The Bengal Identity (A Cat Groomer Mystery) by Eileen Watkins

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Bengal IdentityAs book two of the Cat Groomer series opens readers find Cassie McGlone hard at work planning her booth for the upcoming Chadwick town festival. Business at Cassie’s Comfy Cats Grooming and Boarding has picked up significantly since the events in book one. So when a nervous acting man brings in a cat desperate to board it for a few days saying he had suffered a house fire, Cassie was lucky to have a kennel available for the Ayesha. The man paid for a week’s boarding in advance then left. Cassie became suspicious of the young man’s story when upon bathing Ayesha a few times a beautiful coat with rosettes began to appear. After Mark her veterinarian boyfriend, examined Ayesha he told Cassie that this was not just another domestic cat,, but that Ayesha was most probably a Bengal and worth quite a lot of money.

There are a couple of side stories going on including the local festival, “funny” crops being raised at the organic farm and the developing relationship between Mark and Cassie. But the main plot is the cat. Who owns the cat? Why did the young man who brought the cat in have her, and what happened to him? And who is after the cat and why?

Some of what happens along the way in this book is fairly predictable like there is reason to believe some people want to steal the cat for instance. However there are a host of interesting characters from the town thrown in to the story to make up for the predictable plot points. Some characters add to the local color, some end up being suspects and some just add to the overall plot, but to a one, they are nicely done and make the book interesting to read.

I really like this book and series, not because it is a book centered on cats per say, but because it gives readers more. Again as with the first book in the series, The Persian Always Rings Twice, it is easy to dismiss this book as another “cat cozy,” but that is selling the book short. The Bengal Identity gives readers a look into the interesting world of exotic cats-both those bred to be domestic and those that are crosses between domestic cats and actual wild cats. It should be eye opening for anyone contemplating purchasing one of these cats as Cassie gives readers a good look at the amount of work and money that it takes to healthily maintain one of these high energy, high maintenance animals.

I understand there is a third book coming out later this year titled Feral Attraction. After taking on the fussy breeds of domestics in the first book, exotics in the second, I am interested to see what Watkins gives readers on ferals in volume three.

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