Black Cat Crossing, by Kay Finch, is a cozy mystery that is told from the first-person perspective of would-be author Sabrina Tate as she tries to clear her aunt’s name of murder, as well as save a so-called “bad luck cat” from her aunt’s handyman.
1—Death on the River
When Bobby Joe Flowers comes back to town claiming to be Aunt Rowe’s half sister—and entitled to half of everything she inherited, including her rental cottage business—he shortly thereafter gets himself killed. Aunt Rowe is the prime suspect and Sabrina isn’t about to let her aunt go to jail, so she starts investigating on her own. There’s no shortage of suspects but a dearth of clues. Was it one of the many women Bobby Joe scammed, pretending to love them when he only wanted their money? Or was it the local Game Warden, who’s mother was Bobby Joe’s latest broken-hearted victim? And is there a connection between Bobby Joe’s death and the cold case of a young woman killed on the very same river behind Sabrina’s cottage?
Sabrina Tate lives in one of the cottages her aunt Rowena owns in Lavender, Texas. Aunt Rowe accidentally broke her leg so Sabrina came to live with her and help her take care of the business. I liked Sabrina, despite the somewhat meta-ness of her trying to be a mystery novelist in a mystery novel. Particularly endearing is her defense of Hitchcock, which is what she names the black cat who comes to live with her, and which everyone else calls El Gato Diablo. Sabrina is loyal to her aunt and her friends, putting their well-being above her dreams of becoming a novelist (even though, this being a cozy mystery, there’s no real danger of her loosing out on either).
Ideally in a mystery, you should not figure out who the killer is until the end but at the same time it should feel as if it couldn’t have been anyone else. The “how did I not see that?” feeling. I wasn’t left with that at the end of Black Cat Crossing. I didn’t see who the killer was until they showed up with a gun, but at the same time I don’t feel I had enough clues to put it together myself. Not that I was trying particularly hard—I’ve mentioned before that I’m more of a go with the flow reader. But your mileage may vary, you may think the clues are all there.
Black Cat Crossing was a fun bit of fluff, and I liked Sabrina and Hitchcock, but I don’t know if I’ll pick up the next book in the series, The Black Cat Knocks on Wood. We’ll see how well Black Cat Crossing sticks in my mind.