As part of my ongoing series highlighting the most recommended and popular Cozy Mystery series suggested by site readers, this month I will be discussing the first entry in Laurie Cass (aka Laura Alden)‘s first entry in her Bookmobile Cat Mystery Series, titled Lending a Paw.
Librarian Minnie Hamilton has spent the last three years in the small resort town of Chilson, Michigan, having taken up an assistant director position at the district library, having spent many happy summers there as a small child, staying with her aunt Frances, who still maintains guest rooms for the resort season. More recently, Minnie had acquired a new family member as well – Eddie, a stray cat black and white striped cat that had followed Minnie home from relaxing in a local cemetery.
Though she has been working in Chilson for some time, Minnie is starting another chapter in her career – she had the idea for a bookmobile attached to the local library, driving about town to visit readers and distribute books, and as her idea, when it was decided to go along with the idea, she was the person who would end up driving it.
Naturally, it was a bit of a surprise to her that there would be a co-pilot for the drive – her cat Eddie – and even more of a surprise that at one of her first stops, Eddie would turn up a dead body instead of a book enthusiast looking for some light reading.
The deceased that Eddie and Minnie turned up, Stan Larabee, was a bit of a surprising figure – most of the town considered him a tight man with his money, someone who was more concerned with business than anything else, but he had also been the main donor to setting up the bookmobile, more or less single-handedly bankrolling the project. So despite the fact that most of the small town wasn’t terribly concerned at his sudden death, Minnie felt a certain responsibility – not only as the person who discovered him, but also one of the few that seemed to see him in a better light, no doubt one of the reasons that she began investigating on her own – or rather, with Eddie.
Set in a small midwestern sort of town, revolving around two comfortably Cozy topics, in this case cats and books, with a protagonist returning to a familiar family haunt after years away, Lending a Paw is a good example of a fairly conventional modern Cozy – and like most modern Cozies, it’s definitely a story that many modern Cozy fans will be able to sit down and spend some time with. This isn’t an innovation in mysteries by any means, but the interactions of the characters and especially of Eddie make it quite worthwhile to any fans of a combination of mysteries, cats, and bookmobiles.