Cat-and-Mouse Games

Although feline references play a dominant role on the cover and title of Marian Babson’s latest cozy, it is a gallery of mystery writers who do the catting about when they move into the same English neighborhood occupied by a collection of rivals.

The kitties do play a supporting role, a duo named Had-I and But-Known, owned by cozy writer Lucinda Lucas, and Roscoe, by Macho Magee (formerly known as Lancelot Dalrymple). But they act as cats, not as characters on a par with their owners, as seen in Rita Mae Brown’s series, nor do they offer hints as to who done it, as in Lillian Jackson Braun.

No, like the cats, Babson wants to play with the English literary scene, so her authors are beset by the neighborhood’s new arrivals: the venomous critic Plantagenet Sutton, a college professor who collects writers like some collect butterflies, and a husband-and-wife duo seeking to record in camera and prose a year in the life of a charming English village.

Not only that, but the characters in Lucinda and Macho’s books seem to be acting up as well, resenting their creators’ plans to replace them with other series.

Babson is a writer with a long track record, and she capably serves up in “Canapes for the Kitties” a charming, breezy cozy laced with some tart darts thrown at some tempting targets.