Sleight of Paw by Sofie Kelly is the second book in the author’s cosy mystery series, Magical Cats Mysteries. It follows small town librarian, Kathleen Paulson, and her two very special kitties, Hercules and Owen. When she realised that her feline friends had magical abilities, Kathleen thought for certain that she was turning into a “crazy” cat lady. But when they helped prove her innocence in a murder, she knew that her adopted companions were something to be cherished and protected wholeheartedly. After a dear old woman named Agatha winds up dead, she turns to Hercules and Owen once more to solve the case!
The first novel, Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, was formulaic overall, but had some pleasant traits that made me eager to return to the series (i.e. the kitties, of course). While Sleight of Paw still follows the typical cosy mystery mould, it was much more exciting than its introductory predecessor.
Agatha is an old lady in town that is known for helping young people in need, especially kids who find themselves heading down the dangerous path of life. She was sweet, sassy, and quiet. So when she ends up dead in what appears to be a car accident at first, the whole town is pretty shaken up. I remember this character from the first book and she reminded me a lot of some of the elderly women in my life. They aren’t afraid to be honest and upfront, but they also have a lot of compassion and kindness buried underneath their rough shells that makes them feel safe and secure to be around. I honestly wasn’t expecting such a familiar face to die, at least not so early on. Because of this, I was immediately invested in the search for the truth.
Kathleen, the protagonist, gets along with most everyone in town and her interactions with the townsfolk was marvellously comforting, more so since the setting is a winter wonderland this time around. There’s such a pleasant, homely feeling in this novel that it embraced me with its cosiness, and it was precisely what I needed. Her natural chit-chats also helped her when she started asking questions about Agatha and the people that the old lady had contact with days before her demise. Of course, Kathleen’s best friends knew she was doing some sleuthing, and the way they offered to assist without too many questions just made their relationship and their sneaking around rather entertaining.
The mystery of who committed the crime was far less anticlimactic in Sleight of Paw than it was in Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, which helped to make the climax and conflict a bit tighter and tenser. My concern for Kathleen and her feline friends was heightened in a way I truly wasn’t expecting and it was a fun reaction to have while reading this mystery.
My favourite aspect of the novel, which seems to be the main trend in this serial, is how much Kathleen talks to her kitties like normal people, and they have their ways of responding and giving her their two cents. It’s delightfully endearing and makes me feel less alone in my own kitty conversationing. They are the three musketeers of sleuthing shenanigans, and it’s truly what sets this series apart from other cosy mysteries. (Also, Hercules is named after Kevin Sorbo’s infamously cheesy character, and the references to it make my heart excited because I love that cheese-fest of a tele show.)
Sleight of Paw was an excellent sequel to Kelly’s Curiosity Thrilled the Cat. It surpassed me in just about every department that I felt was lacking in the initial title, and it gives me great optimism for the rest of the instalments to come. If you’re in the market for a cosy mystery series with the cutest kitties ever, then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND The Magical Cats Mysteries to you!
Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Berkley (ISBN-13: 978-0451234537)
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Magical Cats Mystery (Book 2)
Page Count: 336
Content Warnings: Death via murder. Attempted murder. Blood (mild). Mention of cat abandonment. Mild sexual innuendo. Brief discussions of infidelity. Arson. Preparation and consumption of food. Consumption of alcohol. Cautionary advisory for claustrophobia and cleithrophobia.
GoodReads: Sleigh of Paw by Sofie Kelly