Desert Cat

Garrison Allen, Author, Allen Garrison, Author
Garrison Allen, Author, Allen Garrison, Author Zebra $3.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8217-4503-8
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Former Marine and current mystery-bookstore owner Penelope Warren and her cat, Mycroft, come home one day to find the dead body of Empty Creek's wealthy busybody, Louise Fletcher, on their porch and involve themselves in the murder investigation. The murder weapon, a chopping knife, may have been intended for Warren, also known as Penny, since a penny is attached to the handle; later Warren discovers that the victim kept detailed files on almost every citizen of Empty Creek. This mystery has an appealing cast of eccentrics, including Warren's klutzy boyfriend, newspaper editor Harris Anderson III; romance novelist Elaine Henders; and Warren's sister, who acts in B-movies under the name of Storm Williams. The setting is a pleasant Arizona desert town whose single bar serves as a gathering place--even Mycroft laps up non-alcoholic beer while seated on a stool. The plot is thinner than that suspicious penny, however, and relies heavily on coy love scenes involving games with names like Sailor and Sex Machine. Allen, whose Come Nightfall was published under a pseudonym and nominated for an Edgar Award, does involve the feline without getting precious. (Mar.)
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