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PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE CAT
by Marian Babson
St Martin's Minotaur, November 2004
192 pages
$22.95
ISBN: 0312284985


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

PLEASE DO FEED THE CAT is as much about publishing as it is about a mystery. Lorinda Lucas is one of many authors who have settled in Brimful Coffers. The village has become a virtual mystery writers' colony. The authors are in and out of each other's homes and know each other's pets as well as they know their own.

It is therefore something of a shock when Lorinda comes homes from a book tour in America to discover that her neighbor Macho Magee's cat has dropped a huge amount of weight. Initial thoughts of feline illness are laid to rest when she sets her eyes on the inappropriately-named Macho, who is also a shadow of his former self. It's easy enough for Lorinda to diagnose their problem once she meets Macho's houseguest, a harpy of a chick lit author named Cressie Adair, who has Macho firmly under her thumb.

There's plenty amiss in Brimful Coffers. No one is quite sure what hold Cressie has over Macho. Two authors who use the same historical figure as a series protagonist in their fiction have to be kept separate at social functions. There is also a question of a hit-and-run accident that has never been solved. Add to these the tensions of authors caught in the current crisis in publishing, and Brimful Coffers is bubbling away with stress and intrigue.

Some of the best portions of PLEASE DO FEED THE CAT are the supposed excerpts of new mysteries. Babson has a talent for parody and does a marvelous job skewering the latest trends in the genre. Another character takes up cooking because she realizes how popular recipes are in certain sub-genres. Others are trying to ride the crest of the next-big-thing so that their editors will continue to publish their work.

Even for readers who are not especially enamored of cozies, PLEASE DO FEED THE CAT is enjoyable. The murder is more of an afterthought, but the characters and writing are light and witty. It's part of a series, but I had no difficulty determining who was who or keeping up with previous plot points. Reading PLEASE DO FEED THE CAT is like eating a souffle -- not necessarily filling, but very enjoyable indeed.

Reviewed by Michelle L. Zafron, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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