Drawing on her own singer-songwriter folk rock days from the 70s, Mandy Morton brings an authentic feel to her 6th No. 2 Feline Detective Agency series with Magical Mystery Paws.

This time her pair of sleuths are between cases when Hettie Bagshot, whose own folk rock career bears more than a passing resemblence to Morton’s, and her sidekick, Tilly Jenkins, enlist their friend Bruiser when they become convinced to travel the “Summer of Fluff” tour bus to aid the comeback of blind punk rock cat, Patty Sniff, on her new tour.

Crammed together on Psycho Derek’s bus along with Patty are her backups, the Cheese Triangles, Kitty O’Shea’s Irish dance troupe with their wheelchair-bound Russian choreographer, and very bad magician Derek and assistant Belisha Beacon.

It’s a real hodgepodge of chararacters who take off in the psychedelic bus, if the wheezing crate makes it to the first stop.
When the drummer is found dead after the first performance, Hettie and Tilley must solve the murder as well as assist on the tour.

And what a tour it is, from mini-skirts and guitars, lighting and sound, to the sweet smell of memories for Hettie, as well as from something most of the cats are smoking. The puns galore add a light touch, from the mysteries of Agatha Crispy Tilly loves to the Tabby Road Recording Studios. There’s M. Balm, the town’s undertaker, and a jab to Morton’s partner, Nicolette Upstart, the famous writer. Auntie M may have to ask Morton about that sobriquet!

But don’t let the puns and mild humor distract you from what is a really well done mystery. If you look beyond the anthropomorphic business, all of the vagaries of humans are there, as well as telling details about human nature and emotions like jealousy and greed.

Morton’s extensive knowledge of cats lets her incorporates their mannerisms, likes and dislikes into these crime-solving realistic cat detectives. Readers will be entranced with this humanless world of cats Morton has designed.

Jolly good fun wrapped up in a darn good mystery.

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