Murder Unjoyful (Kat & Mouse #5) by Anita Waller

Your favourite sleuths are back in this festive-themed latest instalment of the bestselling Kat and Mouse series.

Book blurb

The lead up to Christmas sees the Connection private investigation team planning their festive season. Until a new case arrives…

Catapulted into their biggest mystery yet, they are tasked with finding a killer who has been released on parole, and subsequently disappeared. Has he returned to finish the murder he tried to commit before his capture nineteen years earlier?

As he targets his intended victim, his attention is also focused on the private investigators and their police colleagues with devastating effect.

With families torn apart, Doris must seek assistance from a colleague from her past to give Connection the best chance of bringing a psychopath to justice.

How will it end? Is this the last we will see of Kat, Mouse, Doris and Luke? And can Connection continue?

My thoughts

This is both a heartwarming and yet quite a dark book. It opens with the kidnap of a woman who is then forced to murder a man.

Jumping forward in time nearly two decades later a couple, Julie and Greg, arrive at Connections – the detective agency set up by Kat and Mouse – their story is about how Julie ended up in a wheelchair and that the man who did this has recently been released from prison on parole. The man has now disappeared. Julie and her husband, Greg, are really worried that he is out to find Julie, who testified against him, in order to take his revenge.

The Connections team – Kat, Mouse, Mouse’s grandmother Doris and Luke – swing into action when they realise that everything is tied into the killing that took place decades ago. They bring in a security team headed up by Mark Plater to keep Julie, Greg, their son Oliver and his girlfriend Saskia, Julie’s carer Tracy and her daughter Kaya safe and locked down in their home.

DCI Tessa Marsden has been brought in to oversee the police investigation into the missing prisoner. She and Hayley now live together – under the radar of work – and Hayley, a D.S., is part of the police investigation as well. Craig, Kat’s husband, is a D.I. in the Derbyshire force and is overseeing things until Tessa arrives.

Even though Connections have been engaged to locate the missing man – Paul Fraser – they have previous history of working investigations alongside the Police and they have worked well together.

In this fifth and, purportedly, the last book of this cracking series we are approaching Christmas and Amanda Waller blends the joy of Christmas, friends and family with this ‘Unjoyful’ investigation which will hit Connections and those close to them very hard. Anita Waller does not pull any punches and this is not a tame or cosy, humdrum tale. No, not at all. Rather it is a twisted tale of revenge and betrayal on a number of levels. Yet, you still feel and enjoy the strong relationships between Kat, Craig and their daughter Martha, Mouse and her boyfriend Joel, Luke and Doris. Along with their police friends – Tessa and Hayley. All of whom are well drawn and you, reader if you are anything like me, are totally invested in.

Alongside the investigation is the story of Mouse’s Nan and a friend who she calls upon to help with information about Konrad Bialik, the man who was killed, and in locating Paul – Alastair Glentham, an old flame and colleague, wants to takes this opportunity to see if what he still feels about Doris is reciprocated and a relationship can be rekindled. So, rather than just sending information electronically, he turns up in person. This is such a charming side story and yet another thread woven seamlessly into the whole.

I have not meet the author but I reckon she is a straight talking, kindhearted woman who doesn’t brook any kind of nonsense, if at all possible, because that is how she writes and still she is able to cleverly draw you into a dark, engrossing storyline with enough others threads to keep you rather upbeat. There are also some truly heartbreaking moments and a twist or two so that just when you think it’s all over something else crops up and then there’s the end which truly is dark.

I’ll be sad if this is the last Kat and Mouse – a series which I have enjoyed – maybe there’s room for another just to tie up one or two loose ends. Maybe it’s better to stop so that it doesn’t become stale. Whatever happens this has been another cracking read from Anita Waller which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is a really good series and one which I would most certainly recommend.


With thanks to Hayley at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to read Murder Unjoyful and an eBook via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own, I do not receive any payment for my reviews.


Published: Bloodhound Books (Nov 2020)

Facebook: @bloodhoundbooks | Twitter: @Bloodhoundbook | Instagram: @bloodhoundbooks_publishing

Buy: Hive | Find your local bookshop UK |AmazonSmileUK


Anita was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and has lived all her life there. She has three adult children and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 9 months to 21 years. Anita and Dave have been married almost 49 years!

She wrote Beautiful in 1985 and had it accepted for publication. They were the contract stage when the publishing house went into liquidation.

Like many another book it ended up in the loft until two years ago when she resurrected it, retyped all 100,000 words (it was orginally written on an Amstrad 8256 and all she had was a hard copy!) and sent it off to Bloodhound Books.

She is now retired from my life of being a Patchwork Tutor and HGV driver’s wife and concentrates on patchwork for the pleasure of it and writing. She started writing at around the age of 8 – she clearly remembers writing ‘novels’ at that age which were actually short stories split into chapters!

Anita’s genre is murder – but murder with a good reason behind it!

Anita Waller can be followed on Facebook, her website, Twitter


Beautiful (2015). Angel (2016). 34 Days (2016). Winterscroft (2017).

Strategy (2017). Captor (2018). Game Players (2018). Malignant (2018)

Dark Minds – a collection of forty short stories by forty different authors. All proceeds will be split between two charities, Sophies Appeal and Hospice UK.

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