Jan. 10th, 2017

chez_jae: (Books)
I stayed up way late last night to finish reading Murder Can Spook Your Cat, by Selma Eichler. It's part of a series featuring PI Desiree Shapiro. I haven't read any others, nor do I plan to seek out any more. I am sure I purchased it because of the lure of a cat, only to discover the cat didn't figure very prominently in the story.

Five years ago, Desiree's good friend Kevin married children's author Luella Pressman. Now he has contacted Desiree to look into Luella's unexpected death. Kevin and Luella divorced but remained close, and he is devastated by her death and convinced that one of Luella's three stepdaughters must have done her in.

Mind you, at this point, no one knew the cause of Luella's death, pending autopsy and toxicology reports. So, for the most part, the entire story focused on Desiree questioning everyone who was in close contact with Luella (her stepdaughters, her sister, the housekeeper, Kevin, and Luella's latest love interest, Bud). All of this without knowing if it was murder or not.

Honestly, I don't know why I stayed up so late reading this. The story skipped back in time at several points, and the plot was all over the place between Desiree's investigation, her own lackluster love life, her other relationships with friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and her shopping excursions. Given the title of the story and the fact that Luella's formerly sweet-natured cat turned into a spaz monkey after her death, I thought that perhaps the cat's behavior would help uncover the killer. Not so! I did appreciate that Desiree is portrayed as a plump, forty-something character, rather than a lissome twenty-something. I think what kept me reading was the fact that the chapters were quite short, and I was truly puzzled as to who may have killed Luella. At one point, I suspected that Kevin, the sister, and all three stepdaughters had conspired to get rid of her, because all of them, to a person, waxed poetic about how well they all got on with Luella.

Aside from that, Desiree's kinda sorta relationship with Bruce made me want to tear my hair out. She was reluctant to tell anyone she was seeing him, because the fact embarrassed her. Why? Because Bruce was distant, only called her at the last minute to see her, insulted her in front of his friends, and then accused her of overreacting when she called him on it. When they broke up over something stupid, Desiree was both saddened and relieved. Then, he called her again, and the foolish woman agreed to see him again! *head desk*

Favorite line: I'm not exactly into fitness. In fact, the only exercise I enjoy is walking from the refrigerator to the table.

I'm torn about this one. It was not a tautly crafted mystery by any means, Desiree needed a class on how not to be a doormat, and the promised cat element didn't materialize. However, I couldn't help but think of the story at times when I wasn't reading it. Hmmm...If I could award it 3 1/2 stars, I would. I think I'll go with three, simply because I have no intentions of reading anything else in this series.

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