CLAWS OF DEATH, the second book in the Cat Lady Mystery series by Linda Reilly, is a sweet, sentimental story that is also an entertaining whodunit with a mystical twist! Protagonist Lara Caphart, with her Aunt Fran, have turned their home into High Cliff Shelter for Cats in the small New Hampshire town of Whisker Jog. Lara has a “guardian”, a Ragdoll cat that only she can see, who guides her and helps match up felines with fur-ever homes. Even if you’re not a cat person, you can’t help but love the sweet scenes connecting kitties with homes, especially when children are involved. I also enjoyed the ideas Lara comes up with to involve the community with the shelter, especially having kids practice reading to the cats waiting for families! I also appreciated that Ms. Reilly starts the book with a list of feline characters living at their shelter. It’s an adorable touch.
The mystery plot is fast paced with plenty of suspects to guess about who murdered a local man and if the new resident in town, actress Deanna Daltry, is really guilty. I love mysteries that weave in long-ago stories that need unraveled in order to solve the current day crime. Ms. Reilly’s writing flows and the clues are sprinkled evenly throughout the story to keep the reader guessing and turning pages. The subplots added to the appeal of the book yet didn’t detract from the main event. The suspenseful conclusion had me turning pages faster and faster and ended on a sweet, emotional note. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for Lara and her mystical Ragdoll, Blue!
In the story, Lara meets her boyfriend’s uncle and makes a connection with the elderly man. She bakes him a Blueberry Buckle and thankfully the author includes a recipe for it at the back of the book. My family adores blueberries so I knew it would be a hit! There’s nothing better than sweet, ripe blueberries paired with a tender, moist cake. Adding some vanilla ice cream to each serving makes this the perfect summer treat!
Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, is a long way from Hollywood, but it’s the place legendary actress Deanna Daltry wants to call home. Taking up residence in a stone mansion off Cemetery Hill, the retired, yet still glamorous, septuagenarian has adopted two kittens from Lara Caphart’s High Cliff Shelter for Cats. With help from her Aunt Fran, Lara makes sure the kitties settle in safely with their new celebrity mom.
But not everyone in town is a fan of the fading star. Deanna was in Whisker Jog when she was younger, earning a reputation for pussyfooting around, and someone is using that knowledge against her. After being frightened by some nasty pranks, Deanna finds herself the prime murder suspect when the body of a local teacher is found on her property. Now, it’s up to Lara, Aunt Fran, and the blue-eyed Ragdoll mystery cat Lara recently encountered to collar a killer before another victim is pounced upon . . .
A special thanks to Linda Reilly for providing a winner with an e-book copy of CLAWS OF DEATH! Contest ends Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 11:59 pm PST. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (preferably sifted)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan.
In a bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, 3/4 cup sugar, egg, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Alternately add the milk and the flour mixture to the sugar/butter mixture.
Add blueberries, stirring only enough to blend.
Pour batter into pan.
In a small bowl, blend the white and brown sugars, flour, and cinnamon.
With a fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle evenly over the cake batter.
Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack, then serve right from pan.
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I was provided an advance copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.