Friday, September 18, 2009

Review - the Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse - Leann Sweeney

*Editor's Note: Welcome to Ariel Heart, a new CMM reviewer. In this light and entertaining review of The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse, Ariel gave me enough reason to go looking for Ms. Sweeney's new mystery! Enjoy!

The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse

by Leann Sweeney

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Signet (May 5, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0451225740

ISBN-13: 978-0451225740

Reviewed by: Ariel Heart

Recently widowed Jillian Hart is still grieving and quickly becoming a recluse when one of her cats is stolen. She and her husband had moved to Mercy and into their dream home just prior to his death six months ago. Her three cats are her dearest companions for they have comforted her in her loss. Jillian will do whatever it takes to get her furry best friend back home, even get out, meet people and get to know the small town of Mercy. Before long she has discovered the criminal who stole her cat, and she goes marching in to confront him and get her cat back. Only she marches into a fresh murder scene. The victim, Flake Wilkerson, was an unpopular cat thief but a butcher knife in the gut is some serious anger.

Why was h
e taking down missing cat posters all over town and apparently snagging the cats himself? Who murdered Flake and stole his computer? Was it the hotheaded owner of the town pet rescue who had prior run-ins with him? Was it his daughter who seems to have hated her own father? Was it an acquaintance yet unidentified? Jillian feels compelled to reunite the stolen cats with their owners and uncover some answers in theprocess.

In this first book of a new series we see Jillian coming out of the grief process, slow but sure. She is compassionate, determined and quick to make friends once she gets out among her new neighbors. She is a likable quilt maker and cat lover. This is a character that will appeal to many who love cozies. The following quote is Jillian speaking with the chief of police and shows Jillian’s resolve.

His eyes darkened. Made him look all brooding in a Gothic novel sort of way. “Please don’t get in my way. A brutal crime was committed, Jillian. That should scare you, I know it scares me.”

"After what I’ve been through this past year, I’m done being scared about what life throws at me. I’ll try hard not

to get in your way, but I won’t be sitting around, either. Cat people may have lost their friends because of this man.”

The writing style is breezy and friendly as the following quote demonstrates:

We sped through town in her small SUV, a beat up RAV4, and she blasted “Sweet Home Alabama” on the stereo all the way to our destination. Classic rock is great but not played loud enough that the Martians can hear the music. My ears and brain were immensely grateful when we arrived at Ed’s Swap Shop. The temperature had risen probably twenty degrees over the course of the day, and I shed my sweater before I got out of the Toyota.

The “shop” was actually a small one-story house desperately in need of fresh paint. The gutters sagged, and a broken window had been repaired with duct tape. Reminded me of the problem that had led me here today. That stupid broken window.

Once we passed through a rusty front gate, I realized the house was in better shape than anything else on the property. The yard overflowed with tires, lawn mowers, cement birdbaths, old bed springs and so much other decrepit stuff that we had to zigzag as if we were walking through a minefield to get to the weather-beaten front door.

Candace was far more adept at zigzagging than I was; I nearly fell twice. I decided she must do obstacle courses in her spare time. Either that or she’d made this trip many times before. She didn’t bother to knock but called out, “Ed Duffy, where you at?” as we went inside.

“That you Candy?” A man with shaggy gray hair and a full beard that reached his shirt collar stood squinting at us from behind a long glass display case. He wore overalls and a welcoming smile.

Witness Protection Program? I thought.

The town is populated with a likable cast; the speed demon deputy who loves forensics, the grumpy chief of police, the lipstick challenged coffee shop owner, the flamboyant coroner’s deputy, the town junk collector and a potential future love interest. Ms Sweeney effectively portrays the undercurrents of small town intertwined relationships and the quagmire it presents to a newcomer. She weaves a few strands of the supporting character’s personal lives into the mix and brings the community bustling to life, which I believe is her strong point.

The plot and pacing drew me in and kept me reading and the ending, while not a bombshell revelation was satisfying. This is a pleasant and quick read that cozy mystery fans will devour and be clamoring for more.

Who knew cats and quilting could be so dangerous – or so fun?

A.F. Heart

About me: Ms. Heart is a Colorado gal who does not like snow but loves the low bug population. She has been told she was an odd child for playing Cleopatra with her Barbies and dressing up her poodle. She is taking that active imagination and writing her first novel. She shares her writing progress (and much more) on her blog “Mysteries and My Musings.”

Leann Sweeney's website:

Four 'Cozy Armchairs' out of five!


  1. Oh, this sounds very cozy and fun. Thank you for a nice introduction and great review.

  2. hmmm, sounds like fun...i just wish some little old lady snoop would have a dog...they alway seem to have cats! think about it... a nice little old lady with a shaggy st bernard or she is fisty and has a jack russel terrier? ok, i'll go to my room now.

  3. I love the dog idea. Of course there were the books Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries by Donna Ball. If you haven't checked those out yet, they might be what you are looking for.

    But I am considering your idea. Although I am just putting some ideas together for a cozy mystery series and the main character is not a little old lady - I like the Jack Russel Terrier idea. Hmmm.

    AF Heart