Ausma Zehanat Khan: The Language of Secrets Sunday, Jan 31 2016 

LangSecrets
Khan’s debut The Unquiet Dead was one of Auntie M’s favorite debuts last year, introducing the unusual team of Toronto detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty. Khan’s sequel, The Language of Secrets, is every bit as well done, a compelling and original plot with a timely topic handled with exquisite delicacy and precision. Instead of a formal review, Auntie M will let the author describe her book.

Auntie M had the pleasure of having lunch and a lively discussion about her work with British-born Canadian Ausma Zehanat Khan at Bouchercon last October. The author met her husband, a University of Denver professor and author who is regarded as a leading expert on Middle East affairs, when they were students at university in Ottowa, the country’s capital, and both became activists in protests against Bosnian war crimes. Her PhD research informed much of The Unquiet Dead, and her husband, Nader Hashemi, Director for the Center of Middle East Studies, became a patient and valuable resource in her research for this second book, which has her detectives investigating a Muslim terrorist cell planning an attack on New Year’s Day.

Auntie M: After all of your PhD research, why the decision to document stories and try to bring understanding through crime novels?

Ausma Zehanat Khan: I’m a lifelong crime fiction reader, which led to this series, and I chose the Canadian setting to write about my Toronto home from a distance. That distance allows me to recreate the setting for readers, who may not understand the very accepting multicultural attitudes prevalent in Toronto. So that was how I grounded my detectives. I wanted to write about the Bosnian genocide because I thought it was a war most people knew little about, and whose terrible crimes have been largely forgotten. I thought a mystery that explored the war would be a more accessible, but still compelling, entry point into that story, a story that has stayed with me as the struggle for justice continues.

AM: Your first book was based on real events; does this sequel follow that pattern?

AZK: Yes, “Secrets” is based on a case where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service carried out a major anti-terrorism operation that resulted in the arrest of eighteen jihadists, influenced by a charismatic ideologue, who had planned to attack several sites in downtown Toronoto, as well as discussing other targets. A Muslim police agent infiltrated the terror cell’s operation and together with a second informant, helped bring about a successful sting operation that led to arrests before the plot could be carried out. My Author’s Note at the end of the book gives the full story.

AM: You do a great job of explaining how everyone feels accepted in Toronto.

AZK: Of course, I don’t want to idealize my city because I know no matter how multicultural, there are always probles within and between different groups that must be grappled with. And there can be issues of systemic discrimination, as with the over-policing of Toronto’s black communities. But I will say that Toronto is an inclusive, welcoming, multicultural city that a wide variety of groups not only call home but feel completely at home in, just as I do. Just recently, the mayor of Toronto and the Prime Minister of Canada personally welcomed Syrian refugees to the country. To me, that kind of open-hearted multiculturalism is ingrained in the idea of what Canada stands for. So it can be all the more shocking to realize there are still those who feel disenfranchised, alienated–who actively wish to do harm. I wanted to explore how, given that context, young men become radicalized to the point of disastrous action.

AM: So you decided to have Rachel Getty, the native Canadian, go undercover into a mosque! This one is filled with intrigue and Esa’s struggles with his family, while Rachel is tasting independence and a major change in her own family.

AZK: Rachel has to play a sensitive role and do it well. Esa has been told he cannot be seen to be investigating the murder of an old friend, an undercover Muslim agent, from this mosque, for fear of getting in the way of the sting operation underway. He’s hamstrung by his own colleagues and decides sending Rachel undercover may be the best way to infiltrate the cell and investigate the murder.

AM: Rachel has her work cut out for her, becoming involved in the mosque and learning the different personalities of those attending, trying to separate out the members from the terrorist cell while appearing just an interested new party.

AZK: There’s a lot at stake and it becomes personal to them when Esa’s sister becomes engaged, against his wishes, to a member of the mosque, the leader of the cell. I tried to show that passion and zeal take many forms in religion, and people turn to the comfort of belonging to a group for various, personal reasons. As she subtly investigated the congregants, Rachel is the one who arrives at these conclusions.

AM: I won’t give the ending away except to say that both Esa and Rachel come across as fully realized characters who can sustain a series. Esa is the thinker, the more reserved Muslim who is comfortable with his faith in a modern world; Rachel is the younger, hockey-playing partner trying to learn from him while they each learn to trust the other. You said you’ve always loved crime fiction. Who were your early influences?

AZK: When I was 13, my father gave me a leather-bound set of Sherlock Holmes stories and I was hooked by the master, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I also greatly enjoyed Ngaio Marsh, and later Reginald Hill became one of my favorites. His Dialogues of the Dead is what I consider a perfect crime novel.

AM: I agree. It’s one of my own favorites, too. So for reading today, who’s books would I find on your nightstand?

AZK: I enjoy series, and like Louise Penny, Charles Finch, Alan Bradley, Charles Todd, and Tasha Alexander off the top of my head. Ashley Weaver is a terrific new find. Also Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George. Morag Joss has a way with a lovely turn of phrase, and I enjoy Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series and the dilemmas of his family very much.

AM: All good choices and some of my own are amongst those. Good luck with this new book.

Auntie M will end here except to add that The Unquiet Dead is now available in paperback. The Language of Secrets, which Kirkus Reviews describes as a “smart, measured, immersive dive into a poorly understood, terrifyingly relevant subculture of violent extremism,” debuts Feb. 2nd and earns Auntie M’s “highly recommended” rating.

Going to the Dogs: Diana Orgain, Nancy Martin, Michelle Kelly Sunday, Jan 24 2016 

Dogs featured in various ways in several of the recent books Auntie M has read, so she thought she’d group a few cozies together for your interest. First up is Diana Orgain’s Yappy Hour, which takes readers to the small California town of Pacific Cove.
Yappy-Hour
This light=hearted humorous cozy has a hint of romance and a mix of quirky characters that are canine and human. Maggie has relocated to the area from her New York life as a financial advisor to restart her life and be near her Great-Uncle Ernest, whom she and her sister, Rachel, call Grunkly. Rachel owns the The Wine and Bark, a dog-friendly wine bar.

Maggie is eyeing a position on a cruise line as a purser when Friday rolls around. That means the Roundup Crew will head to Rachel’s bar for Yappy Hour with their dogs in tow. Then Maggie gets an urgent text from Rachel, saying she has to unexpectedly go out of town, and asks Maggie to cover Yappy Hour for her.

When Maggie arrives, she finds a woman and her dog standing over a dead body. With the woman on the phone with 911, Maggie checks for a pulse and notices Rachel’s name on a letter that she slips into her pocket. It won’t be the last time Maggie interferes with the murder investigation, despite her penchant for panic attacks.

The fun starts when Rachel is deemed a suspect for fleeing the scene and Maggie reopens the bar, learning how to make Muttgaritas and Arf D’Oeuvres. Then the Roundup Crew swing into action to save the bar and help Maggie find the real killer. Grunkly will prove a distraction, too. It doesn’t help that Maggie feels drawn to the good-looking detective, Brad Brooks, or that she actually doesn’t care all that much for dogs.

This is lighthearted fun that is a quick breezy read.

Miss ruffles
Mule Stop, Texas is the setting for Nancy Martin’s Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything., another romp filled with humor.

Sunny McKillip is still getting used to Texas when she takes a job as dog sitter to Honeybelle Hensley, of formidable wealth and a real character in her town. Texas seems sometimes to Sunny like Wonderland must have been to Alice, filled with ruthless people.

When Honeybelle is suspected dead, the entire town goes into revolt, especially Honeybelle’s own family, when it turns out she’s left her entire fortune to her dog, Miss Ruffles, a Texas Cattle cur of dubious fame. Known for chasing the UPS man and destroying prize rose bushes, Miss Ruffles often showed her strong objection to Honeybelle’s callers, especially the men vying for her fortune–ah, attention.

Sunny’s job now becomes less sitter and more bodyguard for Miss Ruffles, with a killer still on the loose. Then the dog is kidnapped and there will be twists and secrets until the truth becomes known, a whopper that changes everything for a lot of the characters, and especially for Sunny.

With a hint of romance on the offing, what seem like jagged ends comes together in the end.

downward-facing-death
The dog in question this time in Michelle Kelly’s Downward Facing Death is the huge Irish Wolfhound belonging to Jack Tibbins named Bambi, one of the first people Keeley Carpenter encounters when she returns to her hometown of Belfrey in England, a charming, traditional village.

Away for years finding herself and learning yoga, slimming down, too, Keeley’s return to take over her dead father’s vacant butcher shop sounds like a grand plan: she’ll open a yoga cafe’, selling vegetarian food and teaching yoga classes.

But a huge wrinkle occurs before Keeley’s even had time to visit the shop: she’s told by DC Ben Taylor that an arsonist tried to burn the building down. And when he takes her to visit the damage to the back of the building, he adds that a dead body was found in the upper studio.

It’s a huge blow, made worse by the fact that Ben Taylor is the same guy Keeley had a crush on back in school. Faced with him now in this new position, he regards her with suspicions at first and something much different later. Bambi will turn out to be a comfort to her while she struggles to make sense of her new position at her old home, as she tries to find out about the victim found dead on what are now her premises.

She’ll need friends, because some of the townspeople feel Keeley’s New Age shop is one more shout of the death knell to the farming community and greet her with suspicion and downright hostility. As she draws closer to Ben, there will be threatening letters sent, and when Bambi is poisoned, things suddenly become much more threatening, for it was Bambi’s barking that had brought attention to the fire at Keeley’s shop and stopped the body from being burned.

And suddenly Keeley will realize the importance of the dog who barked in the nighttime. Complete with yoga instructions and a few recipes at the end.

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe! Thursday, Jan 21 2016 

EdAllanCozyCover

Auntie M wanted to help celebrate Edgar Allan Poe’s Jan 19th birthday by sharing what spurred the publication of The Wicked Cozy Authors new anthology. Thanks to Sherry Harris who posted this on his actual birthday, all the gals of this great New England Cozy Author group who contributed, and to Edith Maxwell for sharing the cover jpg and the okay to mirror it today. Auntie M has a special fondness for this group of talented New England cozy authors and has absolutely no doubt you will enjoy their new book, EDGAR ALLAN COZY:

Auntie M has visited Poe’s Baltimore home with her Screw Iowa! writing group, where today you can be treated to his stor, with an actor portraying bits of his stories. We also visited his grave, a total-immersion-in-Poe day. So a belated happy birthday to this famous author with the sad life, a small man who wrote giant tales and poetry we still read, quote, and admire–and whose influence has touched many a writers’ life.

Here now in their own words, how this interesting anthology came to be:

Edgar Allan Cozy — Wicked Short Stories
Posted on January 19, 2016 by Sherry Harris

We are celebrating Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday with a new short story anthology! Last year Jane Haertel, aka Sadie Hartwell (aka Susannah Hardy), asked the Wickeds if we’d be interested in doing a short story anthology based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories — only these stories would have a twist — a cozy take on his original stories. The result is the ebook Edgar Allan Cozy. Here’s how we chose our stories:

Edith: At a young age I was haunted – haunted, I tell you! – by the “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
And by young I mean nine or ten. When the light went out in my room at night, I knew I could hear that heart beating under the floor. I didn’t know anything about sanity or insanity. I didn’t know what a rheumy eye was. But I could feel that story. I’m not sure my mother was entirely sane letting her third daughter read Poe and the tales of Sherlock Holmes in the fourth grade. Read them I did, though, over and over, and that reading started me on the path to where I have ended up: writing mystery, heart-stopping suspense, and even a bit of horror now and then. I tried to craft “An Intolerable Intrusion” after the manner of “The Tell-Tale Heart” — only with a modern twist.

Sadie/Susannah/Jane: My story, “Within These Walls,” about a Shriner clown’s wife who inherits a brooding mansion set high on a bluff in Raven Harbor, Maine, is based on Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.” While I love all the Poe stories and poems, this is the one that sticks with me. Our narrator gets his friend Fortunato drunk on Amontillado, a rare wine, then proceeds to wall him up–alive!–in his ancient house. I’m not in the least claustrophobic, but whenever I think of poor Fortunato dying, alone and desperate, in his dank, dark, sealed-up prison, I feel a little short of breath. A little palpitate-y. And it’s always driven me a bit mad that we never find out exactly what Fortunato did to his frenemy Montresor that motivated Montresor to get his revenge in this dreadful way. We’ll never know. But not to worry… I gave the characters in my tribute story some specific motivations, so you won’t have to spend a lot of years wondering.

Sherry: A strange thing happened on the way to picking a Poe story for the anthology — I stopped to read the poem “Annabel Lee” because I hadn’t read it in years. And as soon as I finished reading it the story of Anna, Belle, and Lee popped into my head. It was one of those glorious moments in writing when something really flows. But because the poem is short, I needed to write a story, too. I kept sorting through them and good heavens a lot of those stories are grim!

Then I came across the partially finished story of “The Lighthouse” which is a diary with only three entries. It in itself is a mystery. Why isn’t it finished? Or is it finished? No one really knows and I liked that. In my story I write about a relative who tries to find out what happened to her missing great-great-great grandfather using his diary entries. But she has some problems of her own.

Barb: We’ve all been transported by the rhythms, internal rhymes, and relentless story-telling of “The Raven.” But I’ve always wondered–what if the poem was moved to modern times? And what if the narrator was driven mad, not by a bird, but by the haranguing of a telemarketer? To answer these questions, I offer my updated version.

Sheila: While I had read most of Poe’s short stories years ago, I wanted to find something I wasn’t familiar with, and discovered the 1883 story “MS. Found in a Bottle.” The narrator is a sailor who encounters some rather extreme circumstances during a voyage on a cargo ship at sea. Or does he? Some early readers have asked if Poe meant this as a satire, or a parody of some contemporary sea stories—although they never quite agreed on which author Poe was poking fun at. Still, the editor who published the story called it “distinguished by a wild, vigorous and poetical imagination.” I thought it might be interesting to see what would happen if I recast the story with the sailor telling his story to a modern audience, and whether he would be believed under different conditions.

Thanks for this overview, Wickeds! Readers can find this fascinating update on Poe’s stories at:
http://www.amazon.com/Edgar-Allan-Cozy-Wicked-Stories-ebook/dp/B01AQ77TBY/

Colette McBeth: The Life I Left Behind Sunday, Jan 17 2016 

LifeBehind
If you enjoy the novels of S J Watson and Rosamund Lupton you’ll be crazy for Colette McBeth’s accomplished second suspense novel, The Life I Left Behind.

Strong female perspectives tell the story: Melody Pieterson, whose close escape with death six years ago still haunts her and has changed her daily life, despite her former close friend, David Alden, being caught and serving time for her attack. Engaged to be married to Sam, he’s built a house for her that’s safe and secure and even installed a fence around its perimeter when her David is released from jail. Yet she can’t escape the feeling she’s being followed at times, while questioning the life she’s leading, closed off from everyone.

Eve Elliot, a determined investigative reporter and friend of David’s sister, is the most poignant of the voices, and speaks to the reader after her death, recounting her agreement to take on the job of trying to clear David. Despite him already having served his sentence, David maintains his innocence and wants his reputation cleared. Once Eve agrees to take on his case, her usual thorough job of dissecting the evidence against him finds discrepancies the original police investigation missed. Just as she’s ready to bring her findings to the police, Eve is murdered in exactly the same way Melody was attacked and left for dead, and David is arrested for her murder.

DI Victoria Rutter is assigned the case of Eve’s death. Her mentor cleared Melody’s attack in record time. Facing retirement in a matter of weeks, he urges her to bring charges against David, and she feels she’s betraying her mentor for not accepting his blithe acceptance that David Alden would attack a woman in exactly the same manner he was jailed for last time, just a few weeks after being let out of prison. Her conscience makes her investigate Eve’s death more fully.

And then a friend of Eve’s turns in the files she’d been working on after giving a copy to Melody, and things change dramatically. Secrets will be revealed and the tension mounts as Melody and Di Rutter both go through the files and come to the same conclusion: David is probably innocent of both incidents. But that means a murderer is still out there, and Melody is jeopardy once again.

Readers will find themselves unable to put this one down. Auntie M was close to finishing it and stopped reading on on purpose to make dinner. She wanted to stop the dramatic flow of action so that she could fully absorb the ending she knew was mounting. This is writing that gets deeply into the heart of human emotions and examines the faces we wear for others, the ones they expect, and the ones we think they expect. Highly recommended and a writer to watch for down the road.

David McCallum: Once A Crooked Man Tuesday, Jan 12 2016 

OnceCrooked

Actor David McCallum, yes thatMcCallum, of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and now Ducky on NCIS, debuts a crime and espionage caper with just enough wry humor to let you know he had a ball writing it.

New York actor Harry Murphy could never imagine the consequences peeing in an alley against a building could bring. When he overhears the Bruschetti brothers plan their retirement, which includes the murder of their British connection, his conscience won’t allow him to forget what he’s overheard.

In true comedy of errors fashion, Harry decides to fly to England to warn the unlucky victim, but he’s mistaken for one of the mobsters’ associates and finds himself with a load of cash, fleeing from the bad guys. British authorities save him, but in order to clear himself, he’s soon on his way back to the US with the cleverly hidden cash and a comely British undercover agent accompanying him to flush out the brothers and put an end to their activities.

But that’s the crux: the brothers have decided to retire and go straight. Well, at least as straight as they possibly can. There will be shootouts, high speed chases, a probable drowning . . . and Harry really hoping he gets the voiceover for a mayonnaise commercial.

There’s plenty of action, along with the sly humor and impossible get-out-of-trouble adventures that remind readers of a bumbling James Bond.

With a surprising depth to the characters motivations, this is a clever and fun debut. Auntie M hopes McCallum will continue Harry’s adventures now that he’s had a taste for the wild life and plumbed his own plucky resolve.

Favorite Reads of 2015 Tuesday, Jan 5 2016 

London Rain
My Favorite Reads of 2015

Last year Auntie M reviewed around 145 books in 85 posts plus hosting guests. Those don’t include the books she reads for herself, like the one her grand-daughter loved and insisted she read (Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See—she loved it, too!); or for sheer delight, like the Judi Dench photo-autobiography Behind the Scenes (huge Dench fan).

Out of all of those books, there are always those that remain firmly in her mind as ones where she’s looking forward to more from these authors. They impress her for their creativity, their characters, their storytelling. In no particular order, she went through her posts and pulled out these highlights, most of which received her “highly recommended” citation. There could have been even more . . .

Series continuations:
London Rain by Nicola Upson: Her Josephine Tey series continues with a strong entry, set in 1927 London at the time the BBC ruled the radio and broadcasting. Well-researched and written, with absorbing characters and a few twists you won’t see coming, set against the backdrop of the Coronation of George VI. An accomplished series.

The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths and This Thing of Darkness by Harry Bingham: One of the most unusual and compelling characters to head a series, Griffiths remains a feisty detective in search of her past and herself whilst she figures out how to be human. The second was not formally reviewed so let Auntie M add here that Fiona’s story continues with a punch that proves Bingham deserves to be more widely known in the US.

The Kill and After the Fire by Jane Casey: The Maeve Kerrigan series just keeps getting stronger with each installment. With irascible DI Josh Derwent as her partner, the duo are working together like a well-oiled machine, despite the occasional dig. Could grudging respect be far behind?

Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes: DCI Lou Smith heads a team investigating when a young woman missing for a decade suddenly reappears. Haynes uses primary policing source materials reproduced for the reader: police reports, interviews, analyst research, even phone messages, which add a depth and texture to the books.

The Ghost Fields and The Zig-Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths: The next Ruth Galloway installment is a grand mix of the kind of ancient mystery only working mum Ruth could solve, coupled with tremors in her personal life. A satisfying series with original characters. Griffiths also debuted a second period series, and Brighton of the 1950’s comes to life with two unlikely friends, a detective and his magician friend, who need to stop a killer.

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny: Inspt. Gamache and his lovely wife try to settle down to retirement in Three Pines, until a young boy prone to telling tall tales turns out to be telling the truth. All the eccentric regulars appear to help solve the mystery, a bit different from Penny’s usual but just as engaging, a mix of bittersweet and heartwarming.

Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George: After taking time to introduce the family who feature largely in the case to follow, Lynley manages to have Havers and Nkata assigned to investigate a poisoning case. A piece of bacon figures here. Just read it. The plot is as complex as the players involved, and will leave readers thinking about what constitutes justice.

The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons: A slaughtered family and a missing child prove a tough case for DI Max Wolfe, juggling his young daughter and personable dog, Stan. The weapon used fits the MO of an earlier murder years ago, and that man is now out of jail. Could this be history repeating itself?

The Secret Place by Tana French: With a few characters you’ll recognize if you’ve read her others, and you should, detectives investigate the murder of a young man at a private school. You hardly realize until it’s over that the action takes place all in one day—she’s that good.

Deadly Measures by Jo Bannister: Policewoman Hazel Best and her friend, Gabriel Ash, face their most dangerous and upsetting period together when arms pirates who have kidnapped Ash’s family agree to return them—if he’ll kill himself online for all to see. And yes, Patience, the dog who talks to Ash, is along for the ride.

A Song for Drowned Souls by Bernard Minier: Minier’s second French crime novel finds Commandant Servaz trying to prove his former lover’s son is not a murderer while he protects his own daughter. A rich tale of history and emotion mixed up in murder and secrets from the past.

The Storm Murders by John Farrow: Newly-retired detective Emile Cinq-Mars is known as the Poirot of Canada and can’t get used to not working. Then murders inside a snowed-in house in his neighborhood catch his eye—there are no footsteps in the snow. And he’s asked to intervene and finds himself in New Orleans and his own wife kidnapped.

Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes: The psychologist with interesting friends and family returns, working short-term at a hospital for the criminally insane. A taut plot, a compelling story and a protagonist you can’t help but admire in Alice Quentin who should have it all and keeps getting very close.

Run You Down by Julia Dahl: Journalist Rebekah Roberts finds herself investigating the possible murder of a young ultra-Orthodox woman whose contacts might just put Rebekah in touch with the mother she’s not sure she wants to find. Dahl’s first, Invisible City, won multiple awards this year, with good reason. An equally impressive follow-up.

Debuts:
The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan: An undeniably strong debut, backed with meticulous and absorbing research, this Toronto mystery introduces a Muslim detective working with his Canadian female partner to unravel if a dead man fell, committed suicide, or was pushed off a cliff. A series to watch for, with a sequel out soon that’s every bit as good as the first, and will be reviewed shortly.

Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew: The South African Klein Karoo landscape, nature, food, language and habits of the area come alive through the eyes of Tannie (Auntie) Maria, a widow who happens to be a brillant cook. Mevrou van Harten knows that her food works magic in people’s hearts, not just their stomachs, and uses her knowledge to help solve the murder of an abused woman. Recipes included.

Crucifixion Creek by Barry Maitland: Anyone who reads Maitland’s English Brock and Kolla series know he’s far from a debut novelist, but this marks the debut of a new series set in Australia, Maitland’s home. He introduces detective Harry Belltree, suddenly overwhelmed with three homicides to investigate: a woman shot during a meth-addict biker siege; an elderly couple who commit apparent suicide at their favorite outdoor cafe’; and a white male stabbed to death in the street, who turns out to be his brother-in-law. A strong start to a new and absorbing series.

Five by Ursula Archer: The Austrian children’s lit author tries her hand at mystery and writes an absorbing police procedural with geo-caching at its heart and a realistic, harried, divorced mother of two as the detective.

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders: A wry inside look at London publishing with the protagonist an editor who fears one of her favorite authors has been murdered and becomes drawn into the investigation. With humor and a hint of romance, book two arrives soon.

In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward: Accomplished debut procedural finds detectives looking into a cold-case murder of a young girl when her mother suddenly commits suicide over thirty years later. Absorbing and well-developed characters. First in a series.

Disclaimer by Renee Knight: A most unusual premise explores a family torn apart when a woman’s hidden secret appears suddenly as the plot of a book in her own home. Original and creative.

Stand-Alones:
Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne: Ballantyne masterfully connects two threads: a young girl’s kidnapping, and a grown woman traumatized in a car accident, to show how secrets buried in the past have come full circle. Creative and compelling.

Sheer Delight:
The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency by Mandy Morton: Of all the humorous novels Auntie M read, this one stands out for its sheer ingenuity and creative premise: a world of cats, peopled and run by cats, who sometimes resemble humans we might recognize. PI Hettie Bagshot and her sidekick Tilly, their team of friends and their world are filled with Morton’s wry humor. Sales help find homes for less fortunate cats. CCat Amongst the Pumpkins coming soon.

JoHanna Massey

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