Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: The Tell-Tail Heart by Monica Shaughnessy

The untold story behind Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Philadelphia, 1842: Poe’s cat, Cattarina, becomes embroiled in a killer’s affairs when she finds a clue to the crime – a glass eye. But it’s only when her beloved “Eddy” takes an interest that she decides to hunt down the madman. Her dangerous expedition takes her from creepy Eastern State Penitentiary to Rittenhouse Square where she runs into a gang of feral cats intent on stopping her.

As the mystery pulls Cattarina deeper into trouble, even Eddy becomes the target of suspicion. Yet she cannot give up the chase. Both her reputation as a huntress and her friend’s happiness are at stake. For if she succeeds in catching the Glass Eye Killer, the missing pieces of Eddy’s unfinished story will fall into place, and the Poe household will once again experience peace.



The only story that could one-up Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart is a story about Poe's cat investigating a series of murders; luckily, Ms. Shaughnessy has given us such a tale in her book The Tell-Tail Heart.

Given the cover, I figured there would be a cat in the story, but I didn't know she would be the narrator!  (And as it turns out, Poe and his wife at the time actually had a cat called Cattarina.)  Most cats aren't easy to get to know, as they are rather independent creatures, moreso than say, dogs.  But Cattarina herself tells us what she's thinking and how she wishes she could communicate with her humans in a common language.  She does have a surprising command of understanding the English language *lol*, but all of her attempts to utter words come out sounding like, "meow".

Apparently, Cattarina's human, Edgar Allan Poe (Eddy to his feline friends) is having trouble completing his latest work, and Cattarina is trying to help him get back in the swing of things.  One night, at a tavern, where Poe trades reading the newspaper article of the latest Glass Eye Killer murder for a julep, Cattarina finds a shiny play-pretty to bat about the floor ... which just happens to be a glass eye.  When they leave, she takes the object in her mouth and goes on her way.

Poe does not understand the alarming reactions coming 'his' way from several passersby on his stumble home that night.  But then, he doesn't know that Cattarina is carrying a glass eye in her mouth, either.  And things only get trickier from there.

Whether or not you like cats, The Tell-Tail Heart will enchant you.  You'll arch your back, hiss and spit at the danger and the 'bad guys'.  Nonetheless, you will purr with satisfaction, at least until you go in search of the next Cattarina Mystery.



Monica Shaughnessy has a flair for creating characters and plots larger than her home state of Texas. Most notably, she’s the author of the Cattarina Mysteries, a cozy mystery series starring Edgar Allan Poe’s real-life cat companion. Ms. Shaughnessy has nine books in print, including two young adult novels, a middle grade novel, a picture book, two cozy mystery novellas, and numerous short stories. Customers have praised her work time and again, calling it “unique and creative,” “fresh and original,” and “very well written.” If you’re looking for something outside the mainstream, you’ll find it in her prose.

When she’s not slaying adverbs and tightening plots, she’s walking her rescue dogs, goofing around with her family, or going back to the grocery store for the hundredth time because she forgot milk.


Click the logo button just above to go to the tour schedule, where you will find more reviews, as well as guest posts, interviews and giveaways!  You can also apply to become a book reviewer for Great Escapes while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I received an e-copy of this book from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)

No comments:

Post a Comment