Huh…apparently this is the 3rd book in this series. I thought it was the 2nd the whole time I was reading it. I didn’t pick this book for myself which is why I wasn’t sure of it’s placement in the series–before going on vacation I asked my dad to raid my mom’s overflowing collection of Cozy Mystery books that she’ll never read (she’s a compulsive shopper) and this was one he gave me (or maybe my mom gave me because apparently after he’d grabbed 4 or 5 books, she continued to fill the bag).
Anyway, this being in the middle of the series was very evident, kind of to the character’s detriment. Or at least the relationship between Minnie and Tucker. I wanted to like him because I’m usually all for the established couple, but these two are all like, “Speed” as referenced in “Speed 2” (you know, the kind of lame Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock movies): relationships forged after a very intense situation never pan out. I guess they were a relationship forged after an intense situation, because I don’t see them as a couple at all, but that is never explained in this book. I like a good romance (emphasis on the good!) and I barely give them a meh–I don’t like drawing out a relationship that is obviously not going to last (sorry for anyone who loves this couple!).
Anyway, I like the premise. Eddie is cute (the cat)…I’m just not very impressed that this book is I guess playing off other novels (which I haven’t read yet) where the animals solve the crime then try to convince their people of who did it. This one hints and hints, but to take a suggestion from tvtropes.org, there’s way too much “telling” and not enough “showing”–I buy it because I’m told to buy it, not because there’s any indication of Eddie doing something beyond the realm of a cat. I guess the best way to explain it is that I’d never say “oh my god you wouldn’t believe what this cat just did!” You see, one of our cats ninja jump-flips off the wall in the hallway (a good 3.5 to 4 ft up the wall), so I’m not impressed by a cat who senses a few obvious signs of trouble (i.e. blood from a recently shot person who he liked or said person’s hat)–it’s fully in the realm of cat (or dog) to sense these things.
Anyway, the mystery was good–I was surprised by the killer’s identity and the reasoning all worked. There weren’t any stupid “let me get myself into trouble even though I know I shouldn’t” moments, which is a huge plus. All in all this was a nice light read, but not one I’m desperate to get the next one in the series, and I’m not going to hunt down books 1 and 2.
I will offer one complaint about the cover on the version I have (same as above)–it’s quite inaccurate, which annoys me. If their bookmobile was organized like a food truck, that’d be one thing, but it’s obviously described as being essentially a converted tour bus. Still, artistic license and all that jazz–I won’t fret over the artwork as much as I do inaccuracies within the novel itself.