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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Big Kitty by Claire Donally

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Sandra Murphy

Sunny Coolidge, newspaper reporter, left the big city to take care of her father after his heart attack. What was to be a leave of absence turned into unemployment when the newspaper started to reduce staff. Unfortunately, she was fired both as a reporter and as a girlfriend when her married boss boyfriend covered his behind and went with “out of sight, out of mind” while signing her pink slip.

Sunny’s new job is boring—she boosts tourism for the town of Kittery Harbor. The pay is lousy too. When the local Crazy Cat Lady stops by to ask if her home can be turned into a B&B, Sunny has to choke back a loud NO! Ada mentions she just needs some money until she can find her winning lottery ticket, lost somewhere in the house. Then she’ll have six or eight million dollars and won’t have to worry about bills.

Image source: Penguin

In an effort to be helpful, just in case someone’s stolen the winning ticket and planning to cash in on the millions, Sunny tells the local newspaper about the missing ticket. Ooops, now everybody wants to be Ada’s best friend—except the person who pushed her down the basement stairs and left her body there.

Sunny makes friends (and more?) with Will Price, constable of the town who has work problems of his own, what with having to deal with Sheriff Frank Nesbit. Sunny’s other new friend is one of Ada’s cats, Shadow. He’s adopted Sunny as his new person and does his bit to find out who hurt Ada, not that the humans can follow his line of thinking.

Ada’s son Gordie, a tweak aka meth head, is a great suspect. Sunny’s boss is in need of cash and had been nosing around with offers to buy Ada’s house. Then there are all the attempts on Sunny’s life….luckily, all failed attempts.

Shadow is a great character on his own. Mike, Sunny’s dad, is frustrated by health issues as he and Sunny work out a living arrangement that suits them both. Will Price will be a good influence on all of them.

Although the reader can figure out some of the twists and turns, there are still surprises at the end, always a good sign in a mystery.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra's short stories on UnTreed Reads including her new one Bananas Foster.

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