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  • first pubbed in the 1990s – it has aged well

    One for the Money was originally published back in the 1990s and is just now being reissued in e-book. However, it has aged well, perhaps because it never took itself too seriously to start with. Cat Caliban has finally buried her husband, Fred, who probably hadn’t really listened to her in the last twenty years. And with her kids also (mostly) out of the house, she wants something new to do. So she decides to become a PI. If you think this sounds like shades of Mrs Pollifax, don’t worry – Cat admits a few pages in that Mrs Pollifax is one of her role models, and also the reason she’s thinking about taking karate lessons. But One for the Money has its own style, and its own sense of humor, and I quite liked it. When Cat buys and becomes the landlady of a small apartment building in an edgier (read “poorer”) part of Cincinnati, she bewilders some folks from her former life, as well as her two older children. But she picks up a new group of friends and tenants who add a lot to her life. And this cast of characters helps her solve the murder of a local unhoused person, Betty Bags, who has the audacity to turn up dead in one of Cat’s empty apartments. It turns out Betty, and Betty’s friend, Lucille, had unexpected pasts, and the past is never too far away… All-in-all, I enjoyed One for the Money, both for the mystery itself, and also for the surprisingly modern world view of its protagonist, Cat. I try to fight star-flation a bit, and I only give five stars to maybe one in thirty or forty books that I read. So four stars it is, but that is a really solid recommendation from me – and I wish I could give it four-and-one-half stars. A few folks might be offended by Cat’s habit of swearing, started when she was trying to figure out if Fred really wasn’t listening to her, but pretty much everyone else will find something to like in here. My thanks to NetGalley and Boomerang for an advance review copy. And now I’m going to have to read the next one in the series!

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