Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Cat, The Professor and the Poison-Leann Sweeney

The Cat, The Professor and the Poison
Leann Sweeney
Obsidian, May 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451229809

In Mercy, South Carolina, the Widow Jillian and her friend Police Deputy Candace Carson stay up all night feeding two baby kittens. However, instead of going to sleep, the pair then travels to Robin’s farm to see about a missing milk cow. When they arrive at the farm, they find someone took the cow, but returned it. That night they conduct surveillance of the barn and catch Professor Van Kliet who needs the milk; no arrests are made.

The next day a woman calls the shelter explaining cats are flooding her land. Jillian arrives to find a calico kitten; she follows the feline to a rundown house where several unhealthy looking cats are kept in a small cage. She sees the professor feeding the cats and taking notes. She calls Candace to come out and look. An hour later, Candace arrives at the scene, but Van Kliet is dead and his notes and computer gone. Jillian assists Candace as she investigates the homicide, but a house invasion by a disguised person frightens Jillian. Still the brave civilian asks Rufus the exterminator about the poison the person who killed the professor used and he reacts nervously and runs away. He later is found dead by a killer willing to murder to cover wrong doing.

Besides the two homicides, Jillian tries to forge a relationship with her stepdaughter Kara the step-daughter who never accepted her in her life. They never bonded when the man they both loved lived, but begin to connect a bit as Karen helps on the investigation. Although using a civilian, even one who has solved homicides before (see The Cat, The Quilt and the Corpse) on a murder inquiry seems a stretch, readers will enjoy Leann Sweeney’s fine whodunit as the cats may have nine lives, but the humans have only one.

Harriet Klausner

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