Mrs Pargeter isn’t one for cats – well, nobody’s perfect. But she’s always willing to help out a friend, even if she finds herself at a charity auction for Philipussies, a charity dedicated to bringing homeless Greek cats to the UK, to do so. Something doesn’t seem quite right about the charity, though, but Mrs Pargeter has other concerns.
At the auction, she meets, for the first time, her sister-in-law. A sister-in-law who seems to be wrapped up in whatever is going on behind the charity and has demands of Mrs Pargeter. You see, Mrs Pargeter has a black book containing all of her deceased husband’s contacts – contacts who have, as Liam Neeson might say, a particular set of skills. And when the book disappears from inside an impregnable safe and a sweet old lady who works for the charity is found throttled in Epping Forest, it seems that for once, Mrs P may be in more trouble than she can deal with…
This was the sort of the read that I needed. Sometimes a bad book can knock my reading off track, and while Death Paints A Picture helped get me back on track, this one was near perfect. Oh, it’s not a perfect book for some readers of the blog – it’s hardly a mystery, more of an adventure – but Simon Brett is such an old hand at this sort of thing, it simply doesn’t matter.
Mrs P and her menagerie of ex-cons are charming company and the introduction of her nemesis of a sister-in-law is a stroke of genius. You might have to overlook Brett’s rather simplistic view of technology (the gadget that can open ANY lock remotely) but I found it remarkably easy to do that. This is a bright, breezy tale that shows Brett’s skills as a writer. Occasionally I’ve had a bit of a niggle about the mystery element of some of his Charles Paris stories, but by effectively not really being a mystery – similarly to the previous Mrs P outing – this doesn’t become an issue at all.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this one immensely. An easy read, funny at times, thrilling at times and a real page-turner. Highly Recommended.