Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat by M K Wren

Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat by M K Wren
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (182 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

The police called it an accident. The dead man’s wife insisted it was murder. Either way it was maddeningly mysterious.

Captain Harold Jeffries, swaddled in his robe, had settled down for a cozy evening with Crime and Punishment when his wife left the house for a bridge party. An hour later he was dead. What could have induced him to dress and go out into the stormy night—much less to walk on the beach, which he hated and never went near?

Conan Flagg, proprietor of the Holliday Beach Bookshop and Rental Library, is persuaded by Jeffries’ widow to investigate privately; and astonishingly, all the clues lead to Flagg’s own Dickensian establishment. With passing assistance from Meg, the bookstore cat, Flagg baits a trap to catch a rat—and finds himself dangerously involved in a crime with implications far beyond this lazy seaside village.

Conan has retired from one of those agencies with acronyms that use special forces and spies for the government. He now has a bookstore where he rents books to readers. He also does special orders for customers and is living a calm life by the sea. At least, it was. Now there’s been a “suicide” that feels like murder and he’s seen an old friend of his from the past. Are the two related? Why would the Major be hanging in his town?

I’ve read Ms. Wren’s work in the past and know her to be a concise, precise writer who doesn’t waste time with extra description or drama to tell her story. That’s true in this story, too.

Conan Flagg, her main character, left the service because he almost died from an injury. He’s very aware of his surroundings, he’s almost on hyper alert at all times, and he’s willing to fight to protect those around him, his store and his town. He just has to figure out just what is going on. He finally does but he’s not happy with the results. They are using his bookstore to drop coded messages. Who would expect espionage in a small coastal town? It’s a good guess that those Russian trawlers sitting three miles out might.

I enjoyed watching Conan determine who in town might be a player. He has an even more personal interest in it when he finds the Major dead in his office. It’s just by chance he isn’t dead, too. With what he knows and what he guesses, he calls in help and then begins watching people to prove his theory.

The story is busy, entertaining, and I liked the way Ms. Wren showed off Conan’s manly strength and personality. He doesn’t run and he doesn’t give up. The ending is exciting, dangerous and interesting at the same time. You never know who your friends are until you need them.

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