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

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,026 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Two cats are better than one...

First in an adorable new series!

A deceased uncle and a surprising inheritance propel a woman and her two very curious cats into the mystery surrounding his death.

An investigation that starts amid the curios and novelties of a San Francisco antiques shop follows a twisted trail of dangerous deception that leads all the way back to the
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Berkley
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,025)
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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
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.
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.
Aug 05, 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 23, 2010 Janet added it
Shelves: failed-attempts
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.
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.
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.
Marshall Thornton
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
Jan 09, 2012 Sally rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Linda Mitchell
Really enjoyed this book, it wasn't a piece of Fluff like most Cat Mysteries. It was the whole meal. Learned things about the Gold Rush in San Francisco that I didn't know, liked how the story was built on this. Also liked that she knew cats up close and personal, made them real and fun. The best part was the Puzzle. I didn't know for sure till the end what was really going on. Most mysteries I'm sure who did it by the second or third chapter unless a ringer is brought in toward the end. I only ...more
As a mystery fan, I expected more from this novel. The title intrigued me, which is what ultimately made me pick it up, but the mystery was cookie-cutter, utterly formulaic, and easily solvable. I'm a huge fan of Lillian Jackson Braun's Cat Who series and, like other reviewers, wanted this to fill that gaping hole in my literary life, but this just didn't do it. As an English teacher, I found great flaws with her diction. It was thesaurus-used, rambling description that didn't add to the narrati ...more
Fun read, particularly for cat lovers.
"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
This was picked as my book for our first ever quarterly Pick-it-for-Me Challenge over in the Bookworm Buddies group. I'd picked this up on one of my bookhunting trip a couple years ago, so it was nice to get it read and off the monstrous heap that is my TBR. I don't usually do cozy-type mysteries, but I do have fond memories of reading Lillian Jackson Braun's Cat Who... books in my younger days, and I guess I decided to give it a chance based on that and the whole cats in the story thing. I like ...more
I loved this cozy! It was so easy to follow, a fast read, and pulled me in immediately - probably because the first scene is literally about washing a cat - it's not an easy task! Speaking of cats, I loved the two cats in the book: Rupert and Isabella. At some points in the book they seemed almost human and more animated than any of the human characters. Their antics always kept me laughing to myself and I could definitely picture them. They were my favorite part of the book!

The plot itself was
Paul Lunger
The debut novel for Rebecca M. Hale is not exactly your typical mystery novel. The title itself while being a bit quirky as well describes the opening scene of the book with the bathing of Isabella & Rupert the 2 title cats. The mystery itself revolves around the death of the author's Uncle Oscar who owned an antique shop in San Francisco & a mystery involving tulips & the shop itself. The story itself leads us along a trail of clues that takes us back to the founding of the city &am ...more
I thought it was interesting that the book had a nameless protagonist. You actually don’t learn her name until the very end. Which is a little odd...but interesting nevertheless. I really enjoyed how Hale gave the cats two distinct personalities. They were cute and the way they interacted with the main character was almost human (perhaps a little too human for some readers).

The plot, well I can’t say it was great, but I can’t say it was bad either. It was, all right to say the least. Lots of hi
Feb 16, 2010 Theresa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hmm... people who take their cats everywhere might like it...
Recommended to Theresa by: Local B&N's "New" Shelf
Shelves: fiction-general, dnf, 2010
I picked this book up on a whim from my local B&N without knowing anything about the book or the author. This is noteworthy because I do about 95% of my bookshopping online so I can read reviews first. Why did I pick this one up off the "New" shelf at B&N? Because I love cats and have scars to show for the few times I've tried to wash my 14lb cat. I was enchanted...

...and I stopped being enchanted within three chapters of opening this book.

What didn't I like about this book? Shockingly
Jill Holmes
Washing a cat can yield some surprising results, other than scratches and a clean cat, as this little cozy reveals. This first novel by Rebecca M. Hale is a delightful romp through the streets and back alleys of San Francisco and through its history, circa the Barbary Coast/Gold Rush days. Our heroine inherits a fusty antiques store from her Uncle Oscar. When she moves in to the upstairs apartment and begins exploring the antiques trade as a new career opportunity, madness ensues with the help o ...more
Bekah Porter-Sandy
(Warning: Horrific play on the cat factor coming up...)
Know how when you move in with your boyfriend, you think it's the world's BEST IDEA EVER to get a pet together, and then you go to the shelter and pick out the kitten with the biggest eyes and the fluffiest fur. And you take that kitten home, and it is just the most adorable thing ever. And then a week passes. Then a month. Then a year. And now this sweet baby creature has morphed into a shedding mound of angry meows whose only true purpose
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NY Times bestselling author Rebecca M. Hale worked for almost ten years as a patent attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area before taking time off to write her first novel, HOW TO WASH A CAT. She is now the author of nine Penguin titles and a growing portfolio of works released under her own imprint Green Vase Publishing. She writes fiction, typically in the form of quirky mysteries that reflect he ...more
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
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) Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands, #1)

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