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Mystery Review: One for the Money, D.B. Borton (1993, 2020)



"The 'good reputation for integrity' shit I can fake and I haven't been convicted of a felony or moral turpitude in the last twenty years." - Cat Caliban, One for the Money

Cat Caliban is the grandmother we all want to have (or, like me, aspire to be). A sassier Mrs. Polifax, Cat decides to become a P.I. after the death of her husband, Fred. After all, she reasons, "suspicion is second nature to any woman who's raised three kids." So she sells her suburban house, buys an apartment building in a gentrifying neighborhood, and takes up karate, accounting, shooting, forensics, and other topics any self-respecting P.I. should know.


She stumbles upon her first body by accident - a homeless woman has been dumped in one of her empty rental units - and launches into an investigation that will lead her to Golden Age Hollywood, fine wine, and the abandoned subway tunnels of Cincinnati. (Just wait until Cat decides to try a stakeout. Borton manages to make the most boring part of most investigations hilarious and compelling.) Cat's assisted in her investigation by a colorful cast of cast of characters from her new neighborhood, along with cats Sidney, Sadie, and Sophie.


This is the second D.B. Borton I'd read after Bayou City Burning and I'm queueing up the next books in the Caliban series. One for the Money is a light-hearted, laugh out loud romp of mystery, and more than anything, I wanted to spend more time listening to Cat tell another story


A great read, highly recommended, especially recommended for fans of Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Polifax and Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone.

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