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“Suspicion is second nature to any woman who’s raised three kids.” After decades of marriage, motherhood, and grandmotherhood, Cat Caliban is looking for a new career. Detective work seems a logical choice. So, she sells her suburban house, buys an apartment building in a “transitional” neighborhood, and begins her training, only to discover a dead body in an upstairs apart “Suspicion is second nature to any woman who’s raised three kids.” After decades of marriage, motherhood, and grandmotherhood, Cat Caliban is looking for a new career. Detective work seems a logical choice. So, she sells her suburban house, buys an apartment building in a “transitional” neighborhood, and begins her training, only to discover a dead body in an upstairs apartment. What’s the connection between a murdered homeless woman and the Golden Age of Hollywood silent movies? Cat races to discover it before the killer can strike again. In this first book of the popular Cat Caliban series from the 1990s, Cat assembles her colorful cast of helpers and neighborhood hangers-on.


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“Suspicion is second nature to any woman who’s raised three kids.” After decades of marriage, motherhood, and grandmotherhood, Cat Caliban is looking for a new career. Detective work seems a logical choice. So, she sells her suburban house, buys an apartment building in a “transitional” neighborhood, and begins her training, only to discover a dead body in an upstairs apart “Suspicion is second nature to any woman who’s raised three kids.” After decades of marriage, motherhood, and grandmotherhood, Cat Caliban is looking for a new career. Detective work seems a logical choice. So, she sells her suburban house, buys an apartment building in a “transitional” neighborhood, and begins her training, only to discover a dead body in an upstairs apartment. What’s the connection between a murdered homeless woman and the Golden Age of Hollywood silent movies? Cat races to discover it before the killer can strike again. In this first book of the popular Cat Caliban series from the 1990s, Cat assembles her colorful cast of helpers and neighborhood hangers-on.

30 review for One for the Money

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hobart

    ★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up) This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader, I also posted a Q&A with the author. --- WHAT'S ONE FOR THE MONEY ABOUT? Cat Caliban's a recent widow, who is ready for a change (since she is still waiting on the Change), and takes the bull by the horn and gets herself her change. She buys an apartment complex, moves herself and her cats into one of the apartments there, and pursues a new career—becoming a Private Investigator. Between the suspicious nature and investiga ★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up) This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader, I also posted a Q&A with the author. --- WHAT'S ONE FOR THE MONEY ABOUT? Cat Caliban's a recent widow, who is ready for a change (since she is still waiting on the Change), and takes the bull by the horn and gets herself her change. She buys an apartment complex, moves herself and her cats into one of the apartments there, and pursues a new career—becoming a Private Investigator. Between the suspicious nature and investigative abilities raising three kids has gifted her with and the extensive research she's done into the P.I. lifestyle (read: reading plenty of P.I. Novels, from Nancy Drew to V. I. Warshawski). Most of her kids, and most people from her old life, don't approve of this new stage of her life—and she could not care less. Instead, she assembles a new group of friends who are on board with this change—with one carryover from her old life. And the tenants of her apartments end up being a strong base for those friends. Of course, there's a snag there—when showing a vacant apartment to a couple of potential renters, they discover a murdered woman. Almost immediately, Cat begins annoying the investigating officers by trying to look into the death herself. When it's discovered that the victim is a homeless woman, the priority that the police put on solving the murder drops, but Cat's drive to find justice for the woman increases. Sure, she's still learning the basics of investigating, but she catches a couple of lucky breaks and makes good progress. She also connects with people—friends of the victim, people she worked with, an activist group she was involved with, and someone who probably saw the victim and the killer minutes before the murder—in a way that the police don't. People respond to this older woman who cares about the woman—not just her death, but the life she led. One thing leads to another, and Cat's hot on the trail of both the killer and what could have prompted the killing in the first place. I'M A SUCKER FOR THIS KIND OF THING I am a sucker for fictional PI/PI-types who largely (or entirely) learn their way through detecting via PI novels like Lee Goldberg's Harvey Mapes (in The Man With The Iron-On Badge, now called Watch Me Die) or Jim Cliff's Jake Abraham (in The Shoulders of Giants)—Bobby Saxon, from The Blues Don't Care, took a similar approach with Bogart movies. Maybe it's because this is the kind of detective I would be if I had the gumption to try. At the very least I can easily identify with these people, they've read the same things I've read. We think along the same lines. Watching them draw upon their fictional examples to try to decide how to deal with their cases is just fun. Naturally, Cat (and Borton), get extra credit from me for the number of times they invoke Spenser. But it works no matter what character she's referencing. THE SUPPORTING CAST Cat's the focus—and she should be—but she wouldn't be anywhere without the other characters that she bumps up against (we'll ignore the principles/suspects in the investigation). The book might still be good with just Cat and the suspects, but what frequently makes a book worth reading are the secondary and tertiary characters—and Borton fills the novel with people worth reading about. The people that fall into her life in this novel almost seem too convenient—wow, Cat makes a friend who happens to be able to help her learn to shoot. One of the first people she rents an apartment to happens to be a lawyer who can help her get through the city's legal system, what a crazy coincidence! But once you shrug that off (what novel isn't filled with that kind of thing) There's an elderly screenwriter character who is a delight. She adds a crucial detail or two that Cat needs to put everything together, but more than anything else, she's just fun to read. Borton brings in a few characters like that—they're around for one or two conversations, but it feels like Borton spent as much time and energy into developing the character for those conversations as she did for the killer or one of the other prime suspects. I want to talk about the witness to the crime—and his family—but I just don't think I can do them justice without ruining something. But Borton's choices in including him, and the way she did so, are a real strength of the novel. Even the cats are well-written and likable (long-time readers of this site will recognize how odd that is for me to say) SO, WHAT DID I THINK ABOUT ONE FOR THE MONEY? Last year, I wrote about Luna Miller's The Lion's Tail (apparently now called Looking for Alice ), about a sexagenarian rookie P.I. Sure, Gunvor Strom is a little older than Cat, and the novel's darker—but it's along the same lines.* I really appreciated the way that neither of these women are allowing themselves to be held back by their age, their sex, their past—their utter lack of experience—they can make a difference, they have something to contribute, and they have the drive. * I mostly bring it up in case readers are asking themselves, didn't he talk about this before? Also, because readers of one of these are really going to want to read the other. Cat and the team she assembles do the one thing the police are unwilling/unable to do: they can focus on the victim and her life to the exclusion of all else. She can get people to talk to her who wouldn't talk to the police out of principle or intimidation. They open up to her, they tell her things they wouldn't tell others. She's also smart enough and driven enough to keep going until the facts she uncovers fit together in a way that makes sense. And Borton delivers all this in an engaging, easy style that makes you want to keep turning the pages. It's a fun story, with a great group of characters that you can't help but root for, and you not only want to find out what happens but you want to know what happens next. I'll be back for the rest as soon as I can, but in the meantime, I'm glad I got to read this one and think you will be, too. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion and this post.

  2. 4 out of 5

    BP34

    This is the first book in the The Cat Caliban Mysteries Series and I received this book as a free gift for signing up for the author's mailing list. This is a new author for me and I was pleasantly surprised. This book had a lot of humor to it and was a cute read. Cat is a widower who decides to change her lifestyle now that she is has an empty nest. She sells her home, purchases a small apartment building on the outskirts of town. She's is pursuing her P.I. license and gets some real life train This is the first book in the The Cat Caliban Mysteries Series and I received this book as a free gift for signing up for the author's mailing list. This is a new author for me and I was pleasantly surprised. This book had a lot of humor to it and was a cute read. Cat is a widower who decides to change her lifestyle now that she is has an empty nest. She sells her home, purchases a small apartment building on the outskirts of town. She's is pursuing her P.I. license and gets some real life training when she discovers a body in one of her apartments. Her quest to find the killer is hilarious at times. The book was well written and the characters are interesting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

    Thank you, Net Galley and Boomerang Books for the opportunity to read and offer my review. One for the Money is a tasty recipe for an old-fashioned mystery. Toss in a little Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) and a sprinkling of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and you have a wonderfully entertaining read. Cat Calaban is a more “mature”, unlicensed as yet, sleuth. I say sleuth, she says private detective - some of this/some of that. Really not much difference when she inserts herself into a murde Thank you, Net Galley and Boomerang Books for the opportunity to read and offer my review. One for the Money is a tasty recipe for an old-fashioned mystery. Toss in a little Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) and a sprinkling of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and you have a wonderfully entertaining read. Cat Calaban is a more “mature”, unlicensed as yet, sleuth. I say sleuth, she says private detective - some of this/some of that. Really not much difference when she inserts herself into a murder investigation. One the police likely wouldn’t have even investigated, since it was the death of an apparent homeless and destitute person found in Cat’s own apartment building. As you can imagine, this could go wrong in so many ways and it does from time to time, especially when she crosses Detective Fricke (assigned to the case) and a lengthy list of suspects. However, Cat has skills! Some learned by raising three kids. Anyone who has children knows you have to have an inquiring mind and she certainly has that in abundance. In fact, at some points in the case her inquiring mind seems on the verge of tipping over into fantasy, but she stops at the precipice, hones in and solves the case. Was this great literature? Maybe not, but it certainly was fun! I understand there are three more books in the series. I’m looking forward to having a gin and tonic with Cat and her neighbors. #NetGalley, #ONEFORTHEMONEY

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grey853

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the first in the Cat Calibran series. A widow after 38 years of marriage, Cat decides to become a detective. She might look like a granny, but she's Spenser at heart, or at least that's what she thinks. When a bag lady is killed in her apartment building and the police don't seem to care, she takes the investigation to be her first. When the woman's best friend is also murdered, Cat knows there's an obvious connection. She does the research and discovers many things that the police miss. This is the first in the Cat Calibran series. A widow after 38 years of marriage, Cat decides to become a detective. She might look like a granny, but she's Spenser at heart, or at least that's what she thinks. When a bag lady is killed in her apartment building and the police don't seem to care, she takes the investigation to be her first. When the woman's best friend is also murdered, Cat knows there's an obvious connection. She does the research and discovers many things that the police miss. She's a saucy old gal and I really enjoyed the clever narrative and dialogue. The book has several interesting characters other than Cat, and I'm looking forward to finding and reading the other books in the series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    A fun mystery with a slightly different heroine - Cat Caliban, recently widowed after 38 years, who decides to become a privte investigator in her not-so-old age. Light hearted, with some potentially interesting characters and a handful of cats.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barb Taub

    What this book isn’t. In its original release, D.B. Barton’s One For The Money came out about six months before the Janet Evanovich blockbuster of the same title, although both star tough women just starting new careers in male-dominated fields (private investigator and bounty hunter). Both are set in pre-cellphone days, and neither woman is the least bit interested in baking cupcakes or knitting. What this book is, though, is a frequently funny, fast-paced coming-of-age detective story where the What this book isn’t. In its original release, D.B. Barton’s One For The Money came out about six months before the Janet Evanovich blockbuster of the same title, although both star tough women just starting new careers in male-dominated fields (private investigator and bounty hunter). Both are set in pre-cellphone days, and neither woman is the least bit interested in baking cupcakes or knitting. What this book is, though, is a frequently funny, fast-paced coming-of-age detective story where the one growing up is a woman in her fifties who has been what everyone else expected and is finally ready to be herself. Catherine—Cat to her friends and really…everyone except her husband and his friends—Caliban has finally figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. A detective. Her grandson Ben objects that detectives don’t have white hair. Her two older children are appalled (although her youngest does offer to exchange the monogrammed hankies she had been intending as a birthday present for a secondhand semi-automatic). Her husband Fred says nothing at all because he’s dead, and because he stopped paying attention to her about twenty years earlier, which Cat verified by taking up swearing. "One day I got the impression that Fred hadn’t been listening to me for a while. Say, twenty years. So I thought I’d try a little verbal variety to see if he’d notice." Without much further notice, Fred quietly drops dead, freeing Cat to finally get a life. From there, she purchases an apartment building in a working-class neighborhood as income hedge against the vicissitudes of the detective biz, buys a copy of The Landlord’s Handbook, and looks for tenants. This is complicated when she shows her first applicants the upstairs apartment which is unfurnished except for the dead body. “Melanie spoke for the first time, her voice deep and husky. ‘I don’t think your last tenant has vacated, Mrs. Caliban.’ There was nothing in the goddamn Landlord’s Handbook about this.” Cat decides she’s personally insulted by the murder. Not only did it occur in her building, but she’s appalled by the lack of interest among police or press. Despite the fact that she hasn’t yet taken karate or shooting lessons, let alone gotten a gun, Cat decides to investigate. After all, she’s read a lot of Nancy Drew. She’s bought a wardrobe of dark pantsuits like V.I. Warshawski. And most importantly—she’s a mother. "Hell, I’d investigated things all my adult life. Who left the freezer door open so all the ice cream melted. Who left their new purple T-shirt in the washer so that everybody’s underwear turned lavender. Who drew stripes on the cat with Marks-a-Lot. Why couldn’t Fred ever think of anything to give me for my birthday.” Along with plenty of snark, granny jokes, and a fair sprinkling of f-bombs, the mystery unfolds in standard Murder-She-Wrote formula. After a longish initial bit of tell that might have been better worked into the action later in the book, Cat discovers the murder and begins investigating. The police, naturally, tell her to back off and leave the investigation to professionals. Equally naturally, Cat ignores them as she gathers her posse of tenants and friends, uncovers another murder, and slowly unravels a web of lies and star-crossed love that includes a Hollywood star, an arab sheik, a retired sewer engineer, a missing fabled emerald necklace, and a sizeable portion of 1980’s Cincinnati street population. Tracking clues takes her through much of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods. But it’s her experience as a mother that lets Cat figure out who the murderer must be and what happened to the missing treasure. In One For The Money, author D. B. Borton takes just enough liberties with the standard detective formula to have me rooting for Cat and her unlikely assistants. I particularly enjoyed her confidence in herself, her ‘because-I’m-the-mother-and-I-say-so’ approach to crime solving, and her conviction that a lifetime of reading Nancy Drew, decades of motherhood, and The Landlord’s Handbook are the perfect preparation for her life as a detective.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. One for the Money is the first Cat Caliban cozy mystery by D. B. Borton. Originally published in 1993, this reformat and re-release from Boomerang Books is 226 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This, the first book in the Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. One for the Money is the first Cat Caliban cozy mystery by D. B. Borton. Originally published in 1993, this reformat and re-release from Boomerang Books is 226 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This, the first book in the series, is also currently available at reduced cost (or free in some places). This is a well written, genuinely funny murder cozy set in Cincinnati with a feisty protagonist who's survived raising a family and isn't inclined to put up with anyone's crap. She's salty, down-to-earth, and kind and loyal to her friends. The mystery itself, the plotting, and the pacing are very well done. The author definitely has a solid handle on her craft. I found myself engaged in the story and never felt it dragged or raced. The dialogue is superlative. It flows naturally and believably. It has a delightful retro vibe being set in the 1980s and the author's references to cultural icons of the time ("Cagney & Lacey" for example) will make those of us who remember the 1980s smile, or maybe wince. Writing humor is challenging. This one actually surprised a bark of laughter out of me a couple times. That happens very very rarely. There are also positive (admittedly stereotypical) depictions of people who are LGBTQIA+ in the book, as well as a warm fuzzy theme of "found family". Slight warning for rough language (sort of Bea Arthur Golden Girls level snark here). I was previously unfamiliar with the author and have added her to my "update regularly" list. Looking forward to more. Five stars. Tone perfect, very entertaining. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Georgia Rose

    I chose to read One For The Money as a proud member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and I received a copy from the author. This does not alter my review in anyway. Cat Caliban is looking for a change after her husband dies. She is a mother to three and a granny, and that’s one of the things I liked about this book. An older main character. How refreshing. Anyway, after her 38 years of marriage to Fred comes to an end Cat wants a new career and she decides on becoming a private investigator. She I chose to read One For The Money as a proud member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and I received a copy from the author. This does not alter my review in anyway. Cat Caliban is looking for a change after her husband dies. She is a mother to three and a granny, and that’s one of the things I liked about this book. An older main character. How refreshing. Anyway, after her 38 years of marriage to Fred comes to an end Cat wants a new career and she decides on becoming a private investigator. She sells up her home in Wyoming and buys an apartment complex in Northside, Cincinnati, a rougher neighbourhood than her grown up kids would like her to be in. This story is also set in the 1980’s, that glorious time before mobile phones became a thing and you could walk out of your front door and no one would know where you were. Cat, who also has cats, already has one tenant in her apartments, Kevin, as he came with the property. Another couple soon come to move in, Melanie and Alice, but when Cat shows them the apartment they find the body of a woman lying in it. The woman turns out to be a bag lady, well known on the streets as Betty Bags. Soon after this death there is another, that of Betty’s best friend. And so the investigating begins. I thoroughly enjoyed this murder mystery, watching Cat get to know her neighbourhood and the people in it, as well as learning her craft. I also liked seeing her clashes with the police and the way her tenants soon joined in to help out as if forming a posse in her crime fighting. This is a strong start to a series. One thing to note is that the language is often colourful. It doesn’t bother me but if you don’t want profanity in your reading don’t get this book. Other than that I think those that enjoy murder mystery’s will like this, and no doubt the rest of the series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tracie Crane

    A completely unique plot, almost a story inside another story. I enjoyed how relatable the main character was, and pretty funny too. Cat is a recent widow who has upended her life. She moves, buying an apartment complex and living onsite. and decides to start a new career as a private investigator. Her first job is a dead body in one of her vacant apartments which triggers a cascade of events right up to the climatic end. I loved it. Just so you know, there are a few "f" bombs scattered throughout A completely unique plot, almost a story inside another story. I enjoyed how relatable the main character was, and pretty funny too. Cat is a recent widow who has upended her life. She moves, buying an apartment complex and living onsite. and decides to start a new career as a private investigator. Her first job is a dead body in one of her vacant apartments which triggers a cascade of events right up to the climatic end. I loved it. Just so you know, there are a few "f" bombs scattered throughout but don't let that stop you from reading this book, in a weird way it works with the story line.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dgreenwa

    Entertaining and well written. Great cast of characters!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This is the first in the series and the first time reading this author. The main character is Cat Caliban who decides to buy an apartment building and become a PI. When someone is murdered in one of the upstairs apartments she decides to investigate . Along the way she figures out a lot of stuff the cops overlooked just because the victim was a bag lady. Will she figure it all out without anyone getting hurt along the way ?

  12. 5 out of 5

    philippa derfner

    A delightful easy read murder mystery. Lovable characters

  13. 4 out of 5

    Faultsareus

    For Agatha Christie(Miss Marple) and Nancy Drew fans. This one is a cozy, light, amusing mystery read. Cat Caliban is a widow, who after almost 4 decades of marriage and raising 3 kids, finally wants to do something for herself. She sells her nice neighborhood house and buys a building in an albeit shady neighborhood. She wants to become a P.I. you see. One day she opens one of the apartment doors to give her new tenants the tour and finds it's already occupied by a dead body. The police aren't that For Agatha Christie(Miss Marple) and Nancy Drew fans. This one is a cozy, light, amusing mystery read. Cat Caliban is a widow, who after almost 4 decades of marriage and raising 3 kids, finally wants to do something for herself. She sells her nice neighborhood house and buys a building in an albeit shady neighborhood. She wants to become a P.I. you see. One day she opens one of the apartment doors to give her new tenants the tour and finds it's already occupied by a dead body. The police aren't that interested in finding about who killed her, since she lived on the streets. But yet another dead body turns up. Also of an old lady living on streets. The police think Cat is meddlesome old lady with cats. There is more to the dead lady, just because she was homeless doesn't mean they didnt have any money. You may think Cat doesn't have experience in the art of detection. But oh she has raised 3 kids who have kids of their own, she knows all about "who left the freezer door open so all the icecream melted", "who drew stripes on the cat with Marks-a-lot"😂😂 At this point the cats get a special mention. Sadie, Sophie and Sidney😻🐈😸. Sidney gets a special mention because oh his uncanny ability to attack intruders and people he doesn't like 😂. The dialogue is so quick-wittedand funny. At one point Sidney's ability to attack garners him popularity and celebrity status😺, where everyone wants to know if he is trained, if he is intelligent an what kind of cat food he eats!🐈 😂🤣 Suspense wise this book didn't keep me on my toes. And although I was sufficiently absorbed by the mystery. It's the dialogue and the narration that kept me hooked. Thankyou @netgalley and the Publisher for providing me the ebook for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Savsandy

    
Recently widowed, Cat Caliban has lived through what our society deems a woman’s usual existence; daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, etc but now she wants to stretch her legs and expand her boundaries. What better way to accomplish that than by buying an apartment house in a rundown area of Cincinnati and deciding to hang out her shingle as a private investigator? Never mind that she lacks even the most basic knowledge and skills required to be a licensed P.I. That’s what the public library 
Recently widowed, Cat Caliban has lived through what our society deems a woman’s usual existence; daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, etc but now she wants to stretch her legs and expand her boundaries. What better way to accomplish that than by buying an apartment house in a rundown area of Cincinnati and deciding to hang out her shingle as a private investigator? Never mind that she lacks even the most basic knowledge and skills required to be a licensed P.I. That’s what the public library is for. When Cat finds one of her tenants has been stabbed to death with her own knife she considers it an omen that her new career choice is the right one for her and she sets out to catch herself a killer. 
“One for the Money” is set in the mid-1980s and Cat’s personae is one of a middle-aged, salty tongued woman who could give any sailor a run for his money in the language department. She’s witty, sarcastic and an all ‘round hoot. And then there’s Cat’s close friends and family and the people she meets in the course of her investigation. All told, there are so many characters in this story that you need a program to keep track of who’s who. The plot is original but gets bogged down with unnecessary details and too many characters to keep track of. And who really cares what Cat is wearing? How and why is that important? It’s not as if she is a fashion plate showing off some designers creations. The significance of her wardrobe choices totally escapes me.
Where this novel shines is in the dialogue. Author D. B. Borton has either lived among the street people or spent lots of time studying the street vernacular because the dialogue is absolutely spot on in its authenticity and accuracy, including the dropped syllables. It’s as if you can actually “hear” the accents and the unique manner in which information is exchanged on the street. This aspect alone is sufficient to recommend “One for the Money” as a worthwhile and entertaining read. 
Originally published in 1993, this and two other titles by Borton are being reissued this year. My thanks to NetGalley and to author D. B. Borton for the privilege of previewing “One for the Money”. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Four stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grinning Cat

    This series is in my “Grab in Case of a Fire” box for a reason! Cat Caliban, foul-mouthed, funny, widowed grandmother, decides it’s time for a new life and a career. And after raising three children (and solving the many mysteries of teenager secrets and behavior) what would be more natural than becoming a private detective? This book is set in 1980s Cincinnati, making it a Historical, which makes me feel really, really old.... but back to the synopsis. Cat buys an apartment building and when sho This series is in my “Grab in Case of a Fire” box for a reason! Cat Caliban, foul-mouthed, funny, widowed grandmother, decides it’s time for a new life and a career. And after raising three children (and solving the many mysteries of teenager secrets and behavior) what would be more natural than becoming a private detective? This book is set in 1980s Cincinnati, making it a Historical, which makes me feel really, really old.... but back to the synopsis. Cat buys an apartment building and when showing prospective tenants an apartment, discovers the body of a murdered homeless woman, Betty Grumbacher. When the police don’t seem to be terribly interested in the murder victim (or the murder), Cat gets ticked off and decides to use her skills to find out more. Betty was active in the local movement for homeless rights, providing possible motives for her death. When a second homeless woman, Lucille, is murdered, it turns out that the women are connected by their homeless status and more: both women worked together in the movie industry in their youth. Cat must dig to determine who really wanted both Betty and Lucille dead. (Spoiler: she does.) Cat does swear, so if you find that offensive, this may not be the series for you. The cussing is not overbearing, nor does it detract from the story. If you don’t mind a little salty language, you will enjoy Cat Caliban’s adventures. Secondary characters are really well done in this book. While looking into the women’s lives, Cat gets to know several of homeless people. The author doesn’t reduce them to stereotypes and she discusses the homeless problem without over-moralizing. Leon, an exceptional youth from the neighborhood is well-written and humorous. Borton writes him without stereotype, pity, or condescension. The tenants are also well-rounded and interesting. Even Cat’s pets are funny. Throughout this series, Borton consistently and deftly handles social issues with deep caring and a light hand. Such issues are woven into the stories thoughtfully and naturally rather than appearing contrived and lecture-heavy. I highly recommend this book, as well as the entire series if you like humor and good writing.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sue F

    One for the Money was originally published back in the 1990s and is just now being reissued in e-book. However, it has aged well, perhaps because it never took itself too seriously to start with. Cat Caliban has finally buried her husband, Fred, who probably hadn’t really listened to her in the last twenty years. And with her kids also (mostly) out of the house, she wants something new to do. So she decides to become a PI. If you think this sounds like shades of Mrs Pollifax, don’t worry – Cat a One for the Money was originally published back in the 1990s and is just now being reissued in e-book. However, it has aged well, perhaps because it never took itself too seriously to start with. Cat Caliban has finally buried her husband, Fred, who probably hadn’t really listened to her in the last twenty years. And with her kids also (mostly) out of the house, she wants something new to do. So she decides to become a PI. If you think this sounds like shades of Mrs Pollifax, don’t worry – Cat admits a few pages in that Mrs Pollifax is one of her role models, and also the reason she’s thinking about taking karate lessons. But One for the Money has its own style, and its own sense of humor, and I quite liked it. When Cat buys and becomes the landlady of a small apartment building in an edgier (read “poorer”) part of Cincinnati, she bewilders some folks from her former life, as well as her two older children. But she picks up a new group of friends and tenants who add a lot to her life. And this cast of characters helps her solve the murder of a local unhoused person, Betty Bags, who has the audacity to turn up dead in one of Cat’s empty apartments. It turns out Betty, and Betty’s friend, Lucille, had unexpected pasts, and the past is never too far away… All-in-all, I enjoyed One for the Money, both for the mystery itself, and also for the surprisingly modern world view of its protagonist, Cat. I try to fight star-flation a bit, and I only give five stars to maybe one in thirty or forty books that I read. So four stars it is, but that is a really solid recommendation from me – and I wish I could give it four-and-one-half stars. A few folks might be offended by Cat’s habit of swearing, started when she was trying to figure out if Fred really wasn’t listening to her, but pretty much everyone else will find something to like in here. My thanks to NetGalley and Boomerang books for an advance review copy. And now I’m going to have to read the next one in the series!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ruth P

    I got this book in exchange for a review. It's great! I loved it! And I'm excited to read the rest of the series. I didn't expect it to be as funny as it is. I thought it would just be funny in a fish out of water kind of way, but it's more than that. I'm sure I laughed out loud every chapter. The story is serious, it's the telling. The main character is Cat Caliban, a woman who's taken to private investigation after her husband died after her kids had all left home. Her experience up to her firs I got this book in exchange for a review. It's great! I loved it! And I'm excited to read the rest of the series. I didn't expect it to be as funny as it is. I thought it would just be funny in a fish out of water kind of way, but it's more than that. I'm sure I laughed out loud every chapter. The story is serious, it's the telling. The main character is Cat Caliban, a woman who's taken to private investigation after her husband died after her kids had all left home. Her experience up to her first case is mainly solving the little mysteries of a household, like who stole their sibling's stuff and so on, and reading and watching murder mysteries. She's also bought a little block of 4 flats to live in, and the existing tenant and the first new tenants are her main helpers & friends as she investigates. They're wonderful, and so are all the other characters - even the characters you only see once, and the baddies. There are plenty of suspects and though you might suspect some more than others, they all feel totally credible and not shoehorned in. I have to make a special mention of her 3 cats, who, asides from being cute, can always tell the good eggs from the bad, no matter how scary or polite they might seem. I think more murder mysteries should have cats in. Obviously, carting them around to get their opinion of every character isn't feasible - they're cats - so they're hardly some kind of investigating superpower, but it's fun to see their opinions of the few characters they do meet. The story has plenty of twists and turns, but isn't confusing, just interesting. There are several strands to the mystery, and they're all engaging. It's all about what quickly turns out to be a series of injustices, and you really root for her as she's trying to solve them (for free, too). It's really funny, very entertaining generally, and kinda heartwarming (as much as murder ever can be...). I'm really pleased I found it. Definitely recommend it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    D.B. Borton’s inaugural mystery in the Cat Caliban series, One for the Money, is filled so delightfully with sharp-tongued observations, perplexities, and social skirmishes that I’ll admit at some points I felt I had stumbled upon a new Susan Isaacs thriller. Borton has the same talent for wit, social satire, and suspense… and also chose for her first novel a (widowed) housewife turned amateur sleuth as her main character, who defies stereotypes with her eclectic group of helpers to crack her fi D.B. Borton’s inaugural mystery in the Cat Caliban series, One for the Money, is filled so delightfully with sharp-tongued observations, perplexities, and social skirmishes that I’ll admit at some points I felt I had stumbled upon a new Susan Isaacs thriller. Borton has the same talent for wit, social satire, and suspense… and also chose for her first novel a (widowed) housewife turned amateur sleuth as her main character, who defies stereotypes with her eclectic group of helpers to crack her first case! Some might call her a crazy cat lady, and to be sure her felines are part of the fun. Many dismiss her due to age and novice. But Borton’s protagonist combines cleverness, indefatigable sleuthing, and a bit of good old fashioned luck in this classic whodunit written in a cheeky style that also has just the right touch of old Tinseltown secrecy thrown in. Also reminiscent of Isaacs, Borton’s books are poised to make an entertaining education of current social themes. One for the Money alone tackles widowhood and aging, job ability for the disabled, homelessness, and racial injustice. A tantalizing tale, combined with Caliban’s oft sarcastic observances, keeps readers page-turning with pleasure. But having come to love Cat — and definitely wishing we were in the mix with her renters at the Patagonia Arms — at least there are a few more in the series already released so we can devour them as well. Borton’s Cat Caliban series is just the light-hearted escape readers need right now!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Boomerang Books for an advance copy of One for the Money, the first novel to feature budding PI Cat Caliban, set in Cincinnati in the 80s and originally published in 1993. Recently widowed at 59 Cat decides on a change of direction so sells up, buys a property with rentable apartments and starts training as a PI. She gets her first taste of investigation when she discovers a dead body in the empty flat upstairs. I thoroughly enjoyed One for the Money which is a I would like to thank Netgalley and Boomerang Books for an advance copy of One for the Money, the first novel to feature budding PI Cat Caliban, set in Cincinnati in the 80s and originally published in 1993. Recently widowed at 59 Cat decides on a change of direction so sells up, buys a property with rentable apartments and starts training as a PI. She gets her first taste of investigation when she discovers a dead body in the empty flat upstairs. I thoroughly enjoyed One for the Money which is a fun read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I wondered at first if I would like the novel as the wise cracking seems a bit forced and self conscious but it soon settles down and becomes just another facet of the absurd plot. No, I’m not going to issue spoilers but a small hint about hidden pasts and priceless gems and doesn’t give too much away and gives the reader a taste of the absurdity. It is well done with a mixture of comedy and a well disguised perpetrator. Cat assembles a motley crew of assistant investigators from her tenants, Kevin, Mel and Al. All have something to bring and are unabashedly enthusiastic. Again it’s fun. Cat, herself, brings her experience of motherhood and years of domestic investigation to the table and has a rather jaundiced view of human nature. One for the Money is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Megan Chasteen

    Thanks to NetGalley and Boomerang Books for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. In One For the Money, D.B. Borton’s first book in her Cat Caliban series, after decades of marriage and raising three children to adulthood, Cat is ready for a change. She sells her suburban home in Cincinnati, buys a small apartment complex, and decides she wants to become a private investigator. When a body is discovered in one of the upstairs apartments in her complex, Cat gets her chance to t Thanks to NetGalley and Boomerang Books for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. In One For the Money, D.B. Borton’s first book in her Cat Caliban series, after decades of marriage and raising three children to adulthood, Cat is ready for a change. She sells her suburban home in Cincinnati, buys a small apartment complex, and decides she wants to become a private investigator. When a body is discovered in one of the upstairs apartments in her complex, Cat gets her chance to try to solve a murder. I will be honest, I almost DNF’d this book. I was fairly bored with it in the beginning and felt uninterested. I pushed through and I’m glad I did, because the story really picked up in the second half! I enjoyed Cat’s no-nonsense attitude and her renters/friends—I would really like to have more details about them. The real winners of this story, I felt, were her cats. They were definite scene-stealers! I also liked how Cat often referred to her knowledge of detective stories and films throughout the story, as well as the Old Hollywood aspect to the mystery. At times, I felt that the dialogue was a bit forced and it took me some time to get comfortable with the main character. I thought this one was alright. The story definitely picked up as it went on, and there’s a chance I might read more in this series, but I didn’t love it enough to want to read more this minute. If you like mysteries set in the late 80s/early 90s featuring a woman detective, give this one a try!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diane Johnson

    A fun mystery read with an unexpected lead detective. Cat Caliban, widow, mother of three grown children that we never see, mother of three cats too, decides she needs a change in her life and becomes the landlord of a small apartment building on the less desirable side of Cincinnati. Unfortunately, she finds a body in a vacant apartment. The body of a homeless bag lady who was murdered. Thus begins the real life changing career of Cat Caliban -- Private Detective. This is my second D.B. Borton r A fun mystery read with an unexpected lead detective. Cat Caliban, widow, mother of three grown children that we never see, mother of three cats too, decides she needs a change in her life and becomes the landlord of a small apartment building on the less desirable side of Cincinnati. Unfortunately, she finds a body in a vacant apartment. The body of a homeless bag lady who was murdered. Thus begins the real life changing career of Cat Caliban -- Private Detective. This is my second D.B. Borton read, the first being Bayou City Burning, which I loved. One for the Money was an entertaining read, and I enjoyed the main character's journey as a novice detective. Her approach, whose experience stems from motherhood (and not necessarily from being a perfect mother) is at times charming and comical. A female Sam Spade, if Spade was in his 60’s and had a mother's intuition. I enjoyed the silent era starlet connection, and the way the murder victim's life story unfolded. But I felt that something was missing, as far as Caliban herself was concerned. I didn't feel fully invested in her character, not as much as I wanted to be. Still a fun enough read and worth your time if you're looking for a light mystery in the vein of Murder, She Wrote. Again with wishing I could award half stars. I'd rate this a 3.5 but not quite a 4.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I will admit I liked the premise, older woman moves to less attractive part of town with thoughts of becoming a P.I. She also has cats that are involved in all aspects of her life. She buys an apartment building, which comes with a resident tenant, and, shortly after she moves in, a murdered body in an empty apartment. The beginning of the book moved a bit slowly for me. I would not call it a page turner. But I liked the characters, mainly the ones in the ones in the apartment and the cats. The mu I will admit I liked the premise, older woman moves to less attractive part of town with thoughts of becoming a P.I. She also has cats that are involved in all aspects of her life. She buys an apartment building, which comes with a resident tenant, and, shortly after she moves in, a murdered body in an empty apartment. The beginning of the book moved a bit slowly for me. I would not call it a page turner. But I liked the characters, mainly the ones in the ones in the apartment and the cats. The murdered woman turned out to be a surprise. The book is set in the 1980s and I admit I did check to see if someone named was actually still alive at that time. You'll have to read this book yourself to figure out to whom I am referring. I also liked that the book crossed boundaries, and brought up issues, such as a person's value, homelessness, and how we often know so little about persons we think we are close to. How we take our own experiences and filter our views. The ending had both exciting moments and some just interesting. On the surface it appears the case was solved, but there is enough doubt as to justice being served and fallout consequences. I can tell the series has a way to go and is just finding its feet.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julia Walker

    D. B. Horton has written a great story about a female senior citizen that has decided to have a career as a Private Investigator. She is widowed, her children grown with their own children, she is financially okay given her skills at budgeting, and wants some excitement in her life. Cat Caliban also has the speech of a sailor, a huge heart, and a great sense of right and wrong. She is one of the best characters I have come across in a long time, the kind you wish you could actually know. Cat buy D. B. Horton has written a great story about a female senior citizen that has decided to have a career as a Private Investigator. She is widowed, her children grown with their own children, she is financially okay given her skills at budgeting, and wants some excitement in her life. Cat Caliban also has the speech of a sailor, a huge heart, and a great sense of right and wrong. She is one of the best characters I have come across in a long time, the kind you wish you could actually know. Cat buys a small apartment complex in a not very reputable part of town, becomes a landlord to very unique good people, all of whom she respects and depends on to help her solve the crime. When Cat discovers a dead body in one of her empty apartments she decides that helping the police solve the murder would be great training for her new career. Unfortunately, the dead body is a homeless woman with a rather notorious standing in the area. Cat is extremely upset when it looks like the police might not be giving this investigation their best and declares she will solve the case on her own. The desire for success is enhanced when Cat finds that the woman was a silent film star in Hollywood in her younger years. Warning: THIS BOOK IS RATED PG-13 FOR LANGUAGE.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michele Bishop

    Cat Caliban is a 60 year old widow who decides to take her life in a different direction now that her children are grown and her husband has died. She sells her home and buys an apartment building in another part of town. She has one renter who has lived there prior to her purchase. Two ladies come to look at an appointment and upon opening it to show discovers the body of an unidentified woman. The police don't take a big interest once it's known that the victim was a homeless person. Cat has d Cat Caliban is a 60 year old widow who decides to take her life in a different direction now that her children are grown and her husband has died. She sells her home and buys an apartment building in another part of town. She has one renter who has lived there prior to her purchase. Two ladies come to look at an appointment and upon opening it to show discovers the body of an unidentified woman. The police don't take a big interest once it's known that the victim was a homeless person. Cat has decided to become a detective and usues this as her first case. With the help of her neighbor and the two ladies who rent the apartment across the hall, set out to discover who the lady is and why she was killed. During the search, she finds out the woman's name and finds out that her best friend, also a homeless woman has also been killed. It's a great story and I can't wait for the next one in the series. I received this book free from the author for my reviews of same.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Cat Caliban is recently widowed and wants to reinvent herself. What better way than to become a private investigator. And, before you know it, the perfect opportunity presents itself when a murder occurs in the apartment building she owns and lives in. One for the Money, the first book in the Cat Cliban series, is a cozy mystery with a cast of characters and, overall, it is absurd and ditzy. Cat has a somewhat foul mouth, the wise-cracks are often more than not over the top, and since the story Cat Caliban is recently widowed and wants to reinvent herself. What better way than to become a private investigator. And, before you know it, the perfect opportunity presents itself when a murder occurs in the apartment building she owns and lives in. One for the Money, the first book in the Cat Cliban series, is a cozy mystery with a cast of characters and, overall, it is absurd and ditzy. Cat has a somewhat foul mouth, the wise-cracks are often more than not over the top, and since the story takes place in the 80’s (written in early 1990’s), it does seem a bit dated. At times it is humorous and fun, but then there are other times… As one reviewer has already said, One for the Money won’t be mistaken for great literature, but it could be a nice escape on a wintery day. Or a sunny afternoon, for that matter. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tracie Crane

    A completely unique plot, almost a story inside another story. I enjoyed how relatable the main character was, and pretty funny too. Cat is a recent widow who has upended her life. She moves, buying an apartment complex and living onsite. and decides to start a new career as a private investigator. Her first job is a dead body in one of her vacant apartments which triggers a cascade of events right up to the climatic end. I loved it. Just so you know, there are a few "f" bombs scattered throughout A completely unique plot, almost a story inside another story. I enjoyed how relatable the main character was, and pretty funny too. Cat is a recent widow who has upended her life. She moves, buying an apartment complex and living onsite. and decides to start a new career as a private investigator. Her first job is a dead body in one of her vacant apartments which triggers a cascade of events right up to the climatic end. I loved it. Just so you know, there are a few "f" bombs scattered throughout but don't let that stop you from reading this book, in a weird way it works with the story line. Thank you to NetGalley, D.B. Borton and Boomerang Books for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    The plot was fairly interesting. Two elderly women living on the streets, one white and one black, are murdered. The main character, a widowed grandmother with a recently acquired apartment building, is on her way to becoming a private detective. She finds the body of one woman in her building and investigates. It's an intriguing plot, but I found myself wanting to reach the end not long after I started. The other inhabitants of her apartment building are interesting, but somehow I just couldn't The plot was fairly interesting. Two elderly women living on the streets, one white and one black, are murdered. The main character, a widowed grandmother with a recently acquired apartment building, is on her way to becoming a private detective. She finds the body of one woman in her building and investigates. It's an intriguing plot, but I found myself wanting to reach the end not long after I started. The other inhabitants of her apartment building are interesting, but somehow I just couldn't care for the main character. I think part of the problem was her constant use of "g-d". Also, when the killer is finally identified it barely registered and I don't really remember who it was or his motive.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rina

    This was the type of cosy mystery that I liked! It had an interesting main character (a 59-year-old granny), it was cosy enough (neighbours and cats were involved), but at the same time, it was substantial enough (murder had been committed and Cat Caliban had to face some dangers. It wasn't just an investigation of a missing coaster!). Lately I have been seeing a resurgence of books with older female protagonists, and I think it's really awesome. This book itself was a reissue that was originally This was the type of cosy mystery that I liked! It had an interesting main character (a 59-year-old granny), it was cosy enough (neighbours and cats were involved), but at the same time, it was substantial enough (murder had been committed and Cat Caliban had to face some dangers. It wasn't just an investigation of a missing coaster!). Lately I have been seeing a resurgence of books with older female protagonists, and I think it's really awesome. This book itself was a reissue that was originally published in the early 90s, and I'm glad it was, as the story was still relevant. Cat Caliban was an empty nester who was separated from her husband. So naturally, she decided to become a Landlord of a small apartment building, and opened her own Private Investigator business, because why not? She had heroic cats and interesting neighbours. And the amount of characters involved in this book was enormous, I had to create a relationship tree on my notebook! Anyway, it was really enjoyable! And just as an example, this was a snippet that made me chuckle out loud: It was related to the delusion that all grannies like to attend birthday parties with hordes of small children who will dribble melted ice cream on their best skirts, break their eardrums with screeching, and probably give them some virus that the elderly are defenseless against. How topical was this sentence in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic? Now I will go and read the next book. (Thanks to NetGalley and Ms. D.B. Borton for a free copy in exchange for an honest review) See my bookstagram review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    JOHN ABBATE

    A fun read Cat Caliban has decided to change her life. At 59 she is a widow with grown children . She sells her house, buys an apartment building, finds a dead body and decides to become a private investigator. The plot is well developed and the characters are diverse and fun. There is humor sprinkled throughout the book all of which leads to a good read. I did have two reservations however. While there were clues and red herrings scattered throughout the book with good effect, the motive was pres A fun read Cat Caliban has decided to change her life. At 59 she is a widow with grown children . She sells her house, buys an apartment building, finds a dead body and decides to become a private investigator. The plot is well developed and the characters are diverse and fun. There is humor sprinkled throughout the book all of which leads to a good read. I did have two reservations however. While there were clues and red herrings scattered throughout the book with good effect, the motive was presumed but not really developed. I also found all of the cursing, particularly in the beginning of the book, to be distracting and unnecessary.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    D.B. Borton’s One for the Money is a classic cozy mystery set in Cincinnati. Widower Cat Caliban is set on starting over and becoming a private investigator following her husband’s death when the perfect first case comes to her - a murder in the apartment above hers, in the building she owns. Borton’s mystery is fun and easy-going. Reminiscent of Rosemary & Thyme, it was a joy to read Cat discovering her craft as an investigator and making friends along the way. Thank you, Net Galley, and Ingram S D.B. Borton’s One for the Money is a classic cozy mystery set in Cincinnati. Widower Cat Caliban is set on starting over and becoming a private investigator following her husband’s death when the perfect first case comes to her - a murder in the apartment above hers, in the building she owns. Borton’s mystery is fun and easy-going. Reminiscent of Rosemary & Thyme, it was a joy to read Cat discovering her craft as an investigator and making friends along the way. Thank you, Net Galley, and Ingram Spark Books for the advanced reissue of this read.

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