Monday 30 October 2023


Book review: The Cat Who Solved Three Murders (Conrad the Cat Detective #2) by L T Shearer

The Cat Who Solved Three Murders had me sold with its premise (and lovely cover) as our family cat is a calico so I have a particular soft spot for these mischievous creatures. Not only that, but I also know an adorable cat who lives on a London canal boat, just like Conrad – it was clearly meant to be! And I'm so glad to say that this book lived up to its furry expectations, and then some. 

About The Cat Who Solved Three Murders

Lulu and her cat Conrad (who talks, but only to her) are invited over to a 60th birthday party of an old friend. Julia and Bernard recently have come into a lot of money and they've moved to a mansion near Oxford, which takes Lulu's breathe away when she and Conrad arrive the day before the party. She doesn't have long to take in the view, however, because they find themselves amidst an ongoing police investigation. Someone broke into the study of the house, stealing valuable paintings, knocking out Bernard, and murdering the man he was with.

As a former police detective, Lulu can't help noticing clues and asking just the right kinds of questions to keep the investigative officer on her toes. They soon start working together, with the calico cat on Lulu's shoulders whispering helpful things he's noticed into her ears... 

My review

The Cat Who Solved Three Murders is the second novel in the Conrad the Cat Detective series by L T Shearer, but don't let that deter you from picking it up. I had not read the first book, The Cat Who Caught a Killer, but I was able to easily follow along with this one. While the two protagonists are the same, the setting, side characters, and murder mystery are brand-new so this book can be read as a standalone. Although I loved it so much that now I will be reading the first one too! 

While I did have to get used to the fact that Conrad can talk in actual human speech – to Lulu at least – once I suspended disbelief (coincidentally a key plot point in the murder mystery too) I enjoyed his quibs and relationship with Lulu. And given cats' excellent hearing and eyesight, he was able to pull his weight in the investigation. He didn't quite solve the murders as the title makes it out to be, but it certainly would've been harder, if not impossible, without him. 

And Lulu brought just as much to the investigation. She is smart, a go-getter, and is both a great friend to Julia throughout the story as well as a solid unofficial partner to inspector Tracey Calder. Theirs is a blossoming friendship we'll hopefully see more of in future novels. I particularly enjoyed those scenes in the book where our dynamic trio – Lulu, Conrad, and Tracey – take their investigative work away from the scene of the crime as they visit different places to scope out people of interest. 

The murder mystery itself was extremely enjoyable (if you can call it that). It was fairly easy to follow along with the thought process of our protagonists and several times I uncovered a clue before they did. I was even able to guess "whodunnit" fairly early on in the story, thought I'm not sure if that's because there were fewer red herrings in this murder mystery than I'm used to, or if with each one I read I've become just a little better at solving them. Either way, I enjoyed feeling clever to have put the pieces of the puzzle together!

I did find the ending somewhat abrupt. This was most certainly intended to leave the door open for various characters to return in future adventures, nonetheless I would've loved to have had more of conclusion and understand where everyone ended up post-investigation. I guess I'll have to try and be patient and wait for the next instalment. 

The Cat Who Solved Three Murders is part of a great new series for whodunnit fans to dive into. It combines the country house setting of a classic Agatha Christie with the contemporary aspects of Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club and adds a quick-witted feline into the mix. And why not. Everything is better with a cat – even murder mysteries. 

The Cat Who Solved Three Murders by L T Shearer is published by Macmillan and you can now get a copy from your favourite local bookshop!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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