Pru Marlowe has now been back in her home town of Beauville in western Massachusetts for months, and she has regular clients, a routine, and friends and colleagues. Her cat, Wallis, is still the only one she can talk freely to, because of course she can't tell any humans about her ability to hear and communicate with the minds of animals. But the ability gives her what others see as a "gift" in working with animals, so her animal behavior business is growing.
Then the local police, specifically sometime beau Jim Creighton, call her to the scene of a cat shooting. She's horrified and angry, until she arrives at the scene. Then she's astonished. The cat, a white Persian named Fluffy, has apparently accidentally shot and killed her owner.
The weapon is an antique dueling pistol whose provenance isn't apparent. The victim, Donal Franklin, is, it turns out, a retired mobster spending his time and money on good works. His friend and lawyer is Llewellyn McMudge, an occasional gentleman friend of Pru's--and he's not answering his phone. The widow, Louise Franklin, is behaving in odd and inconsistent ways. And the cat, Fluffy, the only real witness, is shut down completely, and Pru can get nothing from her. There's also the puzzle of Donal's apparent girlfriend, a young woman who looks remarkably similar to Louise Franklin, who seems to be the only person interested in the welfare of the cat.
Simon gives us a neat little mystery, with a good deal of personal angst for Pru. She's worried she's losing her always-problematic ability to communicate with animals, Wallis is being judgmental and unhelpful, and one of her more difficult ex-boyfriends appears from New York. Tom Reynolds, an always somewhat dirty, now ex, NYC cop, is working for an unnamed private client for some unspecified purpose, and wants an introduction to Llewellyn McMudge. Pru is pulled in multiple directions, not quite keeping up with events, and getting ill--very similar to the way she got ill in NYC when her pet psychic abilities first appeared. Can she keep things together long enough to find out what really happened to Franklin, what's going on with Fluffy, and who is doing what to whom?
It's an enjoyable light mystery, with good animal behavior substance, even if sometimes you'll want to whack Pru with a clue-by-four.
I bought this book.