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    Review of THE CAT WHO WASN'T A DOG by Marian Babson

    Thomas Dunne, St. Martin's Minotaur, August 2003

    When their friend's ancient dog dies, actors Trixie and Evangeline are summoned to help grieve--and help assist the dog on its way to the taxidermist who will immortalize its remains. Despite an appointment, however, no one appears to be at the taxidermist--at least no one alive. When Trixie finds a living cat, a dead man, and a fast-spreading fire, the three women flee--accidentally leaving behind the mortal remains of Fleur-de-Lys.

    Getting away from a fire is one thing--getting away from murder is something else. The police soon identify the aging actresses and their driver as witnesses--or suspects. Trixie and Evangeline have to return to the scene of the crime, witness the dreadful rehersals for a reprisal of Arsenic and Old Lace, and deal with a number of unlikable and unsavory characters including their hostess's step-mother, the director, the lead man, and a friend of Evangeline who is intent on making big bucks in investment. Trixie finds herself more and more attached to the rescued cat, Cho-Cho-San, but there are plenty of other claimants for Cho-Cho's love. Still, somebody had left the living cat at the taxidermist--with instructions to have it stuffed.

    Author Marian Babson does a great job developing her characters--with the blend of competition and mutual support that typifies the thespian professions. Her writing is light and enjoyable with plenty of places that left me with a big smile on my face. Mystery fans will notice that the actual solving of the mystery goes on outside of the book--the primary protagonists aren't really involved in solving the murder(s) or arson. I would have thought that this would detract from my reading pleasure but, to my surprise, it didn't. THE CAT WHO WASN'T A DOG is a fun and enjoyable novel.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/28/04

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