USA Today Bestselling Author
DEAD IN PARADISE…
Key West is paradise–unless you’re the dead woman in the Toucan Suite. The Hemingway cats, Megs and Bartholomew, who wander the grounds of the B&B, think Liberty Anderson was a spy. But spying on whom? And why? Trouble, the black cat detective, must decipher their cryptic communications and piece together a motive for murder.
Ginger Browne runs the B&B on a shoestring. The Paradise is her home, her history, and her refuge. An unsolved murder could be the kiss of death for this native Conch’s struggle for financial and emotional security.
Trout Richardson is one of the many recluses who came to Key West to escape his past and work as a charter boat captain. Was Liberty merely a charter to him? Or is there more to their relationship?
Both Trout and Ginger resist their mutual attraction, but Trouble knows they’re on an irreversible course toward love and redemption. Trouble must help them resolve the mystery of Liberty’s murder and steer them down the path toward each other.
All while a killer roams the island paradise of the Conch Republic and a lost treasure is up for grabs.
Trouble’s human Tammy Lee, is off on a cruise. She leaves Trouble with her friend Ginger who owns a delightful Bed and Breakfast called Paradise. If you’ve been reading these books along with me you’ll know that Trouble is the son of a famous cat detective named Familiar, and he appears to have the same skills.
When Charter Captain Trout Richardson shows up looking for the woman who booked his boat, Ginger finds her guest, Liberty Anderson, deceased on her bed. Not a very good way to start a day in Paradise.
As the investigation begins, Trouble of course is in the middle of everything. I really love that every chapter begins with Trouble’s musings or interactions.
This is a favorite scene as he meets a couple of Hemingway Museum Cats.
I slip through the front door of the Paradise on the heels of a policeman. The grounds of the bed and breakfast are lush with foliage and I’m briefly distracted by a rather large iguana. He must be at least two feet long, tail to nose. We engage in a Mexican standoff, his beady eyes unflinching, but one flick of my tail and he darts away.
At the rear of the house is a narrow back porch that runs the length of the building. On the southeast corner a staircase runs up the east side to the second floor. At the top of these stairs, lying on his back, sprawled across the landing, is a very fat, gray cat. Beside him is a petite gray with white markings.
As I top the stairs, the petite gray ceases her complaining and turns her crossed-eyed gaze on me. Obviously curious about the cause of the sudden silence, the fat cat opens his eyes.
“Who’re you?” he asks.
He wriggles and squirms until he can get his feet under him and he strolls over to me. “We won’t have any trouble around here, you hear?”
I suppress a sigh. “My name is Trouble.”
The female begins to purr, moves beside the fat cat, and touches her nose to mine. Her eyes are very disconcerting.
“I’m Megs,” she says.
The fat cat muscles her to the side. “Where’d you come from?”
“What’s that? Wetumpka?”
They stare at me as if I had said the moon.
I know Ginger doesn’t own any pets. “Where’d you come from?”
The female motions with her head toward the east. “The museum. We’re Hemingway cats.”
The tone of her voice suggests I should be impressed by this revelation. When she gets no reaction from me she holds up her paw, a bodacious seven toes displayed for my edification, and glances at the fat cat. “Show him, Bartholomew,” she says.
Bartholomew grunts and lies back down, ignoring me and Megs.
She sidles up to me and rubs along the length of my body, purring all the while. “So, what brings you to Key West?”
I confess vanity made me say it. “Murder.”
Bartholomew lifts his large head, opens his eyes, and stares at me. Megs does a funny little quick step, right paw over left paw, left paw over right, three times in rapid succession.
Still unimpressed, Bartholomew says, “Who’d you kill, a mouse?”
Then he grins. That rather deflates my ego. “No one,” I say, “I’m a detective.”
“Wow.” Megs moves right up in my face. “You mean you solve crimes? Catch murderers?”
“Precisely. You may have heard of my father, Familiar?”
Bartholomew grunts, lies his head down, closes his eyes, and rolls onto his back.
“Are you on a case? Are you on a case?” Megs does her little dance.
Normally I play my cards close to my vest, but given that Megs and Bartholomew appear to use the premises as they wish, I see the benefit of putting them in the know.
“Where were you both last night?”
“You are on a case!” Meg’s crossed-eyes almost twirl like a whirly-gig in her excitement. “Is it murder?”
“Yes, I’m on a case and it’s most definitely murder.”
“Oh, oh, oh! Can I help? Can I be your sidekick?”
“What you can do is tell me if you were on the grounds of the Paradise last night and anything you saw.”
“Yes!” Megs does her little dance. “We were a…”
“Megs!” Bartholomew growls and rocks back and forth until his great weight shifts and he is once again on his feet. “We were at the museum, in our beds in the cat house. We weren’t spying on anyone.”
“Oh, right.” Megs says, as she looks from me to Bartholomew then back to me. “We weren’t violating the court order. Honest.”
“Court order? What court order?” Hello. What have I uncovered?
“What are you talking about?” Bartholomew asks. “We’re cats. We know nothing of legal wranglings and officious secret agents.” He suddenly discovers a need to groom between his toes.
Megs lowers her gaze and moves to the corner of the landing, gazing out across the back lawn. She won’t look at me.
Well, something is afoot here, but it must take a back seat to the matter at hand. Whatever these two know could be vital to finding a killer.
Rebecca Barrett. Trouble in Paradise: Familiar Legacy #6 (Kindle Locations 307-344). KaliOka Press.
This tale gets more intriguing as you turn the pages. Adding to the murder there is also the occupant of the ‘Bird Cage’ room that keeps expecting phone calls. Plus some someone is looking for something, causing even more havoc for poor Ginger.
Fast-paced and fun with intrigue and suspense, plus some romance aided by Trouble as well.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca!
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Rebecca Barrett writes historical fiction, romantic mysteries, post-apocalyptic fiction (writing as Campbell O’Neal), children’s stories, and short stories of life in the South. An avid reader all her life and a product of “front porch” socializing, she became a story-teller at an early age.
Her current novel, Trouble in Paradise, features that handsome, sleek, black cat detective, Trouble. The game is afoot in Key West, Florida and there’s a dead body in the Toucan Suite of the Paradise B&B. This is Rebecca Barrett’s second book in this series written by multiple authors (The Mad Catters) who follow the antics of super-sleuth Trouble as he lands in first one crime scene then another. Of course, the humans help a little. These romantic mysteries are fun and light hearted and just perfect for a beach read or a rainy day.