I recently went on a cozy book buying spree, which is when Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass was added to my e-library. I think I figured I was destined to enjoy this book for three reasons: 1. CATS!!! (obviously) 2. our sleuthing MC is a librarian, and 3. the series takes place in Michigan, my home state! Aaaaaand…basically I was right (but for more reasons than the three I just listed).
Released: December 2013
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Eddie followed Minnie home one day, and now she can’t seem to shake the furry little shadow. But in spite of her efforts to contain her new pal, the tabby sneaks out and trails her all the way to the bookmobile on its maiden voyage. Before she knows it, her slinky stowaway becomes her cat co-pilot!
Minnie and Eddie’s first day visiting readers around the county seems to pass without trouble—until Eddie darts outside at the last stop and leads her to the body of a local man who’s reached his final chapter.
Initially, Minnie is ready to let the police handle this case, but Eddie seems to smell a rat. Together, they’ll work to find the killer—because a good librarian always knows when justice is overdue.
Granted, Lending a Paw takes place “up north” in a fictional town named Chilson, which is located somewhere north of Traverse City and south of Charlevoix– basically, where all the wineries, cherry trees, and ritzy vacation homes settled on Lake Michigan are located. It’s totally different from where I live, which is part of the “Rust Belt“, if that paints a charming picture in your head at all. Still, it’s always interesting to see how authors perceive your state. Especially Michigan because Michigan is the best 😉
Aside from helping Minnie solve a murder (without magic) and being her co-pilot in the bookmobile, I also have a bias towards cat named Eddie (or variations thereof). Throughout this novel, I could help but picture my late cat, Ed, even though he’s orange. He just seemed like the Eddie in Lending a Paw.
His name had been the inspiration of a bemused coworker. “Sounds like and Eddie kind of cat,” Josh had said after I told the story.
“What kind is that?” Holly, another coworker, had asked.
“Just…Eddie.” Josh had shrugged. “You know what guys named Eddie are like.”
And just like that, my cat had a name.
While I’ve enjoyed every cozy mystery novel I’ve read and reviewed for Books & Tea, I’ve always felt the actual sleuthing was minimal. A lot of times, clues are revealed by chance and the main characters, while intent on finding the perp, don’t always piece the puzzle together very well throughout the story. Sometimes I’m totally surprised when the identity of the perp is revealed and I wonder if that’s a good thing; did I not see it coming because the author did not give me enough clues or did I not see it coming because I’m…CLUELESS (hahahahah!)
In Lending a Paw, Minnie “interviews” suspects, pieces together a family tree, and follows tracks and clues before the trail goes cold. She also keeps means and motive in mind, and while her hunches are not always right, another piece of the piece of the puzzle is usually revealed. This novel presented one of the most satisfying mystery-solving experience I’ve read so far.