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by Judith Cutler
Allison and Busby, August 2005
288 pages
ISBN: 074908328X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Josie Welford is trying to keep her local pub afloat. Her husband Tony was a gangster. They were married for 30 years and her husband was in jail for 25 of those. The man who put Tony in prison is now on Josie's doorstep, but he is no longer with the police. His name is Nick Thomas and his new job is an inspector with the Food Standards Agency.

Josie wonders if the meat she serves at her pub is healthy. After talking with Nick and knowing that her current supplier cannot provide paperwork, she looks for a new vendor. This is not well received by her current supplier.

A dead cat does not sound like such a major thing at first but when both Nick Thomas and Sue Clayton, the pastor, involve themselves in the burial, there is an air of secrecy reeking from the action.

Josie walks every day. She originally wants to lose weight and now would miss this exercise if she could not go. Every afternoon, Josie shuts down her pub and enjoys this part of her life. References to her attendance at the Weight Watchers organization is a wise vehicle utilized by the author and one that I personally enjoy. As Josie walks, she sees things that are suspect.

Never quite accepted by the townspeople, she wrangles with the local veterinarian, Fred, when he is disrespectful to one of her help. He disappears and Josie is questioned by the local police.

Nasty weather brings more than the rain. Nick needs to the stay at Josie's place since he is flooded from his dwelling. Something is going on that is not right. First, there is the secrecy of the dead cat, plus there are too many incidents that happen to Nick to be a coincidence. The circumstances that bring Nick and Josie together make them cohorts instead of adversaries. Good thing, too, because the townspeople avoid Josie or give her the silent treatment. An unwelcome gift to Josie will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention.

I like the character of Robin, Josie's cook. He is alert, bright and ready to work at first glance. Even though he is a secondary character with limited exposure, he is a bright spot for me.

This story is well-written, although I encountered some unfamiliar British terms and words. This slowed me down a bit but did not detract from the story overall.

Reviewed by Rita Ratacheck, June 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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