James Qwilleran stayed the compulsory five years in Pickax to complete the requirements placed on his inheritance. He is now officially a billionaire. Now it is time to decide what to do with the rest of his life. He intends to go somewhere–a quiet island with a beach or a mountain hideaway–someplace where he can have seclusion and quiet to sort out his options and make plans.
Qwill (as his friends call him) decides on a whim to spend three months in Spudsboro, a small town in the Potato Mountains. It was recommended highly by some friends who camped there recently. Finding a house to rent is always difficult with two Siamese cats as roommates. The only thing he can find is a huge house on the very top of Big Potato Mountain. It was originally built as an exclusive lodge for well-to-do tourists. More recently it was the home of the area’s most influential businessman–owner of the local newspaper. It didn’t take long for Qwill to discover the house he rented had been the scene of a ghastly murder a year earlier.
I do admire Jim Qwilleran’s ability to converse with everyone he meets. He is well practiced, of course, since he made his living for years as an investigative reporter for various newspapers. He knows just how to steer the conversation and just the right questions to ask. He makes people so comfortable that they usually tell him anything he wants to know. Of course, he has an uncanny ability to read people and know when he is being lied to. Within two days of arriving in town, he is sure that the wrong man is in prison for the murder.
The author does an amazing job of making us empathize with Qwill’s frustration with the situation he has gotten himself into. He came to the mountains for solitude and a time of reflection. He had no desire to get mixed up in the politics of the region–environmentalists vs. developers. He really had no desire to get mixed up in the mystery surrounding the murder. But…being a reporter for so many years (and truly caring about the innocent man in prison), he just could not resist finding the truth. It doesn’t take long. Qwill has learned to trust his instincts–and the instincts of his cat Koko. Together they follow the clues and confront the real murderer.
I highly recommend that you get acquainted with Jim Qwilleran through the Cat Who… mystery series. You will like him.