Another Mary Stewart, another thumbs up! Touch Not the Cat is my second Mary Stewart and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. Like Thornyhold it is a combination romance/suspense/family drama that is smart, thrilling and has that sprinkling of the supernatural that I so enjoy.
Bryony Ashley is telepathic. Not just with anyone, though. She can only communicate through her mind with one person, her ‘lover’, a person she doesn’t know the identity of, but who is her constant companion and support. When her father is hit by a car and killed in Germany she knows instantly in her mind because her lover lets her know. After the funeral, Bryony learns that she has inherited the family cottage, but that the rest of the vast family estate has gone to her male cousin, Emory. However, the entire family, including herself and Emory’s two brothers, have to give their permission if Emory ever wants to sell the old pile. Well, it just so happens that Emory is having money troubles and subtly pressures Bryony into giving her permission for him to sell everything so he can repay his debts. Bryony is reluctant because she slowly uncovers evidence that Emory is a ruthless, cold man who has no scruples when it comes to getting money.
In the meantime, she desperately searches for the identity of her lover (who she thinks is one of her cousins) and befriends the American family who are renting the estate. When she discovers that valuable art pieces are missing from the house things come to a head and her cousin’s true motives and the identity of her lover are both revealed. The end of the novel is a sensational page-turner that had me tense with anxiety.
Touch Not the Cat is a very entertaining book, kind of silly, but I like Mary Stewart’s characters and her style of writing. I put a hold at the library on a volume that has four of her novels, but it seems the book is missing so I think I will buy some of her novels from the Internet because I truly like them and want to read more. The mixture of suspense + romance + history + sympathetic heroines + interesting settings =instant enjoyment and pleasure.