A CAT OF ONE’S OWN
By Lydia Adamson
Even though I am unable to grasp how the title relates to the book, it still is an interesting story. This is Number 17 in the series of the Alice Nestleton Mysteries.
The tale opens with Alice finding herself visiting, by invitation, an old acquaintance from the theatre, Amanda Avery. She learns that since they had met five years prior Amanda married an affluent man who had recently passed away. On his deathbed he had asked her to find a companion for his older Gordon setter – a cat.
Alice, being a cat person with two of her own, agreed to go with her to the local rescue. There were many cats to choose from, but Amanda wanted one that was unique. She found it sound asleep and splayed out in a cage. It was a harlequin looking cat split right down the middle from nose to tippy tail in two colors, black and tan. The same coloring as the dog Good Girl. This cat’s name was Jake. He was brought home and much to Amanda’s fears and, eventually delights, settled in.
Several days later Alice gets a frantic call from her friend saying that Jake has disappeared! She rushes over to her house and the door is opened by Amanda’s friend, Harvey Stith. As the three are searching the house for him, the phone rings. Jake has been kidnapped and there is a demand for $15,000!
Amanda wants to pay without involving the police. Even though they don’t agree with her decision, Alice and Harvey decide to stay vigilant near the exchange point. They can see her handing over the ransom and then Jake put in her arms. As they happily walk towards her, Amanda falters and drops to the sidewalk! There’s an ice pick in her back!
The two detectives who are assigned the case peg Alice and Harvey as prime suspects. The cat had vanished from Amanda’s place with no break-in and there were only two other keys which they both had.
Alice, along with her boyfriend Bondo, starts to look into her friend’s past and discovers to her dismay that she had led several different lives! She frequented bars where theatre people usually congregated, she was taking dancing classes, and was even taking writing classes!
Among her belongings she found a hidden book, Mrs. Dalloway. Seeing all the notations in the margins. Alice deduced she was preparing the book for a play script. Could this be the reason why she was killed?
As she and her boyfriend Bondo continue searching for clues other avenues of suspicion and motive open as they delve deeper into Amanda’s past. In the end an astonishing incident brings them closer to the killer. They set up a sting with Jake the cat as the incentive. Will the sting succeed? Will Jake survive? Will the killer be ousted? Though not a barn burner, this book is an interesting read. ~ Marilu Shellie
Lydia Adamson is the pen name for Franklin B. King who is an author, free-lance writer and copywriter. In addition to the Alice Nestleton series, he is the author of the Deirdre Quinn Nightingale and Lucy Wayles series. He lives in New York City.
Beginning his writing career in 1978 (producing his works under the name Frank King) with the novel ‘Down and Dirty’, it wasn’t until 1990 that Frank began writing using the pseudonym of Lydia Adamson. The first novel to be published under this pen name was ‘A Cat in the Manger’, and the first book within the Alice Nestleton series.