A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Black Cat in a Unique Tale of Intrigue and Murder

Miss Cuddlywumps reviews Black Cat’s Legacy by Elaine Faber

Black Cat’s Legacy is, as the cover suggests, “a tale of intrigue and murder.” The story begins with the recently divorced Kimberlee Larsen driving through Northern California on her way to Oregon. She’s taking her young daughter, Amanda, to have some fun in Safari Land, but some car trouble lands them instead in a place called Fern Lake—a place that turns out to be filled with memories, and nightmares, from Kimberlee’s past.

Soon enough, Kimberlee and Amanda are staying in a cabin at Herman’s Motor Lodge. In the cabin next door is a good-looking author of true-crime books, Brett Clarke, in town to research a 25-year-old murder case that could be the subject of his next book. Brett has an eye for the ladies and seems to be on the make whenever a woman walks into his vicinity—that’s certainly the way he strikes Kimberlee at first. But under that shell is a man longing for a family, and Kimberlee and Amanda look perfect to him. Trouble is, he’s digging into the murder of Kimberlee’s father, and Kimberlee has never been told how her father died. Will they be able to uncover the truth, and what might that truth mean for Kimberlee?

The black cat of the title is a black-and-white feline with six toes on each paw. He lives around the motor lodge and is called Black Cat by the owner and manager, though Amanda quickly names him Thumper. There’s always been a Black Cat on the premises—in fact, Kimberlee remembers one from her childhood—and the current cat is a descendent of all those others. But Thumper is not only a descendent; he can also tap into the memories of his ancestors, just as though they were his own memories. It is those memories that help Thumper fulfill his legacy and point the humans toward clues that are crucial in solving the case.

We thought the concept of a cat experiencing his ancestors’ memories was the best part of Black Cat’s Legacy. Such a fascinating possibility… We loved the idea of Thumper accessing his great-great-grandfather’s memories. We also loved the basic story line: the adult daughter coming unexpectedly to the home of her earliest childhood, where she confronts the truth about what happened to her father. That said, we also thought there could have been more tension and uncertainty in the plot and that the characters could have been more thoroughly fleshed out. The story often feels a little wooden and doesn’t have the ring of truth that keeps us turning pages. Also, the presence of several typos detracted from the reading experience.

All in all,

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