Previously on In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel, we’ve had twin child genius detectives, we’ve had trainee wizard detectives and we’ve had gifted-with-second-sight-to-fight-the-forces-of-darkness detectives. Before we return to normal service – if you can call Arthur Bryant normal – it’s time for something that in the past I’ve mocked more than a little. Yes, it’s cat detectives. And not detectives that look for cats – you know what I mean by cat detectives.
Cat detectives Yoshi and Gatsby have been retained by the glamorous show cat Molasses to find her rival. But with the neighbourhood plagued by vicious pit-bulls, the heads of a local dog-fighting ring, can our heroes possibly make find their quarry – and can Gatsby persuade Molasses that he’s the cat for her?
OK, first of all, this is only a novella – Amazon cites it as 140 pages, but a) thirty of those are a preview of book two and b) the pages that do contain this story are double spaced. But it only cost 77p as an ebook, so who cares?
It’s rather fun too – although I would remind the reader that I am both a mystery reader and a cat person, so I’m quite close to the target audience. The conceit here is that the animals – cats, dogs, mice etc can talk to each other, but the story is firmly set in the “real” world. While the area is “policed” by police dogs, they do have handlers, for example.
Yoshi and Gatsby basically are a furry version of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Yoshi lies around the house napping – sorry, thinking – all day, while Gatsby is his eyes and ears in the outside world. There’s a fair bit of fun using cat characteristics to link mimic the various detective clichés and the author has clearly sat down and thought carefully about the rules of this “world”.
And while most of the book seems to be leading in the adventure direction, rather than the mystery direction, there is a rather clever reveal towards the end – and it’s clued too.
Overall, I rather enjoyed this book. It’s a shame it’s so short, as I could easily have read more about our furry heroes, but there’s more books in the series, so Yoshi and Gatsby’s adventures aren’t over yet. If, like me, you’re a cat person, then this is Recommended. An entertaining quick read.
My copy was provided for me by the author.