The second U.S. release of the British Atticus Claw series finds Atticus outwitting pirates at sea.
This installment takes place after two earlier books not yet published in the U.S. but contains enough back story that readers will have little trouble following the series. Atticus has settled in happily with the Cheddar family and enjoys his new job as a community police cat. A message in a bottle (found by a kitten during a beach cleanup) hints at a long-lost magical mermaid who can grant any wish. This may prove useful when the terrible pirate Capt. Black Beard-Jumper (a mysterious term never explained to the U.S. audience) inflicts a terrible death curse on Inspector Cheddar. Only the mermaid can lift the curse, so they must race against the dreadful pirate captain, who has joined forces with the nasty trio of magpies from Atticus Claw Breaks the Law (2016), to find her in time. The Cheddar family and Atticus join their friend Mr. Tucker, a former pirate himself, on a voyage to find the mermaid. Of course, things go awry, and it looks as though Inspector Cheddar has had it, but readers will not be surprised that Atticus finds a way to win. Gray keeps the story mostly light, although a story about drowning kittens adds a dark note. The principal humans appear to be white.
Plenty of humor, along with the intrepid kitty, keeps things sailing. (Fantasy. 8-12)