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How to Wash a Cat (The Cats and Curios Mystery #1)

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  1,208 Ratings  ·  223 Reviews
How to Wash a Cat (Cats and Curios Mystery)
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Berkley
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(showing 1-30)
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May 30, 2010 Nicola rated it did not like it
In this book, the owner of the Green Vase antiques shop dies in mysterious circumstances and leaves the shop to his niece who moves in with her two cats. She is immediately latched onto my Monty Carmichael whose nosiness helps her with the mystery. It turns out that the fate of her uncle is intricately linked with the fate of William Leidesdorff, a man who was influential in the early days of San Francisco and the gold rush.

It was only when I went to make notes for this review that I realised th
Feb 06, 2010 Denise rated it it was ok
Several times as I was reading this book I stopped and thought "what is the mystery?" in this book. I found the book somewhat confusing and even now as I have finished it I don't feel like I really "got" the story. I even went back this morning and reread the end. Maybe I'm trying to make too much of it, but I just feel confused. I would be interested to hear from others that have read the book and hear what they thought.
Jun 02, 2011 Christine rated it it was ok
NO...just no. Seriously, there was so much wrong with this. You can't just throw a bunch of history (which was the best part) in with some characters that barely make sense and seem hardly tolerable, and wrap up a mystery in two pages with explanations that explain nothing and mystery people in disguise. AND THEN....the protagonist who has remained nameless is you?!? No. Nope. Unh uh. Not having it. Seriously, don't waste your time.
Jessica Robbins
Apr 13, 2017 Jessica Robbins rated it really liked it
For complete review check out my blog at https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogs...
Oct 18, 2015 Kirsti rated it did not like it
This is one of my favorite genres, so I was left feeling completely disappointed that I didn't like ANYTHING about this book. The characters, the setting, the language, the writing. Hell, I'm not even sure I liked the cats! (WHAT?)

Basically most of the language felt like the author had picked up a thesaurus for every second word. A good example is using the word 'callous' to describe the wind. In a modern mystery novel, described from the POV of a mystery character that never gets a name, it jus
Jul 30, 2011 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2011
Well, this book had a lot of potential for a good mystery ... but it just didn't quite get there for me. I spent most of the book wondering what the real mystery was. The main character (what was her name? are we ever told?) lacked definition and other characters were not well-developed either which caused me to confuse a couple of them. The main character (I don't know what to call her) didn't trust Monty but never had the backbone to stand up to him, which I found annoying. The story line its ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Scott rated it it was ok
Sorry about it, but no to this one. No, every noun does not need two adjectives. No, I don't appreciate that the cats are better characterized than the characters. (I find that true enough real life.) And no, I will not spoil the ending for you because I have no idea what happened.

This has the potential to be a solid beach read, but stylistic problems got in the way. It's one of those books that makes you think "The next one might be better." So maybe it is. I will tell you later.
Marshall Thornton
Aug 11, 2010 Marshall Thornton rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. It was originally a self-publication that was picked up by Berkley, so I was definitely rooting for the author. It has a great title and a considerable amount of charm in the premise. However, it's very over-written, particularly in the first few chapters. She reminded me of students I had when I taught freshman English who felt they needed to use obscure adjectives to impress me - I wasn't impressed. As the book continued, the plot meandered and never seemed t ...more
Mar 08, 2016 Cissa rated it liked it
Despite some intriguing premises, this mystery seems to miss the mark.

The plot flailed. There was too much going on, and it did not, in the end, come together in a coherent way that made sense of the previous events.

Like most "cozy" mysteries, this one had a full cast of eccentric characters. I wish they had been more coherently depicted.

And the cats. Sigh. I read this because of the cats. These cats, while at least they do not speak English, are all to anthropomorphic- tiny humans in fuzzy coat
Deborah Darsie
Loads of potential mostly unrealized.

Uncle Oscar did not deserve to die, nor did we readers deserve to be subjected to Monty and his interfering & prattling. The bits of history about San Francisco (if they aren't real history the writer missed their calling!) were intriguing.

There were some interesting personalities beginning to be characters...but the pace of development was glacial at times. I kept hoping I would detect the purpose for the mystery and the eventual 'flourish' was only loos
Janet Windeguth
There were several things that bugged me about this book and made it impossible to continue. The author's poor use of grammar ("I drug myself up the steps"), her strange descriptive powers ("I ran a caffeine-coated tongue over my top lip"), and the sheer unlikelihood of some of the events she describes (would a cat upstairs really walk so heavily as to rain down plaster from the downstairs ceiling?) are just a few. 139 pages is as far as I got before giving up in disgust.
Oct 10, 2010 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
This book tried to do too many things—offer a mystery, discuss San Francisco and gold rush history, create a cast of wacky characters, and start a series. It didn't do any of them very well, except perhaps offering interesting tidbits of California history. It's a first novel, so I should probably give the author a bit of a break. I'm sorry she didn't have a more helpful editor.
Jul 05, 2013 Jan rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit, own-copy
Just a cozy little read one should not give too much thought less you find all the holes in the plot. The historical part was interesting for what it was worth, some characters quite annoying and two cats whose lineage I would question.
Nov 29, 2011 Sally rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
I only give this three stars because of the inventiveness of the setting, opening layout of the mystery and the quirkiness of the characters. Even that may be a little generous, because I felt that there was so much more potential that was ignored by the author. The resolution of the mystery was not very satisfying in that it still left unanswered questions in my mind and I thought, while reading the "reveal" near the end, that I had already picked up on those things as the story had progressed. ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
I've given a 3 star rating only because of all the people ,
are hard to keep track of . also there is great California history in this book and although a fiction book I do believe most of the historical stuff to be true .. its not like me not to research the accuracy of historical info while reading . but I mostly just do that while reading books about Oregon and especially books based around Portland Oregon or the Oregon coast ... I love to look up on maps where the author is speaking of and lo
Aug 31, 2015 Kimberly rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery-cozy-cat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2012 MD rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I bought this thinking it would be a quick, fun read that I could then share with a couple other cat-lovers in my family. It does have a lot of faults. The cats are ascribed motives and behaviors that aren't the least bit feline, and the plotting was pretty weak. But overall, I've read much worse writing and I'm willing to try another book in the series.

One of the things I liked about the book was the history. I do tend to like historical aspects in mysteries, and I especially liked that her hi
Mar 28, 2011 Almeta rated it really liked it
Shelves: dying2read
I expected this to be another formulaic cozy…out of depth heroine inherits quirky shop from recently deceased relative, who was said to have died of natural causes. There are clues that seem to say otherwise...heroine investigates and gets in deep water. (view spoiler)

How to Wash a Cat is all of THAT but so cleverly written that you won’t care.

Lots of San Francisco history like the Palace Hotel and Hotaling’s Whiskey, scenery like the Presidio a
Nov 26, 2012 Nikkie rated it did not like it
It would have more appealing to me had the leading lady had an actual back bone and not been a door mat to whatever stranger male character dictated her life.

To be honest, I more than likely have become so pampered by reading loads of stories in which the leading lady is strong and determined, powerful and yet vulnerable at times to that encountering women who are presented as spineless or are like a female Charlie Brown - it rather turns me off from reading what has the potential for a good st
Sep 04, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
I SO badly wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. The main character was weak and whiney and there were way too many other characters that I could barely keep them straight. The author randomly threw in big words that I am pretty sure didn't make sense in context. Plus, the way she wrote the cats to have some human traits was just bizarre. I think I really miss the LJB Cat Who series and am still looking for something to take it's place. This series is NOT it, unfortunately.
Sep 28, 2010 Kallierose rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I found the constant attempt at alliteration a little annoying, and the editing was poorly done. Several times I was thrown out of the narrative by an improper word choice or something that I suspected wasn't a word at all. Also, the ending was such a hurried, lumpy mess that I still don't really know who did what.
May 30, 2016 Evan rated it it was ok
I don't know what I just read, but it wasn't a mystery, nor were the characters memorable. I found myself rolling my eyes and wanting to hit myself against a brick wall. It made no sense whatsoever, and I'm not that hard to please with cozy mysteries... But this was just a huge NO.
Nov 29, 2012 Katie rated it liked it
This was a light fluffy book that had and air of cuteness about it and I enjoyed it. A great book to read while trying to fall asleep or killing time just waiting (in a car, the hospital, a casino after you have lost all your money). Easy to get into and easy to put down.
Dec 30, 2013 Spanishliz rated it it was ok
The title was the best thing about this one, and the cats the only characters I cared much about. Skimmed the final few chapters, but could just have easily put it down altogether.
Dec 25, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Fun read, particularly for cat lovers.
Feb 24, 2017 Lynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, humor, mystery
Today's post is on How to Wash a Cat by Rebecca M. Hale. It is the first in her The Cats and Curios mystery series. It is 295 pages long and is published by Berkley Prime Crime Mystery. The cover has a very pretty white and orange cat looking into a trap door with a junk shop behind her. The intended reader is someone who likes cozy mysteries, quirky characters, and fun writing. There is no foul language, no sex, and mild violence in this book. The story is told from first person perspective of ...more
Erin L
Jun 07, 2010 Erin L rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 31, 2016 Tanya rated it it was ok
How to Wash a Cat is a mystery about an accountant named Rebecca who inherits her uncle's antique shop, The Green Vase, after he dies suddenly. She moves in with her two cats, Isabella and Rupert, and meets the other shop owners and residents of the neighborhood before getting swept up in a mystery surrounding a man from the gold rush.

The book was ok, but the author uses a lot of adjectives and adverbs. A lot. There were so many in the beginning of the book that I got annoyed and put it down. I
Sarah Sammis
Apr 19, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
How to Wash a Cat by Rebecca M Hale is the first of the Cats and Curios series. It's set in and around Jackson Square, San Francisco, California. The setting and it's emphasis on San Francisco history seem to be two details that either make it or break it for readers. Let me be up front and say, I LOVED THE BOOK.

Now before I go into the review itself, you should know a few things about me. I am the daughter of an antique dealer. I grew up in a home very much like the Green Vase (including the oc
Jun 05, 2014 Fictionophile rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries, animals
"How to wash a cat" is surely a title created to lure cat lovers, and it worked for me, a diehard cat fancier. There are two cats in this novel, promising twice the enjoyment. A cozy mystery by a first time author, this book was certain to succeed and it placed on the New York Times bestseller list.

The nameless protagonist of the story is a female accountant and niece of Oscar, the owner of an antiques store in historic San Francisco. The setting holds promise and the historical references to th
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NY Times bestselling author Rebecca M. Hale lives in Western Colorado with her feline writing associates - when she’s not off researching future books set in San Francisco, the Caribbean, or wherever else her wandering spirit takes her.
More about Rebecca M. Hale...

Other Books in the Series

The Cats and Curios Mystery (6 books)
  • Nine Lives Last Forever (The Cats and Curios Mystery Series, #2)
  • How to Moon a Cat (The Cats and Curios Mystery Series, #3)
  • How to Tail a Cat (The Cats and Curios Mystery Series, #4)
  • How to Paint a Cat (The Cats and Curios Mystery, #5)
  • How to Catch a Cat

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