I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Sabrina has never been the superstitious type. Still, when she moves to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation rental business, Sabrina can’t avoid listening to the rumors that a local black cat is a jinx—especially after the stray in question leads her directly to the scene of a murder.
The deceased turns out to be none other than her Aunt Rowe’s awful cousin Bobby Joe Flowers, a known cheat and womanizer who had no shortage of enemies. The only problem is that Aunt Rowe and Bobby Joe had quarreled just before the cousin turned up dead, leaving Rowe at the top of the long list of suspects. Now it’s up to Sabrina to clear her aunt’s name. Luckily for her, she’s got a new sidekick, Hitchcock the Bad Luck Cat, to help her sniff out clues and stalk a killer before Aunt Rowe winds up the victim of even more misfortune…
I read this book to fill the Black Cat square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.
This is a serviceable little cozy mystery. I generally enjoyed the mystery portion, but there were a couple of things that rubbed me the wrong way. The first was the protagonist, Sabrina Tate. She is depicted as absolutely unable to hold focus on anything. She is an aspiring author, but when it comes time to write, she’s worried about the mystery. When she’s investigating the mystery, she’s worried that she’s not writing. And her worries about a stray cat trump both and drag her around by the nose. I just can’t envision someone like this getting a book deal as easily and smoothly as happens in this novel.
My second problem with the whole situation is the whole “I must help the police or they will make a horrible mistake” assumption in the book. Now maybe I’m a naive Canadian, but I believe that the police are far better at investigating homicide than a scatter-brain like Sabrina. She just flails around asking annoying questions until other people want to hurt her. Her Aunt Rowe has a much more realistic attitude, repeatedly telling her to leave it to the police and they will sort things out.
So, with that off my chest, we can proceed to the things that I like. I did enjoy the cat escapades. Hitchcock was a great furry character. And I’m enjoying the foreshadowed romance coming between Sabrina and the cowboy Griffith. If I need to read a Black Cat book next Halloween, I can see myself reading the next book in this series for that purpose.