1. The scene in which Beth and Arnie discover the attempted robbery of their truck happed to the author in real life. Does the scene appear realistic to you? Have you ever experienced a robbery or other crime during a vacation? How did it color your memory of that trip? 2. Beth appears jumpy after they discover the break-in. Have you ever been witness to a crime? How did you feel afterwards? How well do you think witnesses remember details? 3. Do cats and dogs have a sixth sense? How do they pick up clues people sometimes miss? What service do police dogs provide for the officers? 4. Unlike Arnie, Beth watches Psycho Cat and believes he’s sensing clues. She also catches glimpses of the criminals that Arnie misses. She’s the one who insists they have to prove Paul innocent. Arnie resists involving them in police matters. Do you think one is right and one is wrong? Are you more like Beth or more like Arnie? 5. The point of view switches from between Beth and Gil. Which chapters were more compelling to you? Were there any characters with which you identified or empathized? 6. Living close to the state line in the Kansas City metro, it came as no surprise to the author that law enforcement officers from two states often work together. Research into state laws did unearth a revelation, though, that criminals are indicted differently in different states. What did you think about the way the San Antonio and Kansas City detectives worked together in the story? 7. Have you had a pet that befriends some folks and backs away from or growls at others? What do you think when that happens? 8. Did you expect the story to end differently? If so, how?
1. Would you call Beth a busybody, or do you think she is justified in searching for clues to the mysteries in the condo building? Why? 2. Do you have a cat or do that gives you clues when something isn't normal? What kind of clue? 3. Would you invite children who live near you to play with your children or grandchildren? Would it matter if they were immigrant children? Do you think Beth and Arnie handled the children's problem the right way? 4. Do you think a landlady would go out of her way to help her tenants? Why did Beth help Hélène? 5. How did Viktor and Hélène define a Ukrainian brother? 6. Did Beth believe Viktor was innocent? 7. Do you think Grandfather was being abusive to his grandchildren? To his wife? What would you have done in his situation? 8. Do you think a father who had lost his children for ten years would offer to take in the grandmother who kept them? Why did Walter do that? 9. Were you surprised to discover the identity of the person who pushed Grandfather, or did you see it coming? 10. Why did the author choose to bring Alexei and his cohort back for a final scene after the murder was solved?
1. Does it ring true to you that a law enforcement agent might want to continue to investigate a case he'd been told to drop? 2. If you began investigating a police case on your own--asking questions, getting help from an officer of the law, arranging meetings, etc.--would your spouse react like Arnie does, or would your spouse go along with your efforts? How would you react if your spouse started investigating a cold case? 3. Would you have stayed in a house where a dead body had been found in the attic? Or, do you think that was just an excuse on Janae's part? 4. How do you think DNA testing has changed law enforcement practices? 5. Why did Beth have a good enough relationship with Talia that she could question her about the past and even go to a jazz club with her? 6. Did you appreciate that the reader learned about what had happened seven years earlier and thus had insight into the cause and effect of the killing before Beth did? 7. If Beth hadn't investigated, what do you think would have happened to Caitlin's body? Do you think her identity would ever have been discovered? 8. Quinn would never have met Talia had Beth not introduced them? What would their lives have been like? 9. The murder trial isn't seen in the story. What kind of difficulties do you think accusations and arrest of such a powerful man might entail? Can you think of examples from actual cases? 10. What was the role of the cat in this story?
1. Do you think Adrianna, being a step-niece, was a close enough relative for Beth to go so far to investigate her whereabouts? 2. In an embezzlement, the bookkeeper is often the guilty person. How did the author use that generalization and expand upon it? 3. Would it be easy to jump on a plane and take a last-minute trip to the Virgin Islands? How? 4. Would it be easy to locate someone on an island? How did you learn about the layout and landscape of the islands while Beth and Arnie were following Adrianna's trail? 5. Were you surprised when Adrianna was arrested for murder? 6. What did you think of the attorney? Do you know any attorneys like him? Are you glad to know Mr. Montorlee comes back in a future book in the series? 7. Would you have kept your promise to not involve Adrianna's mother, Meredith, or to Trent's mother, Lisa? Would it have made any difference if Beth and Meg had divulged their identities earlier? How did they handle the information? 8. In this story, Sylvester comes to live with Beth. What did you learn about the cat, and how do you think Psycho Cat will be used as a character in future books in the series? 9. What are some themes in this book besides the cozy mystery? 10. How does Beth change by the end of the story?