*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author and Farrago. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Psychic cat Irene Peggledrip is being visited by a band of malevolent spirits who all claim to be murderers. Not only is their message disturbing, but they cause chaos with indoor snowstorms, flying books and the untimely demise of a delicious Victoria sponge. Irene calls in Hettie and Tilly of the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency to help, but they’re not sure how far their skills reach into the spirit realm.
Meanwhile, Lavender Stamp, the town’s bad-tempered postmistress cat, has some good news to deliver to Tilly: she has won a competition to take afternoon tea with renowned mystery writer Agatha Crispy at her Devon home, Furaway House.
Will Hettie and Tilly finally lay the ghosts to rest? Can Molly Bloom’s new café survive the seance? And will the moving claw give up its secrets before the gravy congeals? Find out in this latest adventure of our favourite feline sleuths.
Those already familiar with this series, or who have read my previous review of Magical Mystery Paws will know what to expect from this new instalment of Hettie and Tilly’s adventures, but for those unfamiliar I will just briefly explain: they are cats, but they are also ‘people’.
Hettie and Tilly run a detective agency, love baked goods and a cosy life. They wear clothes and ride in motorbike sidecars, write notes and read books. They are also cats. They love a good stretch and to curl up for a nap in a chair in front of the fire.
Mandy Morton has created an engaging twist on the cosy detective novel here, with an affectionate tip of the collar to Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Morton brings a style entirely her own to the genre, not only with the anthropomorphic feline cast, but also with a tongue-in-cheek lightness characterised by silly names (Agatha Crispy) and frequent puns.
This book was slightly different to others I have read in the series, as it introduced a paranormal element – ghosts and psychic visions – that wasn’t there before. Even the characters retain a healthy scepticism about the ghostly goings-on, and look for alternative explanations. I will leave you to find out for yourselves whether they are successful or spooked!
This series is the perfect warm, fluffy cosy mystery read for fans of Agatha Crispy-style mysteries and cat-lovers alike. Grab yourself a cream slice and a cuppa, and curl up by the fire with Hetty, Tilly and their latest ectoplasmic adventure!
Tilly jotted the names down and Hettie slid back down the line of headstones to check for any further clues on the inscriptions. Carman Veranda was ‘At rest from the fruits of her labours’, and Hettie smiled: in life, Carman had had a fruit stall on the Tuesday market. Baxter Crimp’s epitaph singled him out as ‘A cut above the rest’ – perfect for the cat who had run the town’s barbers.
– Mandy Morton, Beyond the Gravy
You can follow Mandy Morton on Twitter and Goodreads.
Beyond the Gravy is available on Amazon right now!
Find my review of Magical Mystery Paws here and my previous Q&A with the author here.