Bone-a-fied Trouble by Carolyn Haines is book number nine in the Familiar Legacy Mystery series. It was published on March 4, 2019.
While there are references to Sarah Booth Delaney of previous Them Bones fame, this novel and series is entirely standalone. Part of what makes this series special is that various writers have contributed to the previous books which is fascinating to me.
If you feel an incessant need to know about Zinnia, Mississippi and the small town happenings, please start by reading my review about the first book in the Sarah Booth Delaney series. This was the first book I have read in the Familiar Legacy series and was able to jump right in without any prior knowledge of events that may have taken place before.
“Curiouser and curiouser!”
I was shocked to find that Trouble the cat is truly a main character in this series and a good portion of it is told from his perspective.
It took a minute for me to get used to this. While the cats do not actually speak to the human characters in the book they do find ingenious ways to communicate with them. Very cool to see them bossing human beings around and helping them out because they’re too dense to help themselves. It was cute.
Trouble is an absorbing character and admires Sherlock Holmes. He does not actually live in Zinnia, he is visiting the town with his owner, Tammy, and decides to help out in a missing persons case while on vacation. I suppose the work of a kitty investigator is never done.
You won’t find too many people, or pets, like Trouble. He is British but lives in Wetumpka, Alabama. Although he admits that he prefers Southern fare acknowledging that the States offer better food in general. I guess he prefers fish sticks over fish and chips.
And he is well fed throughout his travels. Dining with some of the upper crust of Zinnia while sleuthing he, along with his kitty companions Pluto and Miss. Vesta, dine on delicacies such as fish in light cream sauce and shrimp stuffed pasta shells. These cats are eating even better than those fancy cats who are eating canned meat out of old fashion crystal champagne glasses on TV commercials. Being a cat detective must be a well paid job and I imagine feral cats everywhere are beefing up their resumes after reading this.
Seeds of deception grow by the acre
Just about everyone in this book is suspect in the beginning. Readers are thrown in the midst of a cast of characters surrounding a missing person, Trudy, that are so duplicitous that I would not at all blame her for picking up stakes and looking for somewhere to hide in the Delta.
Not that it would help her any. As we soon learn the plants and agents of those fields are deceptive as well.
The fake psychic sister…
It is hard to find too much fault in Tabitha, on the hunt for her missing sister, as she pretends to be a psychic from New Orleans in order to close in on her whereabouts. She will fake it ’til she makes it.
Don’t mess with Roger’s farm…
Roger manages the farm that the missing Trudy has been working for. He storms into just about every scene and is not at all hesitant about taking control. Some of it he gets from his mother.
Hannah did not come to play… she came to get paid
Hannah is Roger’s mother and the only other person who can hold a candle to his ability to dramatically steal the scene when she sweeps into town kicking up dust everywhere. She intends to stay rich. And she doesn’t care what any of us, or her son, think about it.
Antoine… arm candy on a mission
Hannah’s newest lover is Antoine. He is faker than a $3 bill. Thankfully he does not care enough to pretend to be around to do anything other than help his future wife collect the gold in them there hills of fallow earth.
“T” is for Trouble and everyone else
Admittedly when I began to read this story I got a little twisted off of all the names that begin with the letter “T”. Of course there is Trouble, the wise British cat who leads us, and his owner Tammy is mentioned. Then there are also Trudy and Tabitha who are sisters.
I will simply blame myself for being confused. Between that and wrapping my mind around a cat referring to humans as his bipeds I had a lot going on. Luckily for me it was not hard to press through.
This was an entertaining read offering idiosyncratic perspectives from the eyes of felines. Bone-a-fied Trouble allowed me to see, and smell, the Delta soil in a strikingly distinct way. I want to follow Trouble back to Wetumpka, Alabama and see what he digs up next. He is cunning and while I still think of him as a southern cat I can appreciate his desire to be identified as British. It is quite a modern way of thinking.
This novel moves at a swift pace which I greatly appreciated. There is a true focus that is placed on environmental issues related to the production of various crops and the big, often sinister, business backing it up. The frightening environmental issues, people behind the causes and deadly implications kept my interest and gave me something to think about after concluding this novel.
Relationships in this book also develop quickly. I appreciated how the focus consistently came back to the case at hand and did not drift off into too many complicated stories. I didn’t need to read more about what dangers were lurking in the many shadows, the main plot offered more than enough.
I did not see the ending coming and was pleasantly surprised by a couple of revelations that made me jolt. The book still concluded nicely and things were tied up neatly. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a little bit more in my opinion. I am giving this book four and a half stars.
Thank you to the publishing team for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.