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Crossing the Lion    by Cynthia Baxter order for
Crossing the Lion
by Cynthia Baxter
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2010 (2010)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This latest Reigning Cats & Dogs mystery featuring veterinarian turned sleuth Jessica Popper unfolds on Solitude Island, where Linus Merrywood has met his untimely end. Jessica has been asked by her friend, Betty Vandervoort Farnsworth, to accompany her and her husband, Winston, to the Merrywood island home to see if the vet can do a little poking around and perhaps discover what has caused Linus' death. His widow doesn't buy the police explanation that her husband just died in his sleep.

Once settled in on the island located between the two forks of Long Island, Jessica finds her least favorite detective, Norfolk County's chief of homicide, Anthony Falcone, has been assigned to the investigation. As the two butt heads and try to get to the bottom of what Falcone considers an open and shut case, a storm all but isolates the island.

The vast Merrywood mansion, with a butler named Jives and numerous secret passageways and moving walls, creates the proper setting and gives the occasion the perfect gothic ambience. A family member locked in the attic is just one of a host of oddities that will emerge as the storm rages outside while inside the house life becomes equally precarious.

Nick, Jessica's lionhearted new hubby, will eventually join his bride on the beleaguered island and, together, they'll get to the bottom of the mystery and shed some light on the Merrywood's most closely guarded secret.

This ninth novel in the series is as much fun and as enjoyable a read as its predecessors. If you have accompanied Jessica on her previous outings, you certainly won't wish to miss this one which features some unexpected twists and a captivating cast of secondary characters.

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