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Cat on a Cold Tin Roof
Eli Paxton Mystery #3
Mike Resnick

Seventh Street Books
August 2014/ ISBN 1616148896
Mystery –detective

Reviewed by Cheryl Green


It 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?

I look 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.

Reviewed 2014