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Lending a Paw: 03/02/16
Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass is the start of the Bookmobile Cat Mystery series. Minnie, the assistant director at Chilson, Michigan library has taken the initiative and gotten a bookmobile. As such she's also volunteered herself to be its driver (on top of her other duties). The two rules that she must follow and ends up breaking on her maiden voyage: she must have an assistant and no pets. Due to circumstances beyond her control she ends up without an assistant except for her cat, Eddie.
As you can imagine, Eddie ends up being the star of the show and soon the entire town is keeping him secret. Then everything goes pear-shaped when Minnie discovers a body while trying to chase down Eddie.
While Eddie is certainly a plot device, he's not given any extra sensory perception skills like some cozy mystery cats. We aren't allowed into his head and his only form of communication with Minnie is through typical cat body language, purring, and his "mrrr."
Minnie's ability to help in solving this case (and future ones) is enhanced by her mobility (the bookmobile) and her skills as a librarian. As the town is small there's also an abundance of local knowledge with a similar feel to the Needlecraft Mysteries by Monica Ferris.