“Touch Not the Cat” by Mary Stewart

Bryony returns to the Uk after experiencing an odd telepathic experience suggesting that her father has died. She knows that she is linked to someone whom she believes is the love of her life, but she doesn’t know his identity – only that he is there in her home village when she arrives to take care of her father’s Will. However, it becomes clear that there is a little confusion over to whom the family estate is actually left.

The story is surprisingly simple. A mere who-dunnit on inheriting middle England land, with a murderer, a complex set of twists and revelations, and a love story. What sets the story apart from others is the Telepathy involved. Our central protagonist is linked via her thoughts to another person, but she doesn’t know who he is. This is what provides the interest in this otherwise basic Agatha Christie-a-like. Both Bryony and the reader themself is kept very much in the dark about who her love truly is – needless to say, in true cliche-but-necessary-fashion, there is a pureblood red herring in the mist. Right from the onset the suggestion is there, and the evidence all points to one person… Both as the long lost lover and the murderer…

I read this for one reason and one reason alone. The title. Weird, yeah. The grammar is pure gold to me. I discovered completely randomly that the phrase is in fact the mcpherson family motto, and emblazoned on one of their memorials in the Newtonmore area of central Scotland. And i’d seen the book a million times on the bookshelf at my chalet, so i linked the two and thought, heck, i should read that.

Wonderfully, i didn’t have any idea there would be a supernatural element. I was expecting a run of the mill mystery, maybe a rather boring romance of sorts. But no.

In fact, the supernatural element is crucial to my praise. It was, bottom line, a little unexciting. Readable, but not standout.