Published: October 3, 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina firstname.lastname@example.org
Annabelle (Annie) Britton has settled down into life in Portsmouth with her pet cat Alastair, her friends and her coven sisters. Yes, coven sisters. Annie is a witch and Alastair is not your ordinary, average, every day house cat – he is her familiar. That same comes from a family of witches as new to Annie, but she’s learning to live with her special set of talents – and her familiar’s ability and penchant to disappear just when you need or want him most—like a visit to the vet. Portsmouth, however, happens to have a resident vet who is also a witch – one who has no problem circumventing various familiars’ special talents. Annie forms and instant bond with Ramona, the vet, as does Alastair. While at the vet she meets the famous Attitude Cat and her person. Also while there Cheryl Bell descends on them demanding to take Ruby, aka Attitude Cat. It seems the little cat is in the middle of quite the custody dispute. When Ramona turns up dead and Ruby disappears Annie quickly finds herself in the middle of the search for the killer and catnapper. Despite her best efforts to stay out of the investigation it quickly becomes evident there is more at work than a murder…there is a good chance a witch is involved.
FAMILIAR MOTIVES, the third of Delia James’s Witches Cat mystery series is a bit dark for a cozy, but that’s not a bad thing since it shows a nice expansion of James’s writing. James clearly gets cats and their pernickety and independent ways and she also knows the craft. While she does “Hollywoodize” some craft aspects, she does respect the basic creed and portrays it well. The delves nicely into family – both by blood and by choice – dynamics and the ups and downs of relationships in a realistic way. She does a wonderful job of showing how our loyalties and relationships can collide while telling a really good story.
I was pretty sure I knew who the killer was when that character was introduced. It wasn’t that hard to tell, but how Annie tracked the killer down was creative and at the same time gave the character some good development. I also applaud James for not falling into the “love triangle” debacle so many cozies deteriorate into. With grandma BB about to return to Portsmouth this series can only get more fun and more interesting.
Each book is a standalone and you don’t really have to have read the prior books or read them in order although doing so shows you the nice progression of the character’s personalities and relationships.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.
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