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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nine Lifelines: A Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery By Joyce Ann Brown

by Sandra Murphy

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Beth and Arnie used to own a lot of rental property. Now they’re down to one condo rental. When a tenth floor apartment in the same building becomes available, they buy it and move in, ready to downsize from a house.

Coming home is always an adventure, guessing where the elevator will stop. They press 10 and the doors might open on 5 or 8. Press 10 again, and it goes right to their floor. Another puzzle is theft in the building. The thief takes one or two items, nothing of value—a box of Band-Aids or a chipped plate destined for the trash. They have one neighbor but never see anyone come or go, although Beth caught a glimpse of the man watering balcony plants one day when she returned from her walk.

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Other than that, Beth likes the new place. Their grandkids are coming to visit, so she’ll get to cook a lot. The pool is handy to burn off the kid’s excess energy, and shops are within walking distance, too. She walks her cat every day and has a stroller for him when he gets tired and refuses to take another step. His name is Sylvester, but he’s also known as the Psycho Cat due to his antics as a kitten.

When the man from the other tenth floor unit falls from his balcony, it seems a tragic accident, but the police think otherwise. The man’s wife says she heard her husband talking to a man with a Russian accent. Unfortunately, there’s one such man living in the building, and he lives in Beth’s rental condo. He’s soon taken to jail as a prime suspect.

Beth is friends with his wife, Helene, and toddler daughter Fabienne. She offers to babysit and help any way she can. She also visits the dead man’s widow with some food and discovers twin grandchildren living there with her but rarely seen around the building.

Image source: Joyce Ann Brown

When leaving for their walks, Sylvester insists on investigating the doors of the robbed apartments. Sometimes that leaves Beth in an awkward situation when the door opens suddenly. On the other hand, she’s getting to meet the neighbors and can blame it on the cat.

Beth is a woman you’d want for a friend, always willing to help, a good cook, and fun to be around. Arnie, he likes his golf. That’s what retirement is for. They make a good couple, obviously fond of each other. Beth doesn’t put herself in dangerous situations while asking about the murdered man. Sylvester, of course, steals every scene he’s in, as it should be.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book is Beth’s clumsiness. She trips, stumbles and falls way too often. It distracts from the story.

This is the third book in the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series which can be read out of order, but more fun is to be had to own all three.

To enter to win a copy of Nine Lifelines, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “nine,” or comment on this article and please be sure to note whether you want e-book or print. A winner will be chosen August 27, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

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 newest, "Arthur", included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.


  1. This sounds like an amusing book. I really enjoyed the excerpt and would like to see what kind of trouble Slyvester gets himself into and how he helps to solve the mystery.

  2. What a interesting book and series. Psycho cat sounds familiar. I would to read on how Beth handles Sylvester. I would love a print copy if I win. vlhcats@gmail.com. Thanks for the chance.

  3. Sounds like a fun series & author I need to read. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

  4. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Thanks for the comments. The characters change a bit during the series as they move on in their lives, but Sylvester (Psycho Cat) remains clever about finding clues.

  6. Sounds interesting. Kckendler@gmail(dot)com

  7. Looks good I would like to read it

  8. Looks good I would like to read it