Lending a Paw (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #1)
by Laurie Cass
My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
With the help of her rescue cat, Eddie, librarian Minnie Hamilton is driving a bookmobile based in the resort town of Chilson, Michigan. But she’d better keep both hands on the wheel, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride…
Eddie followed Minnie home one day, and now she can’t seem to shake the furry little shadow. But in spite of her efforts to contain her new pal, the tabby sneaks out and trails her all the way to the bookmobile on its maiden voyage. Before she knows it, her slinky stowaway becomes her cat co-pilot!
Minnie and Eddie’s first day visiting readers around the county seems to pass without trouble—until Eddie darts outside at the last stop and leads her to the body of a local man who’s reached his final chapter.
Initially, Minnie is ready to let the police handle this case, but Eddie seems to smell a rat. Together, they’ll work to find the killer—because a good librarian always knows when justice is overdue.
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
This is one of those rare books where the writing style was good, but for some reason the book didn’t fully work for me. I might still pick up book 2 as sometimes with cozies the series gets better as it progresses, but I am not sure yet. It has a fun concept with a bookmobile and a cat named Eddie and the main character is a librarian. The mystery didn’t fully work for me though and the book didn’t fully grab me story wise, but it still was a pleasant read due to the writing style. The start was a bit slow as there was a bit of backstory the author all delivered early on, but after that the pacing got better.
Shortly after I started this book I realized I had the wrong idea about how the main character ran a bookmobile, she actually only part time runs the book mobile as part of her library work. I like reading about librarian, but I feel like I got in the book with wrong expectations as I thought there would be more book mobile. The book mobile is important for the story, it just isn’t the main setting of the whole book as I had expected. She doesn’t really investigate while being on the book mobile or talks with customers about the mystery.
Then there’s the mystery. While the murder happens early on the mystery was quite slowly paced. there is definitely progression and the main character gets involved and in a way that makes sense, but it was quite limited in my opinion. She mostly asks around a bit and gives the info she finds to the police, which was quite smart, until she decides they’re not doing their job and she goes to investigate this big clue herself. I kinda liked how she handled most of the questioning up till that point. Although I would’ve liked a bit more sleuthing. The police seemed quite incompetent for most of the book although by the end they seemed more competent than they seemed and I guess they just acted like they didn’t take her serious? It was weird.
I struggled deciding on a good suspect as it felt like we had too little information most of the time. I did settle on a suspect mostly because the character was unlikable. There was quite the twist later on and while on the one hand it was smart on the other hand that was still only a minor hint in that direction. The actual killer and motive reveal fell flat for me as the motive didn’t quite make sense to me. It just didn’t seem enough to murder someone for.
The main character was likable with a touch of quirkiness. I mostly liked her. She worked as a librarian and lived on a house boat, which was a fun touch. I liked how she wanted justice for Stan and wanted to help out her friend who was a suspect. I liked how she took her work seriously, but she did seem a bit of a workaholic at times and didn’t take as good care of herself sometimes. I liked how she still had her own values, but other times she just went along with what her boss wanted. I liked how she interacted with the other characters.
Her cat Eddie was quite the character, although I wasn’t a fan of how sometimes the cat got used as a plot device or maybe the cat is just really smart and sentient, who knows. It basically can go either way, but it sometimes felt a bit obvious how the cat’s behavior was a clue whether she was on the right track or not. Besides that I did like him and his behavior did feel quite cat like.
To summarize: This book didn’t quite pull me in as much as I would’ve liked, but the setting, characters and writing style were well done. The mystery didn’t quite work for me. I liked how the main character handled most of the questioning, I would’ve liked a bit more investigating at times. And at the end she goes after a big clue by herself which I didn’t care for. I also thought the reveal of who was the murderer and the motive didn’t quite make sense, it didn’t seem a good enough motive to kill someone. I liked the main character, she was a bit quirky and it was fun reading about the library and her house boat. Her cat Eddie was fun too, although he sometimes got used as a plot device or maybe he is just a very smart and sentient cat, who knows. All in all I had fun reading this book, but it didn’t quite grip me as much as I had hoped.
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