Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat

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Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat

A Conan Flagg Mystery

Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat was originally written in the early 1970s and so the story and plot have an appealing vintage vibe. I also have to admit to being lured by the notion of a cat as a character or at least a sidekick to the sleuth, but the cat played a surprisingly minor role in this mystery. The mystery setup itself is also a mindbender, with the murder victim last seen settling in to read a copy of Crime and Punishment, and the sleuth Conan Flagg finding that very volume back on the shelf in his bookstore the next morning. With all this going for it, I have to admit that the pace was a little too slow to fully capture and hold my interest. There was a good deal of narrative and exposition at times when, as a reader, I really wanted to delve into the heart of the mystery. The main character, Conan Flagg, is complex and appealing, but secondary characters were less colorful and memorable. The book did surprise me, taking me down unexpected paths plot wise.

For those who like mysteries with a slow build, lots of setting detail, a complex sleuth, and a Cold War spy theme, I would recommend Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat. However, if you were hoping for a cozy cat mystery or a fast-paced, easy read, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

When Capt. Harold Jeffries is killed not far from his bookshop, ex-CIA operative Conan Flagg is drawn into the mystery of the man's death. It's an apropos conundrum for Flagg, as the last activity the dead man was seen engaging in was reading a book he'd rented from Conan's shop. The bigger mystery is how the book turned up back on the bookshelf the next morning.

Book Blurb for Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat

The police called it an accident. The dead man's wife insisted it was murder. Either way it was maddeningly mysterious.

Captain Harold Jeffries, swaddled in his robe, had settled down for a cozy evening with Crime and Punishment when his wife left the house for a bridge party. An hour later he was dead. What could have induced him to dress and go out into the stormy night—much less to walk on the beach, which he hated and never went near?

Conan Flagg, proprietor of the Holliday Beach Bookshop and Rental Library, is persuaded by Jeffries' widow to investigate privately; and astonishingly, all the clues lead to Flagg's own Dickensian establishment. With passing assistance from Meg, the bookstore cat, Flagg baits a trap to catch a rat—and finds himself dangerously involved in a crime with implications far beyond this lazy seaside village.

Night Owl Reviews Feb, 2015 3.00