Sunday, March 06, 2011

Cat Magic

As anyone who shares their home with a furry feline friend will tell you, sometimes cats are a little spooky. They can get through doors we thought we closed, find the catnip we thought we put away in a safe spot, and always know when we need a cuddle (sometimes before we know it ourselves.)

Then there is this mysterious business of feline teleportation. I can't tell you how many times I've lost one of my cats, ransacked the house and then searched the neighborhood looking for him, only to come home and find the missing feline sitting next to the empty food bowl and giving me that smug look, as if to say Silly human, you'll never find my secret hiding place. And to date, I haven't.

Cats are maddening, infuriating creatures who do exactly as they please, which is probably why I've always loved them. I also collect books with great cat characters in them, so I was pretty happy to start reading Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, the first book in by Sofie Kelly's new mystery series.

Owen and Hercules own a nice, funny human named Kathleen Paulson, a librarian who has moved temporarily to their small town in Minnesota to oversee the renovation of their library and its historic Carnegie building. Kathleen is a kitty charmer, too, and lured Owen and Hercules away from the feral life to share her home. They all get along fine, although sometimes the cats do things Kathleen knows are impossible, like vanish into thin air, and just as quickly appear. Like the odd and painful accidents she's been having at the library, these seemingly magical powers trouble her. The real shocker, however, is when Kathleen finds the body of another visitor to the town who she disliked, who may have been killed in her library -- and who she is suspected of luring there just before his murder.

I haven't read a good mystery in quite a while, so it was a pleasure to follow the cats and the clues along with Kathleen. The plot certainly kept me guessing, to the point of when I began to suspect everyone in the town of being in on it. But in the end (with a little help from her magical furry friends) Kathleen discovers many things, including the reason why she's been so accident-prone. I appreciated Kathleen's sense of humor and keen insights, as well as the fine detailing of the writing that paired beautifully with easy flow of the story (you usually get one or the other; not both.) The cats had me at Hello, though, and are keeping me for the series. It might have a little to do with the fact that Owen and Hercules could be twins of my two boys, Jak and Jeri.

As always, you don't have to take my word for it. In comments to this post, name your favorite type of non-human character to read about (or if you're not a critter fic fan, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. I'll draw five names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned paperback copy of Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly (who, btw, is the pseudonym of our own Darlene Ryan.) This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

48 comments:

  1. I love reading about dogs. One of my favorites that come to mind is Jim from Katie MacAlister's Aislin Grey series. (Okay so he isn't a real dog but I love him anyways)

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  2. Dust Bunny's, like the ones in the Jayne Castle books.

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  3. Cats are a favourite for me. And dolphins would be nice too but I don't often come across them.

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  4. Rabbits and hamsters. :-D

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  5. Well, I'm a big cat fan and I have 2 of my own (well, they have me :P) so I guess i'd have to say kittehs are my favourite creatures to read about. But I have written an MG novel about a mouse detective and all sorts of different creatures show up in that. I'm a particular fan of the turkey ;)

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  6. Oh~ I love a good mystery! This sounds really cute <3

    My favorite non-human characters always seem to be wolves~ can't get enough of them!

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  7. Keita Haruka5:12 AM

    Wolves and werewolves! If there's a wolf in it, I'm a fan of it. :-)

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  8. Susanne5:35 AM

    I like cats too!

    mit herzlichen Grüßen

    Susanne

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  9. Cats can be spooky! My Devon Rex (so not very furry) attempts to turn the doorknob to my bedroom when I lock her out. It's very creepy to see it rattling from side to side.

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  10. It has to be cats! I have 2 Siamese sisters from the same litter. What one doesn't think of doing, the other one does. And they collaborate on what to do next!

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  11. Like many others, I'm a cat fan. But as a knitter/spinner, I'd love to see some fiber animal fiction--maybe an alpaca or two!

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  12. Love cat stories! Throwing my name in the hat!

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  13. Well, I write wolves (and love me my wolves ;o) ) but the books I read that had other animals as major characters were when I was a kid. I loved Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, and Charlotte's Web. Both fascinated me for different reasons and I remember how I cheered for them through the books. The Marguerite Henry books too.

    Hmmm...I think I need to broaden my reading since it appears most of the animal books I read were as a kid.

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  14. I loved Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. :) Was one of my favorite books as a kid.

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  15. I have to agree with Amanda. I never laughed so hard as I did reading about Jim the demon dog in the Aisling Grey series.

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  16. I was always a dog person. Liked cats, but they were just ...there. But 5 years ago I got one. Then three years ago I rescued another, and boy oh boy, I now know exactly what you're talking about. I love my girls.

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  17. Wow! It was a big surprise to surf my way over here and find my own book cover. (Thanks Lynn!)

    Michelle, I'm going to look for Jayne Castle's dust bunny book. I love the idea of another world under the bed.

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  18. This sounds cute and fun. Love stories featuring animals!

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  19. I love cats too. They're my favourite non-human character in books, and sometimes I even buy books that have cats in them just because.

    Anyone have any good recommendations for good novels with cats? :)

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  20. Kris S.12:42 PM

    Cats and their independent, mischievous ways are my favorite.

    Thanks for pointing out another series to read. :D

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  21. Recently I fell in love with the characters in Charlotte's Web all over again. Have vowed not to wait so long between readings of that book again!

    Sounds like you've found another great book here.

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  22. I don't particularly seek out books with animals, but somehow I often end up with cat books.

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  23. I like cats too. I have a two cats that are my fur babies.

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  24. Athena2:14 PM

    Actually I like Sasha, the tiger familiar to Jasmine in Aladin (disney movie). Asides from that I enjoy the salamander in Laura Bickle's work. I have several books with feline companions but as Murphey's Law dictates I can't remember a single title on the top of my head. (it has been one of those days)

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  25. Dogs since I have a dog I rescued who is a philosopher. Love dog books.

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  26. The dog in Dog on It. Great character since a dog's life is wonderful.

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  27. I love Darlene's work, and this sounds fabulous.

    I like cats as non-human characters to read, but my true favorite is the adventures of my polar bear, Inuit.

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  28. I was going to recommend StarDoc because it has a cool cat character, then I remembered that... um... you wrote it. :)

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  29. I have read and loved dog books, but I'm definitely a cat person and would love to read this mistery you're recommending.

    Tomás, the cat who owns us and our dog, loves books too.

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  30. Anonymous3:00 AM

    I quite liked Galey Greeno's Ghatti's (phsyic cats) and Dragons and Wolves always get me to pick up a book and love reading about elves, halflings and Kender.

    Heather from Oz

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  31. This is so great! I can totally relate being owner of two cats myself... very well done!

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  32. Cats are my favorite to read (and write) about. If you don't believe me, check out my website www.conversingwithcats.com. :)

    -Di

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  33. Hannbel186:18 AM

    I love reading about dogs (or wolves), as I'm mainly a dog person. The non-human characters that really stand out for me are Ladvarian from Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy (kindred dog) and Coaxtl from Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee series (leopard).

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  34. bluebamboo7:39 AM

    Mice, cats, dogs, and I second the vote for alpaca!

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  35. Anne V.9:19 AM

    I'm a cat person. We have three in residence-one for me, one for hubby, and one for my cat.
    I always loved the anthologies of Catfantastic but my favorite animal stories are James Herriot's own All Creatures Great and Small series where he writes (usually amusingly) of everything from livestock to housepets.

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  36. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Lynn,
    Well, I am a cat/dog person. Yep, I am a rare breed. Three Great Danes and seven (yes, 7) cats. My favorite dog is a tie between Efrijim (jim) from Aisling Grey and Valdez from Gerry Bartlett's Glory St. Clair books. Techinically, Jim is a demon and techinically Valdez is a shape-shifter, but they are hilarious in dog form characters.
    My favorite cat read is the new Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Scarborough books Catalyst and Catacombs (tales of the Barque Cats). Anne's books are always wonderful to read and when she collaborates with Elizabeth, they are magic!
    Tami
    Jacksonville

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  37. Margaret Claire10:56 AM

    My sister has two black brothers from the local shelter, Jack-o-lantern and Casper,the not-so-friendly ghost. She would love this book, so here goes my name into the hat. Thanks.

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  38. Books with animals are wonderful. My cats will try to walk across or under a book if they think I am reading too much and they want to be patted, go out or have a snack. Some of my favorite animal themed books include Katie McAlister and Rita Mae Brown's books. You always recommend interesting books! :)

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  39. I am a cat person in Real Life, but adore Dragons (!) in fiction.

    When my sister moved, we could not. find. her. cat. - She was black and must have been hiding in a shadow, because she wasn't in that closet when we looked.

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  40. Anonymous12:50 PM

    My cats are holding my furniture hostage until I answer this post, so I'm going to go with the critters from Patricia Briggs.

    Sari from MI

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  42. Kerry S.8:17 AM

    Cats, mysteries, and magic -- what's not to love? :)

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  43. I love reading dog stories. Einstein and Orson are my favorite dog characters, from Dean Koontz' books.

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  44. Anonymous12:17 PM

    One of my favorite animals I like to read about are horses. I have always loved horse and will ready anything on them. Please put my name in the hat and I would love to read what you suggested.
    Lauraine D

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  45. I like all stories that feature animals but I think I would have to say that I LOVE cat stories.

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