The Whole Cat and Caboodle is the first book in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series by Sophie Ryan.
Quick Review (read on for full review)
This book is a great first book in a cosy mystery series. The characters were well-developed, the setting evocatively described and the plot engaging and entertaining. I absolutely loved this book and can imagine returning to read it again and again and again. 5 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
Sarah Grayson is the happy proprietor of Second Chance, a charming shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. At the shop, she sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. But her favorite pet project so far has been adopting a stray cat she names Elvis.
Elvis has seen nine lives—and then some. The big black cat with a scar across his nose turned up at a local bar when the band was playing the King of Rock and Roll’s music and hopped in Sarah’s truck. Since then, he’s been her constant companion and the furry favorite of everyone who comes into the store.
But when Sarah’s elderly friend Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, the kindly old lady becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Even Sarah’s old high school flame, investigator Nick Elliot, seems convinced that Maddie was up to no good. So it’s up to Sarah and Elvis to clear her friend’s name and make sure the real murderer doesn’t get a second chance.
Like my grandmother, Charlotte thought tea fixed everything from a broken bracelet clasp to a broken heart.
(From The Whole Cat and Caboodle by Sophie Ryan, page 52)
I absolutely loved this book and can imagine returning to read it again and again and again.
This book is a great first book in a cosy mystery series. The characters were well-developed, the setting evocatively described and the plot engaging and entertaining.
Elvis the Cat is fantastic and an interesting addition to the cast of characters. Animal characters can be really hard to write without making the story sound childish, but the author does a wonderful job here.
I also liked Sarah Grayson. She worked well as a main character. She is focused, determined, intelligent and strong, but she is also a little vulnerable meaning she is easy to connect with. She is surrounded by a wonderful selection of friends, some being her own friends from when she was younger, others being more like family.
I loved the setting, and if I wasn’t on the other side of the world, Maine is definitely a place I would like to visit, especially in the autumn. North Harbor sounded like a wonderfully touristy little town, and I would certainly have been happy to spend hours looking around Second Chance.
There is plenty of humour in the writing, making these mysteries a light, easy and enjoyable read. It was a gentle read, that pulls you into story, and I found it held my attention from beginning to end.
The only (very small) negative I had with the story was it felt a tiny bit repetitive in places. This was down to the cast of characters being so extensive and any time a development in the case was made, it had to be relayed to the characters that weren’t there. That’s not to say that great swathes of the book were repeated time and again, they weren’t, but rather the niggle came from variations of “so-and-so needed filling in / catching up”, etc.
The next book in the series is Buy A Whisker, and I’ve already bought it. I can’t wait to read it!