Book, screen, stage, festival & event reviews.
First up, you can buy K. T. McCaffrey’s novel The Cat Trap via Amazon here, but I strongly recommend you avoid reading the synopsis on there. Simply, it does not do the book enough justice, revealing a little too much of the plot and in an order out of synch with the voyage of discovery in the novel itself. The cover is eye-catching and promises a dynamic story with a strong female focus, so what is delivered?
In a nutshell: investigative reporter Emma Boylan left her husband and took up with Detective Inspector Jim Connolly. Connolly’s marriage had always seemed an ill match with a policeman married to a rather wealthy woman whose father gave them their large house as a wedding gift. All is fine, until one day, Connolly’s ex-wife asks him to visit her at precisely mid-day. With no answer, Connolly eventually discovers the body of Iseult in a car in the garage, an apparent suicide. Then comes the implosion. Connolly is arrested in connection with his ex-wife’s death and while on remand, Iseult’s friend Nuala is found on the property having been badly beaten and apparently raped. Fingers point at Connolly for Nuala’s murder when she later dies in hospital. Emma is convinced that Jim is innocent, but she’s up against her media colleagues, Connolly’s own police colleagues and Dublin society in trying to find out the truth…
Early scenes central to the plot are mixed with some other quite sinister ones. It soon becomes apparent that there are some very malign women operating in Dublin. And just what is the link? In crime fiction the setting for low life activities often falls to those with little money; but here, it’s with those with too much money and time on their hands that we enter that sinister and eerie world.
The novel is great on suspense and full of red herrings. You really do have to read all the way to the end to fnd out the truth, as Emma eventually does. There are plenty of strong and memorable characters, but are they all the seem to be?
Lastly, reading can also be an education. I was familiar with colonic irrigation but I’d never heard of "anal bleaching". (Go on, Google it yourself if you don’t already know.) I mention this as an example of the world entered in this novel. How some live…
The Cat Trap is a classic suspenseful mystery, brimming with malevolent and misplaced motivations and a welcome addition to the crime fiction reader’s bookshelf. Just make sure it’s high up in the To Be Read list.