is snowing in Cincinnati and Eli Paxton is happy to be in
his apartment watching old mystery movies. Right now, he and
his Westie, Marlowe, are watching a Falcon marathon. So when
the phone rings at 3:00AM, he doesn't bother to answer. Who
calls a detective with a job in the middle of what is looking
like a blizzard? Eli is just settling back into a doze when
the phone rings again. This time he answers. It is his friend,
Jim Simmons - with the Cincinnati Police Dept. Jim is calling
from Grandin Road - a wealthy area of Cincinnati. There has
been a murder and the widow has a job for a detective. Eli
is always in need of cash, so he bundles up and heads out
to the crime scene. First, Eli gets detailed directions to
the Pepperidge home. This is because Eli is electronically
challenged. He doesn't have a cell phone, computer, GPS or
even Caller ID.
It seems Malcolm
Pepperidge was shot to death on his balcony. Malcolm, AKA
Big Jim Palanto, used to be the financial adviser for the
mob. Fifteen years ago, after making them a fortune, he left
on good terms. He started a new life with a new name. Now
it seems that several of his old friends were going on trial.
Big Jim Palanto has received a subpoena to testify against
them. Mrs. Pepperidge's job for Eli is to find her cat, Fluffy.
He is given a big retainer and a great per diem. Since he
is now working for Mrs. Pepperidge, Eli is on the clock. Hard
to track a cat when the snow is falling an inch an hour. He
does make a show of checking out the area. In the morning
he is off to all the local animal shelters. No luck. The next
day one of the shelters calls, and Eli picks up Fluffy. He
brings Fluffy to Mrs. Pepperidge, and she still looks annoyed.
So annoyed that Eli ends up arrested and in jail!
Things to ponder:
Did the mob rub Malcolm/Big Jim out to prevent him from testifying?
Why is Mrs. Pepperidge not thrilled to have her cat returned?
Who is Val Sorrentino and why does he want to work with Eli?
forward to reading each new story involving Eli Paxton - the
always down on his luck private detective. The author, Mike
Resnick, pulls you right into the story with his writing style
and great plotting. There is a lot of humor in this mystery.
This was a fast-paced, page turner of a read. I enjoy the
main character and the eclectic group of friends and acquaintances
that pass through the pages. I think I might like to watch
those old mystery movies with Eli, but since that probably
won't happen I will settle for reading all his adventures.
Who knew looking for a missing cat would lead to a drug cartel,
mob guys and a crazy widow? So if you like your mystery with
a smart detective, then you should be reading Cat on a
Cold Tin Roof.