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This appealing first in a new paranormal cozy series from Agatha-winner Hart (Death Comes Silently and 21 other Annie Darling bookstore mysteries) introduces unemployed investigative reporter Nela Farley, who can read cats' thoughts. When Nela's flighty sister, Chloe, an employee of the charitable Haklo Foundation, suddenly decides to take a vacation, Nela comes to Craddock, Okla., to fill in for Chloe. Nela stays in the apartment of Haklo's late chief operating officer, Marian Grant, who recently died in what seemed to be an accident, though Nela gathers from Marian's cat that she was a victim of foul play. The suspense builds as everyone on the foundation's small staff becomes a suspect, from trustee Blythe Webster, a powerful woman who expects to be treated with deference, to newly hired assistant curator Abby Andrews. Reporter Steve Flynn provides a romantic foil for Nela, while Det. K.T. Dugan believes Nela is up to no good. Traditional mystery fans will find a lot to like. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The award-winning Hart offers an intricate twist on the locked-room mystery. Nela Farley can read cats' minds, a talent developed after a personal tragedy. After losing her reporting job, she agrees to take her sister's place in the offices of the Haklo Foundation. She stays at the apartment of another employee, Marian, who just died after a fall. Marian's cat tells Nela that Marian fell because of a skateboard on the stairs. After someone breaks in during her first night at the apartment, Nela finds an expensive necklace. She then learns of several months of malicious vandalism at the foundation. After befriending a local reporter, she starts investigating. The locked-room aspect comes into play because only a handful of people have keys to the foundation. The cat-whispering angle turns out to be a relatively small factor in the story, yet paranormal-mystery fans will find it appealing, and Hart's audience will respond to the typically well-crafted plot.--Alessio, Amy Copyright 2010 Booklist