Black cats, blackmail, and murder
Black Cat Crossing: A Bad Luck Cat Mystery
by Kay Finch
Berkley Prime Crime
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date: September, 2015
In the first in this cat-filled cozy series, aspiring mystery author Sabrina Tate is about to discover that when it comes to solving murders, her new feline friend Hitchcock is a master of sleuthing… Sabrina has never been the superstitious type. Still, when she moves to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation rental business, Sabrina can’t avoid listening to the rumors that a local black cat is a jinx—especially after the stray in question leads her directly to the scene of a murder. The deceased turns out to be none other than her Aunt Rowe’s awful cousin Bobby Joe Flowers, a known cheat and womanizer who had no shortage of enemies. The only problem is that Aunt Rowe and Bobby Joe had quarreled just before the cousin turned up dead, leaving Rowe at the top of the long list of suspects. Now it’s up to Sabrina to clear her aunt’s name. Luckily for her, she’s got a new sidekick, Hitchcock the Bad Luck Cat, to help her sniff out clues and stalk a killer before Aunt Rowe winds up the victim of even more misfortune…
A black cat, a blackmailer, and murder!
Many people mistakenly think black cats bring misfortune – especially in the small town of Lavender, Texas. One in particular is known as El Gato Diablo. Sabrina Tate has never been superstitious, and scoffs until the handsome black stray leads her to the dead body of her Aunt's estranged cousin.
Bobby Joe Flowers has always been the black sheep of her father's family, conning and thieving his way through life. So when he shows up on Aunt Rowe's doorstep claiming to be her half-brother and wanting money, it's no surprise she decks him one. Still to suspect her of murder? Sabrina knows her aunt is innocent, but the police appear to have settled on Rowe as the culprit.
While working on her own thriller, Sabrina starts her own investigation into Bobby Joe's murder, and discovers some surprising things about his activities and the history of Lavender. Thankfully, Hitchcock, the bad luck cat, is on her side as well as the dishy local game warden who may have had his own motive for murder. It's up to Sabrina to prove her aunt's innocence and show the town that this black cat is only bad luck for the killer.
For Sabrina, starting over means moving to Lavender where she spent time growing up. She knows the people, but doesn't know the history. It also means that she doesn't buy into the superstitions surrounding the black cat she names Hitchcock. Hitchcock is definitely a scene-stealer, and it is easy to understand Sabrina's attraction to him. It is a mark in Lucas's (the game warden) favor that he is willing to help get rid of the traps being set. Of course Hitchcock is far too canny to get caught. It may come as a surprise to readers, but many people still view black cats as bad luck, and often black cats are the last to be adopted at shelters.
There are quite a number of people in Lavender with a motive for murdering Bobby Joe. The novel keeps the reader guessing until close to the end. Sabrina and Hitchcock are a wonderful pair of sleuths. I look forward to seeing what comes now that Hitchcock has a home with Sabrina. Black Cat Crossing is an excellent debut to the Bad Luck Cat mystery series. I am anxious to see what Kay Finch has in store for readers.