Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

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A Cat of One's Own by Lydia Adamson

Dutton, Feb., 1999.
Hardcover, 186 pages.
ISBN: 0525944281.
Ordering information:

A Cat of One's Own
by Lydia Adamson Sometime actress and cat-sitter Alice Nestleton gets a phone call from her old friend, Amanda. Amanda asks Alice for her assitance in finding a new cat. Over the strenuous objections of the animal shelter volunteers, Alice picks Jake, an unusual harlequin marked cat. Jake subsequently is catnapped, and the catnappers demand an outrageous ransom of $15,000. Amanda complies, but is herself murdered during the exchange. Now Alice, with her insatiable curiosity sets out on the trail to find a catnapper/killer. Her investigation quickly reveals that her friend Amanda was living double life, and that she herself is a prime suspect in the murder.

The appeal of the Alice Nestleton series lies in its lighthearted approach. Those who enjoy a cheerful, happy story with some laughs along the way will delight in the adventures of Alice et al.

Brunswick Gardens by Anne Perry

Fawcett Columbine, Feb., 1999.
ISBN: 0449003183.
Ordering information:

Brunswick Gardens
by Anne Perry In 1891 London, Superintendent Thomas Pitt is assigned a nasty murder case. A young, independent feminist employed by a scholarly cleric, the Reverend Parmenter, to assist him in his research into ancient languages took a tumble down the staircase in the Parmenter home, after calling out, "No, no…Reverend". Of course she turns out to have been quite pretty -- and pregnant, to boot. Suspicion falls onto the heretofore respectable clergyman, the young curate in the house and the Reverend Parmenter's son, who has converted to Catholicism, to the horror of his Church of England family. As Pitt digs into everyone's background, he finds more than sufficient motives in the household to do away with the rabble-rousing Unity Bellwood. Pitt must find the murderer while fending off the pressures from the Church, and from his own wife, who has taken a personal interest in the case.

In this latest adventure starring Thomas Pitt and his irrepressible wife Charlotte, the question of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and the effect it had on the religious faith of many people is explored -- sometimes in ponderous detail. The subplot with the handsome scoundrel Dominic (returning from a previous book) who has turned in his rogue's reputation for a clerical collar is quite interesting, as is his renewed relationship with Charlotte. Charlotte's investigations are always welcome, and Perry's rendering of Victorian England is as vivid as ever. Another treat for Perry fans.

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