Review: The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency: A Hettie Bagshot Mystery, by Mandy Morton; St. Martin’s Press Minotaur Books.

Oh my! Where to start? Like quite a few others, I’m a big fan of cat detective stories and have several favorite authors in this area including Rita Mae Brown, Lilian Jackson Braun, Carole Nelson Douglas, and Shirley Rousseau Murphy.

 

All these noted writers feature cats that have humans attached to them in some way; the principal characters do their sleuthing in a world of humans. This book is different. These are two hard-working felines residing and working in a society populated entirely by cats. It’s as though your favorite feline detective writer decided to channel Lewis Carroll (for the through-the-looking-glass qualities of its imaginative world) and Alexander McCall Smith (whose No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency surely provided the inspiration for this book’s title and central pair).

 

The furry detectives, feisty Hettie Bagshot and her loyal but arthritic assistant Tilly Jenkins, are endearing. Reduced to living in a back room and garden shed at a modest rent of two pounds a week, they are clawing for their lives. The goal of their fledgling detective agency is simply to make enough to pay the rent and buy themselves some food.

 

Their big chance comes with a call from Marcia Woolcoat, matron of the Furcross home for slightly older cats. The haughty Marcia has a problem–not so much a missing persons case as a missing bodies case. Their search for solutions takes them into the world of hut cature with some rather macabre findings. How Hettie and Tilly manage to solve this thorny problem and raise their standard of living makes for fascinating reading. The premise (and the puns) are a bit outrageous, but the book is surely laugh-out-loud funny at times.   I liked it so much I ordered another in the series, The Death of Downton Tabby (!). I’ll let you know how that goes. But this book is great fun.

 

My thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.

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