Monday, January 5, 2015

Catwalk (An Animals in Focus Mystery #3), by Sheila Webster Boneham

Midnight Ink, ISBN 9780738734880, October 2014

Animal photographer Janet McPhail, her Australian shepherd dog, Jay, and her cat, Leo, are back, along with her human friends and acquaintances, including Goldie, Tom, and the easily agitated but surprisingly sound Alberta. Leo has just begun competing in cat agility, while Alberta is working, against considerable opposition, to establish a managed feral cat colony--with all the cats neutered and vaccinated, and shelter and food provided. (The effect of this would be to both gradually reduce the number of feral cats, and to reduce their hunting. But don't tell the cat haters that; they won't listen.) Even worse, one of Alberta's neighbors wants to develop the adjoining wetlands, doing far more damage to the local wildlife than a cat colony, managed or not, ever could.

Meanwhile, Janet's mother, now in a nursing home, has met someone, a sweet, kind man of her own generation. His son-in-law (the developer) discovers the relationship, expresses outrage, and decides to move him.

This is all distressing enough, but it gets worse when the developer turns up dead in the agility tunnel at a competition.

The problem is not a lack of suspects; it's a surfeit of them. I've barely scratched the surface of the list of local people who hated this guy, and with good reason. Janet has a lot of friends and acquaintances, she's intelligent, observant, and has a photographer's eye for detail. She pays attention to the behavior, and the messages, of her animals and others'.

I like Janet, I like her animals and her friends, and her family is growing on me. I like this story. It moves, it's nicely complex, and people don't do stupid things because the plot requires it.

Except Janet, in her personal life. Specifically, her romantic life.

Despite that particular frustration, I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to more from Boneham.

I bought this book.