The Clawed Monet by A.M. Bostwick
Publisher: Prizm Books
Genre: Middle Grade, Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (190 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Feline reporter-turned-detective Ace is on the trail of a new mystery following the scandalous opening of a new art exhibit at the historic Rhys Art Museum. When opening night is lights out after a peculiar power failure and a priceless Monet reproduction is clawed beyond repair, all paws point to the new curator’s prim and proper feline – Miss Kitty. Hired by Miss Kitty, Ace and his feline friends are out to find the real criminal and restore the untarnished reputation of Miss Kitty and her art curator companion before they are fired. Setting aside his duties at The Oakdale Register, Ace finds himself trailing the shadow of a “ghost cat” through the historic district and a cemetery, as well as interrogating museum guests, local residents and even a so-called mysterious psychic cat to try and solve the crime. He’ll have to fend off a pack of Dobermans and contend with a gang of raccoons- all under tight deadline. This mystery is filled with adventure, suspense and humor – all from the first-person point-of-view from a cat.
It’s tricky to solve a mystery without giving humans any clues about what animals do when people aren’t around.
The dialogue was playful and well written. I was especially amused by all of the puns that the author fit into the conversations. Some of them were pretty clever, especially since the characters didn’t always seem to realize what they were saying or why the audience would find it so funny. Catching on to these puns was one of my favorite parts of the entire story.
I had problems keeping track of all of the characters and their backstories. The physical descriptions of them were clear, but their personalities and speaking styles were so similar that I often mixed everyone up. This was an issue because most of the time they were described by their personality instead of what they looked like. It would have been helpful to have a wider mixture of personality types so that I could quickly narrow down who was speaking when the text didn’t make it clear right away. I do like putting work into remembering facts about characters, but this tale didn’t give me enough facts to work with when I was creating mental images of what all of the cats and dogs were like. It had such a large cast of characters that I was even more confused than I might have been if the storyline had fewer animals.
Trying to figure out who damaged the painting was entertaining. Ms. Bostwick gave me exactly the right amount of clues, and they were revealed in a logical and steady order. While this was written for a middle grade audience, it’s something I could see adults enjoying as well because of how interesting the mystery was. The cat’s sense of humor about all of the things they had to go through in order to figure out the hints made this case a lot of fun to read.
This book is the second in a series. I haven’t read the first one yet, but I had no trouble at all jumping right into the plot. It can definitely be read out of order.
I’d recommend The Clawed Monet to anyone who enjoys animal mysteries.