Publication Date: March 3, 2015
The dead don’t keep pets. So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff. While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind—with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will. Pru’s special sensitivity to animals, which caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires, adds further problems. The local vet is overwhelmed as the animal hospital's money runs out. There’s a needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels, too. But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl” animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent. A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale?
This was an interesting book that could be called a ‘cozy’ although I would not do so. This is the fifth book in the Pru Marlowe series. While some people could read this as a standalone, I would not suggest you do so. This was the first book I read in this series and found that because I hadn’t read the other four books, I was at a disadvantage.
The concept behind this series is an interesting one, although it has been done before. Pru is an animal behaviorist who can also ‘talk’ to animals and they talk to her. In this novel she sort of stumbles into, what on first glance, looks like an accidental death. A kitten that one of the deceased daughters got him is what causes Pru to be there in the first place. Confusion ensues, accusations are thrown back and forth and Pru is in the middle. Now Pru’s instincts are telling her it is murder.
I had several problems with this novel and the most difficult for me was the fact that the protagonist Pru is a difficult person to like or to feel empathy for. She may care for the animals but she sure doesn’t seem to give a darn for any humans and I have a feeling that this may have been explained in earlier books. (like why she is the *itch that she is). Her heavy drinking and bootie calls, leaves something to be desired also.
The writing and especially the dialogue is choppy and sometimes very difficult to follow, the clues are all there (some things are quite obvious right from the very start) but the characters choose not to ‘see’ them. While this pushes the book to the climax, it can make this a frustrating read.
I will admit to a curiosity that will have me reading at least the first book to see if some of my difficulties with this book and these characters had already been explained.
ARC supplied by publisher.