Cattery Row (Theda Krakow Mysteries, No. 2)

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9781590583067: Cattery Row (Theda Krakow Mysteries, No. 2)

Spiky freelancer Theda Krakow has fallen on a bare patch. Changes at the newspaper have cut her regular assignments and magazine work is slim. When a call comes in asking her to profile Cool, a gifted musician who's being oddly reclusive, it's welcome relief from both Theda's man and money troubles.



But even with work at hand, there are problems: Someone is stealing show cats. And both the feline-friendly Theda and her friend Violet, who runs the local shelter, are outraged. When a kindly cat breeder is implicated in the thefts, Theda resolves to uncover the culprits. But when a murder hits close to home, the circle of suspects widens to include family, an extortionist, and more....



Theda is a great guide to the city, whether hanging out in her Cambridge neighborhood or enjoying the latest bands in the clubs, particularly Violet's brand of riot grrrl punk. She's less adept at sorting out her own heart, which largely belongs to her kitten, Musetta, but as a sleuth, she's razor-sharp.

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About the Author:

Clea Simon is the author of the Theda Krakow mystery series, which began with Mew is for Murder, as well as three nonfiction books, including the Muse and Merial Award-winning The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats. A contributor to such diverse publications as The New York Times, Cat Fancy, Rolling Stone, Salon, Ms., the Boston Globe, and the Boston Phoenix, she lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her husband Jon Garelick, and their cat, Musetta.

www.cleasimon.com

Review:

"In Simon's satisfying second kitty cozy (after 2005's Mew Is for Murder ), spunky Boston journalist Theda Krakow and her feline friend, Musetta, are plunged into a crazy quilt of cat-related crime. In recent months, eight catteries near Beantown have been broken into, and expensive show cats stolen. Theda is puzzled over these thefts-without documents of their lineage, the cats are practically worthless, so why would anyone steal them? Then, one of Theda's friends, eccentric cat-breeder Rose Keller, lets on that she's received some threatening phone calls. A few days later, Rose turns up dead. Meanwhile, a blues singer called Cool tells Theda that she's being blackmailed. Someone has evidence that Cool has been drinking and using prescription drugs. With its well-developed cast of characters and a multilayered plot, this feline mystery is the cat's meow." -Publishers Weekly

Someone is stealing the show cats of Boston. And Theda Krakow, freelance journalist and cat lover, wants to know why. Cattery Row is Clea Simon's second entry in the series, and it finds Theda caught up in murder and extortion, as well as the cat thefts. The mystery's a winner, but the real appeal of Simon's work is Theda herself -- torn between two lovers, trying to make her freelance career work, balancing her eccentric friends, trying to stay active in the rock-club scene. Cat-themed mysteries are often classified as "cozies," but "Cattery Row" is, if not hard-boiled, nowhere near cute -- except, of course, for the cats. Simon writes with grit, and in Theda, she has created a flawed and sometimesinfuriating protagonist, one readers will want to see for many more lives. -- Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch (10/29/2006)

“...another fun and well-crafted mystery that is entertaining enough to appeal even to readers for whom cats hold little charm....It's clear that Simon has a real love for, and understanding of, contemporary music, and that knowledge adds a unique flavor to her books that makes them stand out from the rest of the clowder of cat mysteries.” -- David J. Montgomery, Boston Globe (September 4, 2006)

"This was an interesting story, with an amateur, sleuth that is somewhat more believable than many.. Theda Kraow is a freelance writer which, of course gives her the opportunity to ask questions and poke around. At the moment,, things aren't going too well, jobs are scarce. When a magazine asks her to go back and touch bases with four memorable women featured in an earlier published article, she jumps at the chance. Not only is it work, but two of the women are friends of hers.

One, an older woman who raises cats and is a judge at cat shows, acts very strange when Theda calls her. When they meet, it is almost a cloak and dagger affair, and the journalist learns that the woman has been receiving threatening phone calls. Another, an old rocker friend of hers, Cool, seems to be avoiding Theda, letting her manager run interference. When Theda is inexplicably attacked, everyone assumes she startled a burglar, but she is not so certain. This doubt becomes stronger when one of the four women she is to interview is murdered.

There is a lot going on in this book. Theda herself is an interesting personality: a hard-playing, rock-loving, somewhat wild soul with an even wilder assortment of friends and a cop boyfriend who is as straight as they come. These off the wall characters add an element of interest and diversity to the story. Add in an exboyfriend who appears on the scene, the odd relationship with her current boyfriend, and her true love-her cat-and you have the basis for a good story. A well constructed plot adds to the mix and helps tie the various situations together. Although cats feature in this story, they neither solve crimes nor speak, so if you are not into that you do not have to worry. Cat lover or not, this story should please." --Mystery News

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