Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Tribute and a Review

 Hi, folks. 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 Beaver Pond.

Years ago, I judged an unpublished mainstream entry called, “The Professor” in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense contest.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 decades-old friendship.

From that 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It’s been a while since I read the unpublished version, so I bought the published version.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: 

Newly 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.

What’s a woman to do in this situation? Spiff up the place, keep it running, hire a realtor and hope it sells!

Cathy’s 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.

Great secondary 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!!


  1. Donnell, what a good friend you are! Body in the Beaver Pond sounds like a fun read. Glad you're on your way back, Cathy!

    1. Gay, spoke to Cathy yesterday. She is on her way back! Thank you!

  2. Adding my two cents having read the book already - an excellent read.

  3. Adding my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Cathy, and my admiration to you, Donnell. Everyone should have a friend like you!

    1. Thank you, Saralyn! Cathy has some rough weeks ahead of her, but she's determined. That's a huge part of the battle.

  4. I have this book in my queue. Glad you are improving Cathy.


This is a comment awaiting moderation on the blog.