My turn today to review this wonderful book.
BLURB: A quiet life for Aubrey?
After spending several months banged up in Sunny Banks rescue centre, Aubrey, a large tabby cat, has finally found his forever home with Molly and Jeremy Goodman, and life is looking good.
However, all that changes when a serial killer begins to target elderly victims in the neighbourhood.
Aubrey wasn’t particularly upset by the death of some of the previous victims, including Miss Jenkins whom Aubrey recalls as a vinegar-lipped bitch of an old woman who enjoyed throwing stones at cats, but Mr Telling was different.
Mr Telling was a mate…
This is definitely a cosy with a difference. Actually, several differences. Not only do we have an unassuming feline sleuth, instead of the usual redoubtable female human, but this is a cosy with a definite hard edge to it. Through Aubrey and his investigations, with assistance from cats and humans alike, we are brought fact to face with some pretty tough social issues, such as poverty, discrimination, murder, naturally given the genre, illegal immigration and bullying. However, the author doesn’t get bogged down in them, merely brings them to our attention in a succinct and telling way as part of the story. Aubrey himself is a rescue cat and as such is himself a comment on people’s tendency to see animals as throwaway items. But at last it seems like he has found his forever home with Jeremy and Molly.
Mr Telling was his back-up plan, however, should things ever go pear-shaped with the Goodmans. Aubrey is nothing if not a realist who has no illusions about how cruel life can be. But he remains upbeat and wryly humorous, and always take the pragmatic view of things. Thus his decision to keep a possible home in reserve should the Goodmans change their minds about him. So when Mr Telling is the next in a series of murders, it’s time for him to stick his whiskered nose in with his characteristic cattitude. He’s quite a force to be reckoned with when he gets going. We just have to hope that curiosity won’t kill this cat!
The author has a lively, witty style that’s hugely entertaining. It’s an ambitious book, since writing for adults from the point of view of an animal isn’t an easy thing to do. Such a project could easily become twee or childish, but not here. Absolutely not. At times you almost forget Aubrey’s a cat as he’s portrayed with such conviction and detail. He quickly becomes our friend and we’re with him all the way as he attempts to get the bottom of this murderous skulduggery. His feline colleagues are a varied and fascinating bunch, all distinctly different with foibles, good and bad. We discover that there’s a lot more to life as a cat than me might imagine.
The human characters are superbly portrayed too, from the gentle Goodmans to the brash Maria. There are some interesting and, I suspect, heartfelt insights into the world of teaching which seems quite the quagmire at times!
I really enjoyed this original, clever story with its challenging depth and broad outlook. An excellent read and one I highly recommend.
- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
- Language: English
About the author: Alison was born in London and spent her teenage years in Hertfordshire.
She has also lived in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
After studying Law she decided to teach rather than go into practice and for many years taught Criminal Law to adults and young people.
Since moving to the south coast, Alison has been involved in qualification and assessment development for major awarding bodies.
When not writing, she enjoys crosswords, walking by the sea and playing Scrabble on her iPad – which she always sets to beginner level because, hey, why take chances?
Alison lives with her husband John and cat Archie.