Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly

Kathleen Paulson accepted a job at the Mayville Heights, Minnesota Public Library as the Head Librarian, which means overseeing a much-needed renovation to bring the library into the twenty-first century. A new computer and technology lab as well as an overhaul of the building itself. But the building is having problems that no one could have forseen, including technology issues, and a contractor who leaves dangerous messes in the middle of the Library and seems curiously unwilling to do anything about the situation.

But at home, life has improved for her with the addition of two cats, tabby cat Owen, whose favorite pastime seems to be ripping the heads off catnip-stuffed chicken toys, and Hercules, a tuxedo cat who is in love with the voice of Barry Manilow, just like she is. In fact, it's not sure if she adopted them or they adopted her. They just showed up at her door and she took them in, but was it her idea to save them, or did they peg her as a soft touch at the beginning? She certainly doesn't seem to be able to keep them in, or out, of anywhere they really want to go, not at home, and not at the library, either.

But even as Kathleen is dealing with the mess at the library- thankfully, Everett, the man who hired her, believes in her, she is upset to find herself nearly killed several times by such problems as a wall outlet that overloads and throws her across the room, and a huge roll of falling vapor barrier plastic. But are these problems she and the library are experiencing merely accidents, or is someone actively trying to do away with her? And if so, who would it be?

Meanwhile, Mayville is hosting its annual Wild Rose Summer Music Festival, with the famous composer Gregor Easton is coming to the Festival. But Easton is a nasty, arrogant, pushy man, and when he tries to use one of the computers at the Library, the next morning, he's found dead in the room. But the question is, did he fall victim to one of the new Library building's little "accidents", or did someone take a sudden dislike to him and want him dead? As Kathleen struggles with someone who seems to have it in for her, she tries to figure out who killed Gregor Easton, and deal with her library problems so that everything can go smoothly at the new Grand Opening. And only her new cats can help her find all the clues and keep her safe from the danger she is in every day...

This book seems like it's not quite the first in the series, but actually, it is. And the reason why it seems not is that the book begins with Kathleen already in Minnesota and Mayville, and already in possession of the librarian job, even though the book seems to imply that this is her first adventure- and it is. But the blurb on the back made me assume several things about the book that weren't borne out by the story.

The blurb also makes it seem like the two cats have easily discernable magical powers, but their powers seem to be limited to getting out of the house and into whereever they like- a power shared by many cats, actually. These two just seem a bit more intelligent and focused than most. But the book makes out that these are cats with Faerie powers, and they are either just playing at being normal cats, or they are cats with an almost human understanding- but they are limited to the ability to communicate of mere cats. And while they save Kathleen's life more than once, she never really twigs to what they are supposed to be, even as Sofie Kelly plays to the reader with comments from other characters that the original owner of the property they came from owned similar cats 75 or so years ago... and how alike these cats seem to those cats...

I did like how the mystery resolved and the many threats that Kathleen was experiencing, and how they all came together at the end- and for that matter *why* Gregor Easton was killed and who killed him. It was definitely not who I was expecting, nor why, but the end of the book was satisfying as a mystery. It was less satisfying in the resolution to who and what the cats were, and I wasn't so enthralled with either the human or the cat characters that I want to go out and pick up any other books in the series. I was hoping that this series would end up being a series of modern-day mysteries with cats and characters I could get into and want to read more about, like the Mrs. Murphy mysteries by Rita Mae Brown, but this didn't end up being the case. The characters, both human and animal, just never quite jelled for me.

Would i recommend this book? Not really. I never felt all that connected with the characters, and the cats never came off as presented in the blurb, and in the end, I felt disappointed. YMMV, but I don't feel that this series is one I am going to pick up after this book.

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