Stolen: A Kieran Yeats Mystery by Linda J Wright takes us to Vancouver Island, off the coast of Canada, where former crown prosecutor and poet aficionado, Kieran Yeats now lives with her two cats, Trey and Vlad. A passionate animal lover and disillusioned with the law, especially as it relates to animal cruelty matters, Kieran quit her job in Toronto and moved to Vancouver Island where she now operates a private detective agency specialising in animal crime and animal cruelty issues. When her distraught, thirteen-year-old god-daughter, Jen comes to her and begs her to help find some stolen, very expensive, Bengal cats, she was babysitting at a cattery, Kieran has to pull herself out from her annual funk and try to help her. What she discovers is that not only have the Bengal cats been stolen, but a whole raft of neighbourhood pets have also gone missing. Clearly it is the work of evil “bunchers” who steal animals, to order, for research at Universities, Government laboratories and private labs. Kieran is determined to bring these “bunchers” to heel, but she is also weighed down by her own personal issues and the expectations of so many lonely, lost neighbours, who are mourning the loss of their beloved family members; their pets.
This story, for me, was unique in that it focuses on an area I have read little about in the past. That in itself was interesting – who knew there were PI’s specialising in animal cases? Linda J Wright is as clearly as passionate and as concerned about animal rights and welfare issues as her fictional heroine, Kieran Yeats and that passion shows through in her writing. Stolen: A Kieran Yeats Mystery was a wonderfully easy read and one I quickly got caught up in. The characters were all sharply defined and it was easy to identify, to empathise, and to root, for all of them, especially the young child known only as “Trouble”. The author used the story to raise awareness of the need for more protection for animals, under law, in Canada and I am always impressed, as a reader, when social issues are able to be promoted in fiction, without drawing away from the enjoyment of the story and this author does it extremely well. I’m unsure if this was a debut novel by this author, but I am certain she has found a niche market for her books and especially her heroine, the flawed, but good-hearted, Kieran Yeats. I look forward to more adventures from her. This is a highly-readable and fascinating story that I recommend to all.