A Familiar Tail (Witch's Cat #1) by Delia James (Obsidian mass market paperback, 2 February 2016).
Annabelle Amelia Blessingsound Britton, a freelance artist, goes from Boston to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to visit her best friend, chef Martine Devereux.
Anna has only been in Martine's restaurant The Pale Ale, a few minutes when she's approached by an elegantly dressed woman who recognizes her as the granddaughter of Annabelle Mercy Blessingsound Britton (fondly known as Grandma B.B), a former resident of Portsmouth.
Anna is surprised. She knew that Grandma B.B. was from the area, but didn't realize that she had any acquaintances left there.
When Anna goes back to her car, there is a cat sitting in the driver's seat of her car. This is disconcerting because the car is locked and the windows are closed. She eventually learns that the cat,named Alastair, had disappeared after the recent death of his owner Dorothy Hawthorne, a much-beloved local woman.
Dorothy's fatal fall down her basement stairs had been deemed an accident, but there are those who believe she was killed. Once Alastair accepts her, Anna finds herself involved in an unofficial investigation into Dorothy's death.
Delia James has an unusual approach to the concepts of magical mystery cats and familiars, but it's absolutely credible.
Both her main and secondary characeters are well-conceived and authentic. I look forward to seeing how this series develops.
The publisher has generously offered a copy of A Familiar Tail to one of my readers. Please comment below by 12:01 a.m. on Monday, February15. Please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win. Entries from the U.S. only, please.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.