How to Wash a Cat is the debut novel in the “Little Shop of Secrets” mystery series by Rebecca M Hale. The main character and narrator of the story is anonymous until the last page when we find out that it is none other than Rebecca Hale herself, she is Uncle Oscar’s niece! The story also stars Isabella and Rupert, the two cats belonging to the narrator and who play a key role throughout.
Uncle Oscar owned an antique store in the Jackson Square neighbourhood of San Francisco. He dies in mysterious circumstances and as his sole and closest relative, his niece, a shy, quiet accountant who has lived in SF for the past five years, inherits everything. Uncle Oscar has left more than just the shop and it’s contents, however. It turns out that he was onto some of the mysteries of the Gold Rush era and his fate seems intrinsically linked with that of William Leidesdorff, an enterprising and highly successful businessman who made San Francisco his home before the Gold Rush. He too was said to have died in mysterious circumstances in 1848, just after gold was found on his land!
This story is filled with bold, colourful and flamboyant characters. It is underpinned with historical fact and all the more interesting for it. It is fun and quirky and the cats inclusion in the story only added to it’s charm in my opinion. This is the first in a series of mysteries connected with Uncle Oscar and the antique shop and although some of the mystery of Uncle Oscar’s death was solved in this story, there are still many unsolved questions at the end of the book to be answered.
If you want a light hearted, interesting bit of escapism with a couple of adorable cats and characters, then How to Wash a Cat will give you all that. I will definitely look out for the next book in the series.