Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review of "The Company of Cats" by Marian Babson




As the story opens, Annabel Hinchly-Smythe - whose income relies on selling gossipy tidbits to columnist Xanthippe - has money troubles. So when multi-millionaire Arthur Arbuthbot mistakes Annabel for an interior decorater she agrees to re-do his apartment. Annabel knows nothing about decorating but - with books from the library and assistance from artist Kelda - she feels she can get the job done.

When Annabel arrives to assess Arbuthnot's apartment she meets his cat Sally, a sweet tabby that he's taken a shine to. Annabel also meets an array of Arbuthbot's employees and relatives, some of whom want her gone and others who want to offer decorating advice. Before long Arbuthnot is found insensate (or worse) in his office but his greedy relatives manage to delay the announcement of his death while they get their ducks in row. It seems Arbuthnot left his fortune to Sally (the cat) and everyone is scheming to either become Sally's guardian or to bump Sally off so the estate will be redistributed.

Fearing for Sally's welfare Annabel sneaks her out and takes her home. Sally's disappearance leads to plenty of humorous shenanigans where each interested party shows up with a tabby, claiming to have 'found Sally'. Annabel is compelled to rescue some more cats and the kitties add a lot of fun to the story. Before long another suspicious death occurs in Arbuthnot's apartment and Annabel starts to fear for her life.

The book has an array of engaging characters including Arbuthnot's secretary - a nasty, would-be cat killer, his pushy aunt who married a seemingly dim younger man, his needy nephew and his girlfriend, a bad-tempered doorman who's lost his legs, a couple of relentless journalists looking for a scoop, a smart lawyer, a savvy veterinarian, and more.

There's not much investigating in this cozy mystery but it's a fun story that I'd recommend to fans of the genre.

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