Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Every August, I look forward to the newest release in Leann Sweeney’s Cats in Trouble mystery series. The series features cat quilter Jillian Hart and her three cats Merlot, Chablis and Chiraz, along with her human friends, who all live in the small town of Mercy, South Carolina. I was looking forward to The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret even more than usual because this book features a tortie!

In this installment, Jillian and Tom are finally getting ready to get married. Jillian is busy with wedding preparations, and with helping Finn, Tom’s stepson, get settled into their home. When Finn falls in love with a tortoiseshell cat at the animal sanctuary where he and Jillian volunteer, they add Magpie to their household.

Magpie is a klepto kitty – she likes to steal anything from trinkets to shoelaces to socks. When she brings back an antique locket, Jillian and Tom are trying to return it to the rightful owner, but their search is sidetracked when a body is found. Of course, Jillian and Tom both get involved in trying to figure out what happened. When the town’s police chief is found dead, Tom, a former police offer, is appointed interim chief, and the investigation takes several unexpected twists and turns. Are the two deaths connected? Will Jillian and Tom have to postpone their wedding? And what role does Magpie play in the story?

Magpie (as imagined by the author)

I love all the books in the series, but this is the best one yet. Sweeney’s writing style is engaging and humorous, and it’s clear that she knows and loves cats. The cats play a dominant role not just in Jillian’s life, but in the story line, with Magpie the tortie taking center stage and ultimately helping to solve the mystery. Four paws up for this captivating and intriguing book – I can’t wait for the next installment, especially now that Magpie is a permanent member of the cast of characters.

The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret is available from Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Leann Sweeney was born and raised in Niagara Falls and educated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Lemoyne College in Syracuse, New York. She also has a degree in behavioral science from the University of Houston and has worked in psychiatry. A former registered nurse, she has been writing in the mystery genre for many years, and also writes the Yellow Rose Mystery series. For more information, please visit

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. All book reviews will always reflect my honest and unbiased opinion.

Photo of Magpie via Leann Sweeney’s Facebook page

About the author

5 Comments on Review: The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret

  1. I’ve been following and loving this series for years. I just purchased “The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret” and I’l looking forward to reading it. I was thrilled to hear that Leann Sweeney is at work on the next installment.

  2. The tortie angle on this book made me extra excited for it as well…and it’s already my favorite cozy series on the shelves! That image of Magpie looks SO much like Mudpie…whew, this could get confusing LOL

  3. I’ve been fortunate enough to get the last few installments of this series to read for review, and they’re all just wonderful. This one was definitely the best yet! Her characterizations are all spot-on, and she does a brilliant job of dropping clues to whodunnit without making it too obvious (or worse, what so many cozy writers do – have it come complete from left field). I’m hoping I’ll also get whatever she writes next to review! 🙂

  4. I was sent this book to review as well. I hadn’t read any of the Cats in Trouble mysteries before, and I am absolutely *loving* this book! I’ve added all of the others to my “to read” list as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the book.

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