Publisher: Obsidian Hardcover
Page count: 288 pages
Reviewer’s name: Patricia K. Batta
A kidnapped cat and two murders – it’s a good thing Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont are great at multi-tasking. Nancie, a hard driving attorney, hired the husband and wife Coronado Investigations team to clear Trish of murdering her soon to be ex-husband Mort and find out who kidnapped their show cat Justine. As part of the investigation into Justine’s disappearance, Helen takes a dead-end job working with Mort’s new fiancé for a woman who shows prizewinning Persians. Elaine Viets weaves the vagaries of cat shows seamlessly into the thread of the story.
Their investigation is barely underway, however, before their landlady and friend Margery’s estranged ex-husband, who she hasn’t seen in thirty years, shows up and tries to worm his way back into her life, then dies. The police conclude that Margery poisoned him, so Helen and Phil convince Nancie to add Margery to the caseload.
Helen and Phil are under the gun to get these two old ladies out of jail before they also shrivel up and die. And, as Nancie keeps reminding them, they have to find Justine or Trish will fall apart anyway. They follow up on every clue, too many of which turn out to be dead ends. Eventually, one by one, the pieces come together, giving the reader a chance to solve the cases along with Helen and Phil.
The characters in Catnapped are fun and quirky, with distinctive personalities. I liked the interplay between Helen and Phil, and I was pleased that the male of the pair was the one who pulled a silly stunt to try and rescue the cat.
Viets has written a well-crafted, fast paced mystery full of delightful characters and satisfying plot twists.