Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat
A Conan Flagg Mystery
Untreed Read Publishing
Originally published in 1973
Republished in 2013
In Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat, Elinor Jeffries is a well-respected older woman. The word "classy" comes to mind in her physical description and demeanor. She is not frivolous or extravagant. Reliable and dignified is her code of life. She doesn't ask for help unless there is no other solution.
Conan Flagg owns the Holliday Beach Bookshop and Rental Library in this small Oregon resort town. Being an ex-CIA operative allows him to appreciate his quiet life now, however, he does welcome opportunities to utilize his former investigative skills while now being an occasional private investigator.
When Elinor's husband is found dead, she visits Conan requesting his assistance with her husband's death. As a married couple, U.S.N. Retired Captain Harold Jefferies and his wife were not extremely close. However, Elinor is convinced that this was not an accident.
Elinor left her house that night for a bridge party. When she last saw her husband, he was comfortably relaxed wearing his robe and reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. What would force this man to be dress, leave his book and walk along the beach to drown himself? The Captain hated the beach. What would cause him to change his plans? Why would Harold kill himself? Could anyone have killed him and make it look like suicide?
Added to this, the local police look no further than what appears to be obvious. Harold Jefferies drowned himself.
Conan agrees to look into the death and quickly finds himself overwhelmed and utilizing former contacts to assist him in this investigation.
Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat is a cozy mystery that is well-planned and logical. The story takes place in the late 1960s or early 1970s reflected in the telephone usages of the time period and the involvement of The Cold War and scientists defecting from Russia.
The use of the cat, Meg in the story felt like an afterthought. It wasn't a natural involvement with the cat until near the end of the novel.
M.K. Wren is the pen-name for Martha K. Renfroe. This Texas-born Oregon writer is well-known for her mystery series featuring Conan Flagg and her science fiction trilogy, The Phoenix Legacy and her post-apocalyptic novel, A Gift Upon the Shore.
Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat is a different novel in terms of style from the usual ones written today. The story is fairly simplistic but of value especially with life before the use of cell phones and the concerns of this time period. This is light but enjoyable reading.