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The Cat Next Door Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312209258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312209254
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.1 x 22 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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By Louis M. Perdue on Aug. 27 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...but even when not at her best, a Marian Babson book is fun to read. As stated in other reviews, this is not really so much a mystery as a psychological study of a family under stress. Margot returns to her family home in England after having lived in New York the past eighteen months. She returns home as one of her cousins is on trial for the murder of another cousin, actually the twin of the accused.
Why is this not the best? Well, there are a LOT of characters introduced very quickly into the story and it is, at first, rather confusing keeping up with who is the cousin/aunt/uncle/father/daughter of whom. Secondly, there are few clues as to whom the real murderer is. And last, the final solution is a little out there. The murderer confesses without there being any real pressure on him/her to do so...s/he just states it as a fact and goes on with the story of what really happened.
But, leaving those complaints aside, this book is enjoyable & quick to read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a cat mystery and/or is a fan of other Marian Babson books.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid Marian Babson fan, and cannot think of a single novel that she's written that I did not enjoy to some degree or another. Having admitted to that, I must own that while I enjoyed reading "The Cat Next Door," this novel, unlike previous Babson books, was not that much of a mystery novel. It was not one of her lighthearted works either. Essentially, the plot is as follows: about a year ago, Claudia (wife of rising member of parliament, Kingsley) was found stabbed in her parent's garden. Standing over her with a knife in her hand, was her twin sister, Chloe Morton. Now, Chloe's trial is about to begin, and family members have descended from all corners of the world in order to give support to shell-shocked family.
Margot (cousin to Chloe and Claudia), a professional photographer, returns home to her childhood home, in order to lend support to the uncle and aunt who helped raise her (Chloe and Claudia's parents). Tired and depressed, she is appalled to find that her uncle and aunt have more or less fallen apart at the seams: her Aunt Milly has retreated into the world of Regency romance novels, and her Uncle Wilfred has taken to overeating. And then there is Claudia's teenage daughter, Lynette, who has barricaded herself in her grandparents's bedroom and refuses to leave... As the date of the trial draws near, the tense atmosphere in the house mounts, as Margot tries to make sense of what happened and of Chloe's refusal to cooperate with the police or her counsel (Chloe has refused to talk to anyone about Claudia's murder). Kingsley wants the family to pressure Chloe to plead guilty so that she will never have to face a trial, and so that Lynette will not have to testify.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not her best... Aug. 27 2003
By Louis M. Perdue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...but even when not at her best, a Marian Babson book is fun to read. As stated in other reviews, this is not really so much a mystery as a psychological study of a family under stress. Margot returns to her family home in England after having lived in New York the past eighteen months. She returns home as one of her cousins is on trial for the murder of another cousin, actually the twin of the accused.
Why is this not the best? Well, there are a LOT of characters introduced very quickly into the story and it is, at first, rather confusing keeping up with who is the cousin/aunt/uncle/father/daughter of whom. Secondly, there are few clues as to whom the real murderer is. And last, the final solution is a little out there. The murderer confesses without there being any real pressure on him/her to do so...s/he just states it as a fact and goes on with the story of what really happened.
But, leaving those complaints aside, this book is enjoyable & quick to read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a cat mystery and/or is a fan of other Marian Babson books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
not much of a mystery, but still a good read April 5 2002
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid Marian Babson fan, and cannot think of a single novel that she's written that I did not enjoy to some degree or another. Having admitted to that, I must own that while I enjoyed reading "The Cat Next Door," this novel, unlike previous Babson books, was not that much of a mystery novel. It was not one of her lighthearted works either. Essentially, the plot is as follows: about a year ago, Claudia (wife of rising member of parliament, Kingsley) was found stabbed in her parent's garden. Standing over her with a knife in her hand, was her twin sister, Chloe Morton. Now, Chloe's trial is about to begin, and family members have descended from all corners of the world in order to give support to shell-shocked family.
Margot (cousin to Chloe and Claudia), a professional photographer, returns home to her childhood home, in order to lend support to the uncle and aunt who helped raise her (Chloe and Claudia's parents). Tired and depressed, she is appalled to find that her uncle and aunt have more or less fallen apart at the seams: her Aunt Milly has retreated into the world of Regency romance novels, and her Uncle Wilfred has taken to overeating. And then there is Claudia's teenage daughter, Lynette, who has barricaded herself in her grandparents's bedroom and refuses to leave... As the date of the trial draws near, the tense atmosphere in the house mounts, as Margot tries to make sense of what happened and of Chloe's refusal to cooperate with the police or her counsel (Chloe has refused to talk to anyone about Claudia's murder). Kingsley wants the family to pressure Chloe to plead guilty so that she will never have to face a trial, and so that Lynette will not have to testify. But Margot cannot help but wonder if Chloe is actually guilty of having killed Claudia, or if she is covering up for someone else?
"The Cat Next Door" is not really a murder mystery novel at all (there are no cunning plot twists or red herring suspects), but a study of the psychological study of how a slightly eccentric family copes with a crisis. The novel unfolded a little slowly but flowed effortlessly, thus making it a really easy read. I must admit however that the manner in which everything was finally resolved did beggar belief! For the Claudia's murderer to calmly admit all, esp when no one suspected this character of any wrongdoing was not very probable. I think it would have been more likely for this character to have carried on the course (s)he had decided on and let everyone else stew! However the book was a nice read, and if you're looking for something to curl up with before falling asleep, you can't really go wrong with this novel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not really exciting Aug. 26 2010
By Clarinerd85 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really wasn't thrilled with this book. I bought it because I read another one of Babson's books, "In the Company of Cats," and I loved it. This one, however, was very much lackluster in comparison. It just seemed to drag on forever, especially with needless details. Do you really need to know what the coffee tastes like, down to the very last milliliter? Or what color every flower in the garden is? Are these clues supposed to help the reader solve the crime? It just felt like the story was trudging forward with few real plot twists. It wasn't exciting and definitely wasn't a "couldn't put it down" sort of book. At only 192 pages, it took me forever to read. Also, one of the reasons I wanted to read this book is because I love cats, and the cat in the book had no real role. The story wouldn't have lost anything without him. He was just awkwardly shoved into the story but had nothing to do with it. All in all, disappointed with this book.
Not a whodunit Dec 12 2010
By Jaybird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a fun read, at least for those of us who find the Anglicisms colorful rather than annoying. For example, apparently in the U.K. one "sells up" a house rather than just selling it. Some of the foods are puzzling to this clod, but one of the author's hobbies is apparently cooking so I didn't mind. But a whodunit this is not.

In a "real" murder mystery the reader is offered clues along the way so if observant and able to winnow the information at least can make a guess as to what has happened. No way in this book as all the critical facts are dumped on the reader virtually at the end. And that's where the killer openly confesses for no particular reason -- other than there's not an iota of evidence for an arrest, much less a conviction. But I did like Tikki, the cat, even if he is totally irrelevant to the plot.
"Something about the motionless waterlogged form suggested that the woman was beyond help." May 24 2014
By Mark Louis Baumgart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Margot is home from America because Chloe has killed her twin sister Claudia. Or so it seems. The only witness to the crime is the emotionally scarred, and difficult, Lynette, who is Claudia's child, and who found Chloe with the bloody knife in her hand.

While the publisher has promoted this book as a mystery, it is not. What it is, is a long, and pretty bland, English gothic detailing the stress, and the deterioration of a family. And this is the meat of the plot of this novel.

One of the first things that will grab the reader's attention is that there is the feel that the reader has fallen into the middle of a book that has already begun long before the first page is read. I, at first, thought that this was part of a series, but no, it seems to be a stand-alone. Margot is already home, the murder has happened months ago, and the reader is plunked down in the middle of a large and confusing cast of characters. Unfortunately, not many of them ever became interesting enough for me, the reader, to keep straight in my mind, and those that do standout, standout only because of their irritation factor. F'r ghod's sake, after a while I just wanted to stick my boot down Wilfred's throat, as this fat boy just kept eating, and eating, and stuffing food into his mouth like an alcoholic who can't stop drinking. But he's not alone, everybody in this family seems dysfunctional in some obnoxious, or irritating, manner; I just wanted to beat Lynette senseless with her damn bell. And since the reader is set down, cold, into all of this, there is no sympathy for any of them, and their behavior just becomes tiresome, so that while this book is rather short, it just seemed to take forever to get through.

Marian Babson is supposed to be some form of humorist, but while all of this dysfunctional psychosis may be droll, it wasn't, in the end, amusing, insightful, or entertaining.

Again, this is marketed as a mystery, but there is no mystery, no detecting, no on stage crime until page one hundred and thirty-seven, and even that happens off-stage and only the results are shown. The novel's true murderer, whose identity I had long stopped carrying about, is only revealed, by accident, at the novel's ending. Yes, you have to wade through almost two hundred pages of humdrum and tedious misbehavior in "The Cat Next Door" to get to the denouement. It's a bad sign when you envy the two dead characters as they got out of the novel before the reader did.

ON THE OTHER HAND, Kam Mac gives this novel a dynamite cover. What an excellent portrait of a cat, you can see every hair and whisker. Sadly, if you think you're going to read a mystery novel with a cat as an integral character you're going to be sadly disappointed. Tikki has little page time as he wanders in and out of the novel in a random manner, and is seen in only a few pages, total, of this novel . Lucky cat.

I'm sorry, but while Marian Babson has been very prolific over the years, there's just not a chance in Hell that I am going to read any more of her novels.

For this site I have reviewed these other British cozies:

The Limbo Connection by Derry Quinn.
Lock 14 (Inspector Maigret Mysteries) by George Simenon.
Lion in the Cellar by Pamela Branch.
Mrs. Bradley #18: The Rising of the Moon (Virago Modern Classics) by Gladys Mitchell.
Mrs. Bradley #46: Winking At the Brim - Large Print by Gladys Mitchell.
Mrs. Bradley #48: Late, Late in the Evening by Gladys Mitchell.
The shadow before by L. P. Davies.
What did I do tomorrow? by L. P. Davies.
The Wooden Overcoat by Pamela Branch.

And one from Canada.

In Adam's Fall by Phoebe Wray.

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