. The famous actress, best known recently for her starring role in the Broadway hit Take Me, I'm His, had often been dubbed Hollywood's "late date." Never married, she was known for her string of leading-man lovers, as well as for her generous good works.
She glanced around the back porch. The official meet-and-greet room for the shelter, it boasted a sturdy square table over which a cat-themed runner had been draped. The ceiling border depicted whimsical cats — hand-painted by Lara — frolicking over a background of cerulean blue. A pine corkboard hung on one wall. Photos of cats that had been successfully adopted covered the board. Lara was pleased that four kittens and two adult cats had found good homes since the shelter opened in January.
A furry body leaped soundlessly onto one of the four padded chairs. The Ragdoll cat, blue eyes sparkling, gave Lara a curious look.
Lara grinned at Blue, the cat that had the knack of popping in and out of the scenery like a puff of smoke.
"You're always smiling at that chair," Aunt Fran said. "It must remind you of something."
If you only knew, Lara thought.
"It reminds me that I'd better get hustling and clean up. When our illustrious guest arrives, I don't want to look like something a squirrel dug out of a hole in the ground."
* * *
It was the stroke of four thirty-five when Deanna Daltry arrived. The actress had driven herself to the shelter, her vintage cream-colored Mercedes spotless and gleaming under a mid-July sun.
Slender and silver-haired, Deanna wore her hair in a short, casual style combed away from her face. Clad in faded denim capris and a white halter top, she held out one hand.
"Forgive my bare face," she said, sounding apologetic. "I find that the less makeup I wear, the less recognizable I am."
"Ms. Daltry," Lara said, trying valiantly not to gush. "I would know you anywhere. And you look beautiful, with or without makeup." She took the woman's outstretched hand, holding it a second or two longer than she should have.
Deanna's gray eyes made a sweep of the room. "Is this room the shelter?" she asked Lara. "I'm loving the feline décor."
"The shelter is actually our home," Lara explained. "Three of the adult cats live here permanently. On adoption days, we outfit them with blue collars to indicate that they're in-house cats. This room" — she waved a hand at the table — "is where we introduce ourselves, tell you about our shelter, and enjoy tea and snacks with those who wish to partake. Is iced tea all right? With the heat, we figured ..."
The actress grinned and winked at Lara. "'Those who wish to partake.' You're a dear young woman, do you know that? And yes, iced tea sounds like just the ticket on this sultry day."
Inwardly, Lara slapped herself. Why did she have to sound so goofy in front of this legend? Why couldn't she just be herself?
"Anyway," Lara went on, "my aunt, Fran Clarkson, will be here any second. She's —"
"I'm here," Aunt Fran's voice trilled from the doorway. Lara couldn't hide her smile. Her aunt's tone never warbled that way. Was she feeling a bit starstruck herself?
Aunt Fran set a pitcher of iced tea on the table, along with a small plate of cat-shaped cookies. "Ms. Daltry," she said, offering her hand to the actress, "I'm Fran, and we're honored that you've chosen our shelter. Please have a seat."
The table had already been set with tall glasses, dishes, and spoons. Lara poured each of them a glass of iced tea. "I hope you like cookies," she said. "Daisy Bowker at the local coffee shop made them especially for you. They're flavored with lavender."
Deanna's smile widened. "To match the iconic gown I wore in Forever and a Century? How sweet of her."
"That's amazing, Ms. Daltry," Lara said. "How did you know that?"
"First, I insist that you both call me Deanna." The actress flashed a brilliant smile, but Lara spied a touch of sadness in her expressive eyes. Ignoring Lara's question, she looked around. "Aside from these delightful cookies, I haven't seen any cats yet."
Lara laughed. "We close the door to the large parlor on adoption days, until we're ready to let visitors in." She pushed her chair back and left the room to open the door. Munster, an orange-striped darling, moved past her like a rocket. He knew that on days when that door closed and then opened again, he was about to meet new people.
Lara followed the cat to the back porch, where he promptly jumped onto their visitor's lap.
"Oh, what a darling you are," Deanna cooed, stroking his head. "But you're wearing a blue collar, so I can't adopt you, can I?" She pushed her chilled glass toward the center of the table.
"He's our official greeter," Aunt Fran said, then smiled at the slender gray cat eyeing them from the doorway. "But Bootsie here is ready for a nice quiet home, aren't you sweetie?"
Bootsie dipped her head forward and moved cautiously into the room. Aunt Fran called to her, but Bootsie made a circuitous route and wound herself around Deanna's ankle.
Deanna clucked over the cat, reaching down to run a hand along her soft body. "She's a doll, for sure," the actress said and then sighed. "I know I sound selfish saying this, but ... well, I was actually hoping to adopt a pair of kittens." She held up a slender hand. "And I already know what you're thinking, that everyone prefers kittens over adult cats because they're so cute and frisky. But for me, coming back here represents a new beginning, and —" She paused and gazed up at the ceiling, the fingers of one hand lightly touching her throat.
Aunt Fran spoke first. "Ms. — I mean, Deanna, you don't need to explain. Your feelings are fully understandable. And, as it turns out, your timing is excellent."
"Three weeks ago," Lara said, "someone left a cardboard cage on our front porch. No note, no explanation — just a shy mama kitty and three very hungry kittens inside."
"The kittens are about fourteen weeks old," Aunt Fran explained, "so they're definitely ready for adoption. We've already approved an application from a woman who wants to adopt the mom and one of the kittens. As soon as the woman's recovered sufficiently from her hip surgery, she and her daughter are going to pick them up."
Deanna's gray eyes beamed. "So, the other two are still available?"
"They are," Aunt Fran confirmed. "They've both had their vaccinations, but they're due for a second round in a few weeks. We'll give you a referral to our preferred vet, who will also do the neutering and spaying when each one is ready."
Lara couldn't suppress a smile. "They're predominantly white, but the male has two black stripes above one paw that make him look like he's wearing an armband, and the female has a brown, diamond-shaped mark next to her right eye. We've been calling them Noodle and Doodle, but of course you can name them anything you'd like."
Deanna clasped her hands together. "Oh, I can't wait to see them."
Lara rose from her padded seat just as the elusive Ragdoll, Blue, slipped onto the vacant one. Blue set her chin on the table and gave a slow blink, her gaze coming to rest on Deanna. From the cat's expression, Lara saw that she approved of the woman.
"I'll get them for you," Lara said. "Last I saw, they were napping on the cat tree in the large parlor."
She scooted out of the room, returning a minute later clutching the kittens to her chest. Lara handed the male kitten to Deanna. Munster sniffed the kitten's tail but didn't vacate his comfy lap space.
"Oh, they're absolutely angelic." Deanna nuzzled the male kitten against her cheek, smiling at the female tucked under Lara's chin. "They're perfect," she declared. "I promise to give them a loving home."
"We do have an application that needs to be filled out," Lara said carefully. She didn't want to risk offending the actress, but anyone wanting to adopt had to be approved. It was part of the process designed to give their feline residents the best homes possible.
A noise from the large parlor drew Munster's attention. He leaped off Deanna's lap and went off to investigate. Lara set the female kitten in Deanna's lap.
Deanna bit down gently on her lower lip, then curled her free hand around the female kitten. Her voice grew soft. "I wasn't sure about coming back to Whisker Jog," she murmured, a pained look dimming her eyes. "But you've both made me feel so very welcome. I'm glad I'm here, and I'm grateful to both of you for giving me a private appointment. I know you're not normally open on Thursdays." She laughed. "Application process? Good! Bring it on. I assure you that once you check me out, you won't have any reservations about letting me adopt."
"Excellent," Aunt Fran said.
The kittens had gotten antsy, so Deanna set them down. Their mom appeared suddenly and sat watching them from the doorway. Her other kitten hovered behind her.
"Here's mama now," Aunt Fran said. "We've been calling her Catalina and her other kitten Bitsy, but her new owners will probably change that."
All white with one black ear and one black forepaw, Catalina looked up at Deanna. Her tail curled around her feet as she assessed the newcomer.
"So that's the mama kitty," Deanna said with a smile. "What beautiful markings."
Bitsy, slightly smaller than her sibs, padded over to Deanna and sniffed at the toes of her purple sneakers.
"I think she's checking me out." Deanna winked at Lara.
Catalina was clearly comfortable around the actress. Deanna reached down and stroked her head, eliciting a soft purr from the cat. The kittens immediately went over to their mom. Introductions over, Catalina turned and strolled from the room, Bitsy, Noodle, and Doodle following in her wake.
After that, Deanna seemed to relax. She began regaling Lara and Aunt Fran with tales from her early days in Hollywood.
"Do you ever get tired of people intruding on your privacy?" Lara asked. "I'll bet people are always trying to take selfies with you."
The warmth in Deanna's expression cooled, and her eyes narrowed. "You've hit the nail on the head, as they say, Lara. You can't imagine how many times I've wanted to hide, to disappear. How often I've wanted to seek out a place where no one can bother me or hurt me." Her thin nostrils flared slightly.
"I'm sorry," Lara said. "I shouldn't have asked. I didn't mean to pry."
The actress' smile instantly returned, as if prompted by a cue card. "Don't be silly. It was a fair question." She swallowed the last of her iced tea, then pulled her cell phone out from the tiny purse she'd brought with her. "By the way, you're both coming to the reception on Sunday, right?"
"Reception?" Lara asked.
Aunt Fran piped in. "I saw something in the paper about it. The Whisker Jog Ladies' Association is holding a welcome tea and reception for Deanna this Sunday afternoon at the historical society. I'm not a member, so no, we've not been invited."
"Bummer," Lara said.
Deanna waved a hand. "Never mind that. You are invited, because I'm inviting you. I'll speak to Evelyn Conley, the coordinator. Besides, I fully intend to support your shelter, and I want to make that known to everyone attending this little shindig."
"Oh, that's so kind of you. Thank you," Aunt Fran said.
Lara's mind instantly flitted to her wardrobe. As a watercolor artist, she spent most of her days working in paint-splattered T-shirts and denim. She had no idea what to wear to an event like the one to which Deanna had invited them.
But that got her thinking. Gideon, the local attorney she'd been seeing for a few months, had asked her to dinner the following Saturday at a new restaurant just outside the town limits. She'd planned to splurge on something summery to wear, but hadn't had a chance to shop. Maybe she could find something that would fit the bill for both events.
"Yes, thank you, Deanna," Lara said. "I'd love to attend."
"Fine. I'll see that invitations are hand-delivered to you by tomorrow. As for that application, is it something you can send to my private email address?"
"It sure is," Lara said. "If you give us your email address I'll get it right off to you."
Deanna's smile was genuine. "I'm so pleased that I came here today. You've both been gracious and lovely. And I promise, those kittens will have a wonderful home."CHAPTER 2
The door to the white clapboard building that housed the Whisker Jog Historical Society had been propped open with a large brick. Painted barn red, the door boasted a patriotic folk art flag hanging directly below its brass knocker.
Voices drifted from inside the building. Aunt Fran went in first, Lara trailing behind her.
Lara felt good today, pleased that she'd found a flowery yellow sundress and matching espadrilles at a price she could almost afford. The dress flared at the bottom, and was adorned with two deep but discreet pockets. She'd splurged and bought the ensemble, dressing it up with the chunky gold necklace her aunt had bought at a yard sale a few months earlier. She'd tucked her cell in one of the pockets — just in case she wanted to snap a few celebrity pics.
"I've never been in here," Lara said, gazing around the large entrance that had once served as a meeting room for the townspeople. In one corner, a portable air conditioner struggled to pump out enough chilled air to cool the surrounding area.
"The reception must be in the main room," Aunt Fran said. "Since we're early, why don't you browse here for a bit. Some of the town's artifacts are quite interesting. I'll head to the back to see if anyone needs help setting things up."
"Thanks. I think I'll do that."
Lara was glad to see that her aunt was walking far better than she had been before her knee-replacement surgery. And while Aunt Fran no longer used her cane, Lara knew that her right knee still troubled her. Lara looked forward to the day when both her aunt's knees were back to normal and pain-free.
She wandered over to a large glass case that sat in the center of the room. Beneath the glass was a yellowed map of Whisker Jog, its edges brown and wrinkled. Lara peered at the handwritten paper tacked above the map. It explained how the town got its name.
Originally called Elbern's Location, the town's boundaries had once formed a precise rectangle. Then a local farmer had claimed that a narrow slice of land at the southwest corner was actually part of his cow pasture in the adjacent county. Founder Josiah Elbern, the land surveyor who'd painstakingly laid out the boundaries, railed at the farmer, calling him a scoundrel and a heathen. But the farmer persisted, so Elbern brought the matter before a magistrate. To his dismay, the farmer had his ducks — or rather his deeds — in a row, and proved title to the sliver. The boundary line was changed, spoiling the perfectly rectangular town. Livid over the decision, Elbern changed the town's name to Whisker Jog, deeming the jog in the new boundary line a debauchery created by a sliver of land the "breadth of a cat's whisker."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Claws Of Death"
Copyright © 2018 Linda Reilly.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the second book that I have read by this author and I find that I like them very much. She keeps the plot going and interesting without being boring. I recommend it to anyone that likes cozy mysteries and I'm not really a cat person due to allergies but I love the way they are interwoven in her books. A very good read.
This was a solid, puzzling mystery. I liked the idea of having a fading, glamorous star in Whisker Jog and certainly adopting cats in the cards for her. Aunt Fran and Lara provide said cats, along with a lot of info about caring for and adopting cats in general. Turns out there were a lot of people that didn't like the younger Deanna that lived in town years ago. If you like cats, this a definite read. It was well written but the mystery remained shrouded a bit longer than I would have liked.
How will I rate this? 4* Above average writing (presentation, plot, etc.) 1* Above average grammar -1*except for "me and..." in two places. 1* Above average punctuation 1* Above average morality. no sex scenes, no foul language -1* I cannot imagine a life that is centered around cats. This story goes 'way too far. Reading to cats? Cats who think about the future? An invisible cat that has supernatural powers? come on! -1* Research: 70-year-old women do not grab and, certainly, do not gobble food because both are rude and impolite. Hint: Gideon is correct about the reading of tea leaves. Question: What do Lara and Fran live on? This type book is too silly for me to read more like them.
Claws of Death is the second in this series and I felt that it was not as strong as the first one. The book is a light read, well suited to animal (cats) lovers and those who like a story that involves a lot of character building and relationships. Throughout the book there is information regarding cats, the care and feeding of them as well as a strong recommendation for adopting from a local shelter. The protagonist, Lara lives with her Aunt Fran in a house they have turned into a shelter for abused and/or abandoned cats in Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. The shelter then puts the cats up for adoption. In addition, there is a “spirit cat”, Blue, that only the Lara can see, who is helpful in magically focusing the protagonist’s attention on important clues. The mystery in the book is almost secondary to the relationships both in Lara's personal life and those that are part of the adoption process. When actress Deanna Daltry returns home, her high school boyfriend shows up at a party in her honour. When she shoos him off, he turns up dead. Lara decides to help Deanna in order for her not to feel like a prisoner in her own home. The mystery of who killed the man is hard to solve. There were many people who did not like Deanna when she was younger and might have wanted to frame her for the murder. There is important information that is only provided at the end of the book, as the mystery is solved. This not only makes the mystery almost unsolvable for the reader, but the culprit was hard to believe. The book itself is well written, with good attention to detail. It moves at a smooth pace from beginning to end and is easily read in the space of a few hours. I am not sure if I will continue with this series, but if you love cats, you will probably enjoy this one.
Claws of Death by Linda Reilly is the second A Cat Lady Mystery. Deanna Daltry, the actress, is coming to Whisker Jog, New Hampshire and she wishes to adopt a cat to keep her company in her newly renovated mansion. When Deanna shows up for her appointment at Lara Caphart’s High Cliff Shelter for Cats she falls in love with two adorable kittens. The next day at the Ladies Association Welcome Tea and Reception for Deanna, someone puts worms in Deanna’s purse and then leaves a threatening message on her car. It seems Deanna’s antics from her youth are coming back to haunt her. When Lara and Aunt Fran drop off the kittens at Deanna’s home, Lara, thanks to Blue, spots a person slumped against a tombstone in the graveyard. They rush to the graveyard, but it is too late to save Donald Waitt. Deanna dated Don in high school and had not spoken to him until the day before at the tea. Deanna requests that Lara use her sleuthing skills to find Don’s murderer. With the help of Aunt Fran and the mysterious Blue, Lara sets out to trap a killer. Claws of Death is a cute cozy mystery. I found the book to be nicely written, have a good flow, just the right length and had steady pacing. Claws of Death is set in animal friendly small town with caring residents (for the most part). While Claws of Death is the second book in A Cat Lady Mystery series, it can be read alone. I liked Blue, the Ragdoll ghost cat. It added a mystical element that enhanced the story. There are many delightful moments with cats. As Lana and her newest employee take care of the animals at the shelter, adoption days, and the sweet little girl that comes to read to them. There are lovely, relatable characters in A Cat Lady Mystery series. Lara and Aunt Fran who have turned their home into an animal shelter, Gideon who is Lara’s boyfriend and lawyer, Kayla Ramirez who is the newest employee of the shelter, and Chief Jerry Whitley who enforces the law for the town and is dating Fran. Claws of Death is predominantly more cozy than mystery. The murder is investigated but the animals and the personal relationships take precedence. I thought the whodunit was simple, and I accurately identified the guilty party before Don was found in the graveyard. The why and how are discovered later in the book. I am giving Claws of Death 3 out of 5 stars. Travel to Whisker Jog in Claws of Death to meet the friendly townspeople, the adorable felines, find out who is playing pranks on Deanna and discover who did away with Don.
I am so loving this new-ish series! Cats and the wonderful New Hampshire setting drew me into these books and the characters and plots have kept me reading. I got so caught up in the story, I read it in one day. I really enjoy reading about Lara and her Aunt Fran, the kind-hearted women who run a small cat shelter from their home. I'd like to see more of the secondary characters, like Gideon and Sherry, and hope to hear about some of the characters introduced in this book. The plot was great, with a few mysteries that may or may not be connected (no spoilers here!). It's fun to read about the cats Lara and Aunt Fran care for, and it's bittersweet when one gets adopted by a new family. I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy cats, mysteries, and small New England towns! I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Claws of Death by Linda Reilly is the second in the Cat Lady Mysteries. Set in Whisker Jog, New Hamshire, Lara and her Aunt Fran have gotten High Cliff cat shelter and adoption center opened. They meet legendary actress, Deanna Daltry, when she returns to her hometown and adopts 2 kittens. During a welcome back celebration for Deanna, pranks begin happening to her but when a body is found on her property, she is the top suspect. Lara again is thrown into an investigation. The story has great flow, terrific characters, and plenty of twists and turns with a bit of romance and a bit of a ghostly kitty. I also enjoyed reading about the cats and the adoptions. I want to visit Whisker Jog and visit High Cliff. I was given an ARC from Netgalley and Kensington Books for an honest review.
What a fun, fascinating cozy mystery, a solid 2nd offering in the Cat Lady Mystery series! This author brings to life a delightful cat shelter owned and operated by Fran and her niece, Lara, and a collection of gorgeous cats ready for adoption. It is a complex mystery that I couldn’t solve. The first mystery in the series wow-d me, and this is another wow! Welcome back to High Cliff Shelter for Cats in beautiful Whisker Jog, New Hampshire! Fran is a school teacher who has taken a year off for knee replacement surgery, and her niece, Lara, a watercolor artist, returned to help and decided to stay. So many people have dropped off cats to Fran to take care of that, when Lara returned, they began the High Cliff Shelter for Cats. They chose some to keep, and some to find fur-ever homes for, and review applications from anyone wanting to adopt. That includes Deanna Daltry, a famous actress, returning to Whisker Jog and wanting to adopt a cat. She decides on a pair of kittens, Noodle and Doodle, pending the application process. She invites Fran and Lara to a reception being held for her by the Ladies’ Association. During the reception, a man came in to see her who she asked to leave. A threat is found on Deanna’s car that brings an abrupt end to the reception. When Lara goes to Deanna’s home with the kittens, she looks out the window to see someone lying down in the graveyard of the long-ago owners of the mansion. They find the man from the reception, Don Waitt, murdered. Being on her property, Deanna is the primary suspect. I really like Lara and Fran, they are the perfect ladies to care for a cat shelter. Theirs is the kind of home I’d love to have! They are well-defined through actions and dialog, as are other characters throughout. Lara has a secret helper at the shelter. Blue, a gorgeous, fluffy Ragdoll, can only be seen or heard by Lara. Blue looks exactly like a cat her aunt had owned many years ago when Lara was a regular visitor. The mystery is written very well, introducing great ideas such as children volunteering to read to cats at shelters – a win-win for both the children and the cats. Friendship is a major theme, including Lara and best friend Sherry, and a lonely Deanna. The plot twists brought surprises at every turn, a new suspect who might have wanted to hurt a kind older man…or frame Deanna for it. I enjoyed learning a little about the wildflower and herb in the story, and various things about cats imparted as part of the story of pets and pet adoption. I was not prepared for who the real bad guy was; the killer was a complete surprise. I was very pleased with the novel overall. It flowed well, grabbed my attention at the beginning, and held it throughout. There were no loose ends, and I am completely looking forward to the next one. I love cat-themed cozy mysteries, and this series is a delight. I highly recommend Claws of Death to those who enjoy cozy mysteries with likable characters, a mystery that stumps the reader, and of course, cats. From a grateful heart: I received an e-Arc of this from the publisher and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
Claws of Death by Linda Reilly was an excellent follow up in her Cat Lady Mysteries series. I am hopeful that series will continue for a long time as it really ticks all the boxes for a great cozy mystery. Ms. Reilly's descriptive writing had me immersed once more in Whisker Jog with Lara and Aunt Fran. The shelter is up and running and there is a new resident in Whisker Jog, Deanna Daltry a legendary movie star, who has adopted two kittens from the shelter. Soon after the adoption, there's a murder on Deanna's property; and Lara is on the case. The plot moved swiftly and there were plenty of suspects as well as twists before the reveal. The characters are developing well in this series and I felt like I got to know them so much better in this book. I really like Gideon and Lara together; and I adore Aunt Fran. She is great role model for women of "a certain age". I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Lyrical Underground via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
In this second book of the series legendary actress Deanna Daltry has decided to move back home and wants to adopt some kittens in the process. Lara meets Deanna when she stops by to inquire about adopting some kittens and helping others who want to do the same. Lara and Aunt Fran are happy to help but want to make sure that the actress will be providing a wonderful home to such precious cargo. While there Deanna invites Lara to a tea party being held in her honor the following day. At the party a couple of strange things occur, Deanna finds worms in her purse and Lara finds a strange message written in lipstick on Deanna's car. Deanna also seems to have words with a man who wasn't invited to the party. When said man is found in Deanna's cemetery, located on her estate, the police look to her as a suspect. She has heard that Lara recently help the police solve another murder and asks her for help. Can Lara help Deanna figure out who the killer is and will it end up being Deanna in the end. Follow along as Lara looks into the past for clues to help figure out just who had something against the dead man and why. Along the way Lara comes into contact with a housekeeper who doesn't like cats, a new hire that seems to good to be true, and a ton of history from the past to delve through. This is such a lovely series whose characters show the love a furry friend can bring to anyone's life. I can't wait to see what happens next and meet the new cats and kittens sure to grace the pages.
Reilly has another winner in CLAWS OF DEATH, the second installment of the delightful Cat Lady series. Interesting characters, an intriguing mystery, and a slew of wonderful cats make this book a great pick for any cozy mystery fan. Animal lovers especially will appreciate how the story revolves around a small rescue organization, and one cat's situation in particular provides a unique and interesting twist that is sure to appeal to those who like a little magic in their books. Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway.