How to Catch a Cat: 01/24/16
How to Catch a Cat by Rebecca M. Hale is the sixth in the Cats and Curios series. It's also a departure from the previous books in that it contains lengthy historical flashbacks.
In the present, it's 2013 during the America's Cup. Meanwhile the knitting needle serial killer is back. Her rampage is tied up to a similar set of deaths that happened during the San Carlos's discovery of la Boca del Puerto de San Francisco (aka the Golden Gate) in 1775.
Granted the ship was considered cursed by its crew and it certainly had numerous mishaps, but none as described here in How to Catch a Cat. Now I know, I should just take the book as a work of fiction but in the past a big part of the series's charm has been its attention to historical detail. Now that's tossed aside for the convenience of telling a parallel plot against the past and present.
I found the historical flashbacks too distracting so I ultimately gave up on reading them and settled instead on just the present day mystery. Here I was riveted with Oscar's death, perhaps at the hand of the serial killer, the hilarity of the host of the America's cup being called "The Baron" and at the interim mayor of San Francisco being desperate to get a bigger piece of the regatta.
In the real world, the 2013 America's Cup was a flop. As an ex-San Diegan who remembers America's cups of yore, I spent much of the summer shaking my head, giggling and pointing (except when there was a tragic death). San Francisco was ill prepared and the main sponsor learned a harsh lesson that a regatta isn't the same thing as a computer conference!
If you take away the flashbacks to the San Carlos, the present day mystery is basically a novella. The same information, especially about the type of murder weapon the killer was using, could have been imparted in the chit-chatty history lessons of the previous books. It could have even been tied to one of the niece's many walks about town with her cats. That I would have lapped up.