A Mystery, with a cat in the role of the detective! If this description doesn’t get you all riled up, I don’t know what will. Of course, this is a house cat – and really a cat, so if you’re expecting a Blacksad like noire experience, you’re looking at the wrong book.
We also have an interview with Codi Schneider!
Bijou is a descendant of Viking longboat mousers, and she has a really dry humour, as this quote will surely prove:
Well, you can’t argue with impeccable logic like this, right?
Talking about humour, there are some things in this book that seem a little forced to me, like calling the local police lieutenant Lou Tennant. I mean, come on! That’s almost like having Joe Parts joining the military in the rank of a Private.
Sadly, we aren’t done with, ahem, »funny« names. There’s also Dr. Flora, the local veterinarian, of Flora’s Fauna. Or Bobi Pinn, the hairdresser (bobby pin – you get it?). Oh boy. That’s cringe worthy.
The story also tries to switch between the past and the now, by throwing in statements given in the present to the police. I’ll guess in the final book, they will be marked in a way that lets you clearly distinguish them from the rest of the chapter. In the galley, they were just there, but I caught their meaning quickly. And talking about dramatics, it’s always a good idea to start the book with something dramatic. In this case, a homicide – in combination with a dognapping!
The animals are really cute, and naturally they have more personality than some of the humans we encounter. This is not a point of critique – our first person narrator is a cat, so it follows the animals are of more interest than the humans. And the important humans are portrayed very well, too.
Really, despite the somewhat silly names, characters in this book are just great. As well as the village itself – it’s a place where I could immediately settle down, between all those people. It’s a real boon for the story.
Some parts are, well, I don’t know why they are. Not what, but literally why. Here we have a domestic cat following along a homicide investigation. That in itself is already enough – it’s what the story should be. There really was no need to throw in some supernatural stuff.
Pacing is a different thing. There are some really good scenes, when the pace is just right and everything flows and you find yourself turn page after page, in excitement. During those moments, this book shines as a great mystery novel.
But there are those other moments, too. When the cat-ness of our hero dictates the pace too much and a lot of stuff revolves around food. There are some funny moments here, no questions, but they’re not doing anything for the plot. They’re stalling, thus making this story longer. I would have preferred it trimmed down a little bit. It took me longer to read the book than expected because of those avoidable lengths.
Then again, for cat lovers those scenes will probably be somewhat golden, when you look at Bij and think »Oh yes, cats and their knacks«.
So, all in all, this was a mixed bag. On the downside are some pacing issues, some unnecessary supernatural elements and quite a bunch of goofy names. On the upside we have really loveable characters and an intriguing mystery behind all those minor (and major) crimes. 3.5 out of 5, rounded up to 4 for cat lovers! It’s going to be a good read for the coming cold season, along with a cup of hot beverage. Or some ale.