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by Cate Conte
St Martin's, July 2021
302 pages
ISBN: 1250761557

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Jillian Allen wants to meet Maddie and JJ and tour JJ's House of Purrs, Daybreak Island's first and only cat café and cat shelter. Executive director of the legendary fundraising organization, Shoreline Animal Rescue League, Jillian Allen, claims she heard about the new rescue operation from recent research. As a result, they plan to "start helping smaller places throughout the region."

As Maddie waits for her guest to arrive, she spots Mish, a volunteer, in a heated discussion with another woman out in the driveway. Mish drives off, and the woman enters and introduces herself as Jillian Allen.

After touring JJ's House of Purrs, Jillian proposes that the league host a fundraising event with a silent auction in two weeks for JJ's, hinting that she may have a celebrity guest add star power to the event. Returning the next day, Jillian brings a guest, Peyton Chandler, a well-known actress who makes headlines for her animal rescue efforts, and her rare flame point Siamese, Rhiannon. However, the photo shoot that follows surprises everyone except Jillian, who insists the pictures are necessary to build awareness of the upcoming event.

All agree to meet the next day at the proposed event site to iron out details. Unfortunately, Maddie and her sister Val arrive only to find Jillian's dead body on the patio. Police determine homicide. Then, much to the surprise of JJ's folks, Jillian's staff and Peyton insist the event must go on.

Cate Conte devises a most intricately plotted mystery full of twists, red herrings, and a completely unexpected resolution. Amateur sleuth Maddie finds herself wondering about Mish's relationship with Jillian. An undercover FBI agent on Jillian's staff pushes to keep the event on track. Peyton and her boyfriend Marco Moore, also an A-list actor, feel strongly about their commitment to the event.

Conte writes a riveting story, creates fascinating characters, and keeps readers engaged with the relentless pace. Cat Café Mysteries are additive to cozy readers especially those that appreciate feline antics.

§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton's, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, December 2014

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