Christianna Brand's Cat and Mouse is a book that has haunted me since the first time I read it 30 years ago or more. Maybe it was just because I was much younger but "haunted" is indeed what this book has done to me. Just thinking about it creates a creepy atmosphere around me!
I found this in an old brown edition from The Detective's Book Club. It made the story look intriguing from the start. I knew nothing about the story or the author and I dove right in.
The heroine, Tinka Jones, gives advice on beauty to readers of a girl's magazine. She answers their letters and particularly notes the letters of a girl named Amista who talks about her village and the guy she's in love with. Her letters are enough to make Tinka take her vacation to Wales to meet Amista. Just one problem, when she arrives there, no one knows who Amista is. As she struggles to find out who wrote the letters, the atmosphere become unsettling and Tinka begins to doubt what she thought she knew. The ending is not to be missed and I had no idea what was coming. Boy, do I love that in a book!
The atmosphere of this mystery is exactly what you would expect from a visit to a desolate house in rainy Wales. You can feel the gloom and the chill and the shadows closing in on you. Such a perfect read if you have a rainy afternoon to spend with a book. It's a forgotten classic in my opinion and Christianna Brand is a master of the mystery well worthy of modern re-reads.