Freeling, Nicholas. Because of the Cats. New York: Penguin Books, 1963.
Reason read: to continue the series started in honor of May 15th – May 21st being Police Week.
Whenever an author takes you on a journey to describe the landscape I always imagine a giant bird flying over the land. For the first few pages of Because of the Cats you get that same sensation. The reader looks down on the bigger picture of where the story takes place, this time in the small town of Bloemendaal. It is a simple place usually bereft of crime. Chief Inspector Piet Van der Valk is back on the case when a rash of burglaries escalates to rape in his jurisdiction. As Chief Inspector of the Morals and Children department his focus turns to a group of teens from Bloemendaal. This seems impossible as the town is virtually crime free and all of the suspects are rich. Why would they need to commit break-ins? Why? Because of the cats!
Because prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, law enforcement have a different relationship with the ladies of the night. Van der Valk allows Fedora to pick him up and bring him home for dinner. He even tells her, “You don’t bother my morals” (p 17). Pay attention to this woman for she is essential to the case.
The first reference to cats is when one of the rapists declares, “the cats won’t like it” (p 11).
Quote I liked, “It was, he knew from experience, fatal to fall in love with a theory” (p 25).
Author fact: when Love in Amsterdam was published and it became a success, Freeling said he was able to stop cooking other people’s dinners.
Book trivia: Because of the Cats was made into a Dutch-Belgium movie in 1973.
Nancy said: Pearl admitted Because of the Cats was one of the best mysteries because she admitted to feeling creeped-out when she finished it. If you can remember the sensation long after you have finished the book, that’s the sign of a good plot.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “I Love a Mystery” (p 119).