Dolled Up to Die, by Lorena McCourtney (Revell, 2013)
Cate Kinkaid is a private investigator—assistant PI, she’s quick to point out, which means she’s not allowed to carry a gun. Not that she should need one, since Belmont Investigations doesn’t take cases involving violence. Somebody should tell the criminals that last bit, because Dolled Up to Die is Cate’s second encounter with murder.
Cate wants to find out who killed her client JoJo’s ex-husband before the police decide it was JoJo herself. JoJo designs custom-made, child-sized dolls. She may talk about them as if they’re real, and she may have a donkey for a watchdog, but she’s not a killer… is she?
The Cate Kincaid Files books are cozy mysteries, with interesting characters and more focus on solving the crime than on frightening the reader. Even when Cate’s in danger, the suspense isn’t over-the-top. Cate is lovably impulsive, a bit too sympathetic for her own good, and not so sure of herself, but she’s enjoying this PI gig and she’s still alive to tell about it.
This story has a bit more Christian content than the previous one, because one of the characters professes to be able to discover facts about people’s “past lives” and when she encourages Cate’s boyfriend, Mitch, to try it out, he’s uncomfortable enough that he blurts out his Christian view of the subject in self-defense.
Octavia the deaf cat is back in this book, occasionally trying her paw at assisting the assistant PI. Octavia isn’t as adept as the cats in Lilian Jackson Braun‘s The Cat Who… series, but she occasionally points Cate in a useful direction.
You don’t have to have read the first book, Dying to Read, to enjoy this one, but if you plan to read them both, do it in order to avoid spoilers. New York Times best-selling author Lorena McCourtney is perhaps most widely known for her Ivy Malone series, where “LOL” means “Little Old Lady.” If you like Ivy, or you like mysteries with a bit of humour, check out Cate Kincaid. You can read an excerpt of Dolled up to Die, or view the readers group guide if you’ve already read it, by clicking the links.