Cats and Crimes

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
262 Pages
Reviewed on 11/14/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Cats and Crimes is a work of fiction in the murder mystery and suspense subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Maggie Pill. In this delightful and enjoyable mystery romp, we find ourselves embroiled in a clever and cozy case alongside grouchy cat-lady, septuagenarian Lorilee Riley. When Lorilee finds a dead body in her flowerbed, there’s something not quite right about the police in charge of the case. As Lorilee’s curiosity rises, she enlists her beloved cats and the help of local teen Jess to dig a little deeper into the case herself, only to discover there’s a lot more mystery brewing under the surface.

Author Maggie Pill weaves a superbly-crafted cozy mystery that will have fans of the genre grinning from ear to ear, even through the darker aspects of the murder of Regina Dean. I for one was swept along immediately by the charming quality of the narrative, which plays with Lorilee’s crotchety humor and offsets it brilliantly against both the quirky characteristics of her cats and the tense mystery elements of the crime and conspiracy at play. The plot itself moves at a great pace, giving clues with the right amount of subtlety for a gentle read but never so much that the answers feel spoon-fed. There’s much to surprise readers along the way too, and the whole atmosphere and setup of the tale have left me wanting more. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Cats and Crimes to mystery fans everywhere.

Trudi LoPreto

Cats and Crimes by Maggie Pill is an enjoyable read and much more than just a murder mystery. The story centers around Lorilee, a fifty-something woman learning to live alone after the recent and unexpected loss of her husband. Jess is a 17-year-old kid who has run away from home because his father wants him to be someone he does not aspire to become. Their friendship and bond came from their love of cats. Lorilee has several and Jess has found a job and home with the local veterinarian. When Regina Dean’s body is found in Lorilee’s garden one morning, the adventure begins. Lorilee feels the police are not doing enough to find the killer and she enlists Jess as her helper to find answers and the killer. They form a strong bond and become like family to each other as they interview possible suspects. The love of cats, a noisy neighbor, a kind veterinarian, and an angry father keep this book exciting and hard to put down.

Cats and Crimes is really good. It was impossible not to like Lorilee or Jess and want them to find the criminals. They were unlikely companions but watching the friendship blossom made me smile and feel good. The mystery and the murder plus the bonding made it impossible to put Cats and Crimes down. Maggie Pill did an excellent job of creating realistic characters and putting them into a plot that never ended. If you are a lover of mystery, murder, friendship, or cats, this is a book that you cannot pass up because it has it all. It is a five-star plus winner.

Melanie Kennedy

Cats and Crimes is the latest murder mystery by Maggie Pill. Enter “crazy cat lady” Lorelei Riley. She’s a retired social services worker, with eight special cats, who finds more than she bargained for in her bed of flowers one morning: a corpse. Reluctant to get involved at first, Lorelei starts to get interested in solving the unfortunate young woman’s death when the lead detective snoops around her yard at 03:00 the following day. While trying to solve the murder, Lorelei becomes friends with the androgynous Jess and endeavors to get Jess out of the unfortunate predicament they’ve found themselves in. Ultimately, their investigation leads them straight into the murderer's path, and the two sleuths confront the murderer with a little helping paw from the cats.

Maggie Pill’s Cats and Crimes is a quirky whodunnit with plenty of appearances by eight special cats and a few goats thrown in for good measure. If anyone could solve a murder case it would be a cat lady and Lorelei does not disappoint. Fiercely independent but loving to those who have earned her respect, she is what I aspire to be when I retire. Throughout the novel, Maggie kept me guessing about who the murderer was. At some point I really wanted it to be Lorelei’s nosy neighbor Mitzi, but alas Lorelei is stuck with her for a while, having to keep some of the best insults I’ve ever read in her mind. I might use some of them in the future. Cats and Crimes is a fast-paced and highly entertaining mystery for anyone looking to relax through a good book.