“HomeComing: A Mister Puss Mystery” by Michael Craft— A New House

Craft, Michael. “HomeComing: A Mister Puss Mystery”, Questlover Press, 2020.

A New House

Amos Lassen

In the third volume of the “Mister Puss Series”, writer Michael Craft reintroduces us to Architect Brody Norris and his husband, Marson Miles. They are building a new house and preparing to move into it when Brody is asked by Sheriff Thomas Simms to don his sleuthing outfits and come in to help on a new case. But Brody does not work alone; he  gets a bit of help from his Abyssinian cat, Mister Puss.

Set in the town of Dumont, Wisconsin, the residents are excited that their favorite son, actor Thad Manning, is coming home from Hollywood to direct a film about his youth. A site for screentests is set up on the town commons and we learn that there is even a role for  Mister Puss as well as for a number of extras. However, on the day of the tests, someone is found murdered and there are suspects everywhere.

This is so much more than a mystery though. Writer Craft explores the meaning of the word “homecoming” and what “home” means. Craft also brings back the cat that we came to love in the first two books in the series.

When Thad and his wife, Paige return to Dumont, there is a sense of excitement in the town. Thad has come home just at the same time that Brody is coming to his new home. Both men experience strong emotions about their concepts of home.However, the murder upends everything and as Sheriff Simms, along with Brody, investigates the crime, questions about the meaning of home come to the fore. We are taken through various looks at the definition of the word as the two men work at solving the murder. We see that the murder and the Thad’s and Brody’s homecomings are only “incidentally linked”. However, Brody’s begins to see his coming home to be linked to solving the murder and he begins to have serious looks at the people of the town, studying them as he searches for motives.  Because this is a mystery, I cannot say more about the plot except to tell you to keep your minds on Mister Puss who always has something to say.

Writer Craft brings us unique characters and wonderful descriptions of small town Wisconsin. The prose is lively and the story is compelling.