Today is Cathy Perkins’s day to blog with The Stiletto Gang. She’s ill, and not up to blogging, so I volunteered to take her day. Since it is her day, I thought I’d
tell you a story about Cathy, then do a review of her latest, The Body in the
Years ago, I
judged an unpublished mainstream entry called, “The Professor” in the Daphne du Maurier
Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense contest. That entry did very well and led to
her publication with Carina Press. What I didn’t know then was that entry, and
the subsequent connections surrounding it, would lead to the start of a
point, if Cathy had a release, I bought the book. Mainly because I enjoy her first-person
voice, dry wit, and love a good mystery. In addition to writing, she also has an eye for graphic
design. When getting ready to publish, Calling for the Money, her fourth
Holly Price financial mystery, she was at my house, sitting at my kitchen
counter trying to draft a design idea to give to her artist.
“Something like this,” she said, showing me
her handiwork on her iPad.
After I regained
my voice, I said, “This is so good! Why are you paying a cover artist?”
But I digress.
Some time ago, Cathy contacted me and said she wanted to do a spin-off of her Holly Price series–this one featuring Holly’s half-sister Keri Isles. Cathy already had the setting. It was the property she and Chuck had bought in the Cascade Mountains in Washington state.
She asked me
to do a beta read. I did, and told her in my subjective opinion the manuscript
was ready for publication. Obviously, others agreed. At Killer Nashville in
March of 2020, Cathy won the Claymore Award for The Body in the Beaver Pond.
It’s been a while since I read the unpublished
version, so I bought the published version. Trust me, The Body in the Beaver Pond was just as much fun
reading the second time around.
What’s the book about? Here goes:
divorced Keri Isles has left her home and event-planning job in Seattle and
moved on to a property she acquired in the divorce. Problem is the division of
assets is far from equitable as her ex is on friendly terms with the judge. While a Christmas tree farm, rustic cabin, and beaver pond sound idyllic and look good on paper—in reality the acreage includes a 1940s cabin with poor plumbing, an ancient tractor, constant treating of trees, as well as
back-breaking work to keep the place operational and out of the red.
woman to do in this situation? Spiff up the place, keep it running, hire a
realtor and hope it sells!
internal narrative and dialogue are so witty and so much fun to read. She
places you firmly in the head of a down-and-out protagonist—one you are rooting
for from page one. If running a Christmas tree farm isn’t laborious enough for
a single thirty-two-year-old woman, imagine an archeological dig next to
the property. One in which dimwitted students park a van on Keri’s newly planted Christmas
trees. When Keri complains to the excavation head, a pompous academic who inasmuch tells her to get lost, Keri has no intention of standing down.
characters and a yellow lab named IRA who has a penchant for digging up bones,
you can see where this is heading, right?
This is a
terrific start to a series, and call it a hunch, I think Keri may just learn to
love her little tree farm, her zany neighbors, new friends, and potential
love interest. I know I enjoyed spending time there and can heartily recommend The
Body in the Beaver Pond, a Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery by Cathy Perkins.
Finally, a note to my friend. Thinking of you, Cathy. Get well!!