Cat on the Scent - Rita Mae Brown, Sneaky Pie Brown

See, always trust Grandma. I should know this by now.

 

I am very close to my paternal Grandmother, she's always been my rock and my sunshine -she's laughed and cried with me through my whole life. We exchange books regularly. I will admit that she sends more my way than I send her - often times when I find something I want to share, she's already read it. That happens when you're 84 and a lifelong reader. When I visit there's always a tote bag by the door with books that she's selected for me to try. One such bag had two Sneaky Pie Brown paperbacks - perfectly worn in with the spine creased just right for supple handling. Honestly, I don't think there are many things that illustrate my relationship with my Grandma more perfectly than an old, comfortable paperback. Anyway, once I inspected the blurb on these I immediately thought that a cozy mystery from the point of view of a cat sounded a bit too cheesy. I have since left them to the stacks.

 

When Halloween bingo was announced and the art for the Cozy Mystery square was a graceful feline, I felt it was my sign to rescue Sneaky Pie from the crushing weight of the mountain.

 

My experience was pretty uncomplicated - it's no feat of great literature but it was a deliciously easy read for a relaxing Labor Day.

 

Cat on the Scent is the seventh book in the series and I don't think a whole lot was lost by not reading them in order. The story is told in third person so you never really had to wade through long bits of cat inner-monologueing, thank goodness (we know cats could probably out-monologue Shakespeare).  It's decidedly not cheesy and has an edge for a Southern set cozy. It's not all sweet tea and honey darlings this and that, it's small town Virginia politics and old Southern bloodlines. I think that's why it works. We're not lost in the cuteness of talking animals, and in many ways, the animals are in a better position to solve the mystery. They are wiser and less emotional and inquisitive. I think my Grandma threw these in the tote because she knew I'd appreciate the questions about human nature and what silly creatures we are sometimes especially from the point of view of a cat. (Maybe I should note here that the animals only talk to each other- there's not supernatural element that allow the humans to talk to the animals, or anything of the like)

 

I feel like the motivations are a little less typical of a cozy with some honest to goodness darkness to its villains. It worked with the more serious nature of the animals and their pragmatic owner, Harry. I thought I had the who-dun-it solved, only to be half right in the end.

And if you like your ending tied up with grand justice served, you'll be disappointed.

(show spoiler)

All in all, I'll be reading the additional paperback from the series that I have lying around and perhaps will start from the beginning at some point too.