As Sheriff Dan Rhodes of Blacklin County, Texas, prepares to crack his 14th case (A Mammoth Murder, 2006, etc.), he confronts a cat he’d prefer on someone else’s hot tin roof.
Dan Rhodes and Sam, the feline he instantly dislikes, are brothers under the fur. They’re both laid back to the point of somnolence, but they’re deceptively smart. Dan grudgingly acknowledges the intelligence of the unwanted guest who’s taken up residence on his back porch, a place he probably wouldn’t have been if his rightful owner hadn’t just met the grisliest of ends. Now elderly Helen Harris is stretched out on her kitchen floor, her white curls battered and bloody. As Dan, Sam in hand, stares down at her, that perennial sleuth’s question is uppermost: Who would have wanted to harm her? In the days that follow, a surprising variety of candidates put themselves forward, beginning with the ladies of OWLS (Older Women’s Literary Society), a group that belies the surface gentility Dan at first takes for granted. As he wises up, he discovers that owlish ladies can have smoldering passions. And, oh yes, that a clever cat can have his ways.
Laconic, wryly amusing Sheriff Dan is in top form in his best excursion in a long time.