I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse by Leann Sweeney
Published by NAL on May 5, 2009
Source: the library
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First in the Cats in Trouble cozy mystery series and revolving around Jillian Hart who lives in Mercy, South Carolina, on Mercy Lake.
I gotta confess that the start of The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse almost had me quitting. It was pretty lame. But, I was in the mood for a cozy and so not in the mood to go hunting for a different read, so I kept on. I’m glad I did as the writing did get better. Not great, but definitely better.
The beginning is an introduction to a cat-obsessed Jillian. We know how passionate (and clueless) she is about her cats experiencing the break-in as Sweeney uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Jillian’s perspective. She is a good person. She wants to help in most anything. At the start we learn that she donates quilts for the children of military men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and later she’s helping some of the locals. Her quilting experience does come in pretty handy for piecing together some clues. As for her cat cam, all I can say is I want one! Sweeney makes good use of Jillian “spying” on her clowder to bring in comic relief.
It’s rather amazing how unsympathetic the police department is. They’re pretty hidebound too. The cop characters are each distinct. Candace is gung-ho about forensics but her partner is quite disparaging. Her police chief isn’t a whole lot better. As for Lydia…dang, they should arrest her for existing.
Mercy? Well, it’s a small town which means everyone knows everyone else’s business, for good and for bad. And some of the people I like are Belle and Karen and Ed. Belle’s got some sense of humor and sounds easygoing as well as smart. That Ed…he’s got a screw loose when it comes to stuff, but I can’t fault him for his thoughts.
“Trash can be treasure. We’re a nation of wasters. Throw everything out before it’s served its purpose. And that purpose isn’t always what a thing mighta been made for in the first place.”
Then there’s that bit about not having any idea what could be salvaged from an object, but hunting for it is part of the fun of it.
Tom now. I like that boy, and he sure is forgiving, even if he does jump the gun a bit.
The story isn’t a whole lotta action but there are a whole lotta thoughts from Jillian. There’s a reasonable pace to The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse, although Jillian goes on and on a bit about how important the cats are and that they play a part in the murder. I do agree with her, but oy…she does go on and on.
Jill’s quiet life is shattered when her house is broken into and her Abyssinian, Syrah, goes missing. Jill’s convinced her kitty’s been catnapped. But when her cat-crime-solving leads her to a murdered body, suddenly all paws are pointing to Jill.
Soon, Jill discovers that Syrah isn’t the only purebred who’s been stolen. Now she has to find these furry felines before they all become the prey of a cold-blooded killer — and she ends up nabbed for a crime…
Jillian Hart is a widow subsuming her grief by making cat quilts. Her three rescued cats keep her company: Syrah is an Abyssinian and the alpha, Chablis has allergies, and Merlot is a Maine Coon. Hmmm, I’m getting this urge for a glass of wine… Her beloved husband, John, died ten months ago. She’ll temporarily adopt “Dove“. “Boy” is hanging with Candace, for the now.
Deputies Candace Carson and Morris Ebeling respond to Jillian’s call. Mike Baca is the police chief who needs to work on his tact. Barbara Lynne is the unsympathetic dispatcher. Lydia Monk is the deputy coroner with a HUGE chip on her shoulder. Beecham is the coroner but doesn’t like to get out much.
Tom Stewart, a retired cop, is the local security expert — who’s sweet on Jillian. Dashiell is his cat. Karen is Tom’s mother and a former alcoholic. She’s a great cook and dating Ed Duffy. a hoarder who comes in right handy selling his “collectibles” through Ed’s Swap Shop.
Billy Cranor is a volunteer fireman and works at the hardware store. Dr Jensen is a veterinarian; Agnes is his receptionist. Martha works at the Cotton Company, the local quilt shop. David is a sacker at the Piggly Wiggly. David has a Grandpa Nagel with a mean cat. Dan Meade is an EMT. Lewis Rainer does love his lights at Christmas. Belle Lowry owns Belle’s Beans where they make really good coffee. And all her baristas are named “Belle”, including Shondra. Java had been Belle’s kitty. Frank Donnelly accidentally shot himself. Marian Mae Temple appears quite classy; she lost her cat, Diamond. The Mercy Messenger is the local weekly paper. Helen Harper passed two weeks ago. Flake Wilkerson is the local hermit who lives in the Pink House. Daphne Wilkerson is a scary woman and Flake’s daughter.
Mercy Animal Sanctuary is…
…almost spa-like for the animals. It’s run by Allison and the hot-tempered Shawn Cuddahee. He’s also a great furniture maker. Snug is an African grey parrot at the shelter.
Dale Bartlett lost his Tonkinese, Beatrice. Chase Cook, a graphics designer, lost his tuxedo, Roscoe. Toby is Chase’s partner and a contractor. B Smith bought six cat quilts. Cole Green is retired and trying to find a new Banjo. Alfreda is Mr Green’s caregiver. Barney Smith had a possible replacement for Mr Green. Match-a-Cat helps find replacement cats for people.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a dark feeling despite the pale green of the grass and the paled pinks of the Victorian at the end of a twisty path. In the foreground is an old iron lamp post with a “missing cat” poster and a cat arching its back at the base…its shadow is rather scary looking. On the bottom right are legs with slippers on lying horizontally. The far background is hilly looking with its crowns of pink leaves and stick branches. The upper (and shorter) half is a blue sky that gradates to black, forming an excellent background for the title and epigraph, which are in white. The uppermost sixth is a royal blue banner surrounded in sky blue that gets narrower as it flows right, making an excellent background for the author’s name and an info blurb. A black cat is the badge for the series info in a pale pink.
The title includes The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse which incorporates the major elements of this cozy mystery.