Marc Castleman, army psychiatrist, is on his vacation to Mrs. Tufts mansion in Long Island. He is observant and "Spot(s) complexes in people". A woman in a train has a panic attack and Marc pronounces that she is claustrophobic. He is on his vacation and decides that "for the next five days I refuse to recognise a psychosis if it explodes in my face." But does he?
Mrs. Tufts,' widowed, wealthy and gregarious, ' 'fought off loneliness with crowds of young people', 'Children of her contemporaries, youthful aspirants in various fields, and strays she had run across and befriended. ' Mrs. Tufts grey castle is filled with guests. 'Six assorted human beings with little knowledge of each other, and nothing in common.'
The guests are the Vardis Brother and sister-Franz Vardis, who 'is in the process of getting over yet another jilting' and Ione Vardis, "fumbling with the loose ends of her life", Glenn Parson, interested in philosophy, who would 'want to discuss the meaning of things,' Jocko Harris, the golfer, well-known because of his wife Miriam and Leonard Johnson, the young man who "wrote" and of course Marc.
After Franz's failed attempted suicide, Marc pronounces that he will try again. Next time Franz dies. Is it suicide? When Marc's predicts and they unfailingly come true, what do you make of it? When people start dying in Mrs. Tufts mansion you can't help wondering what is happening here? First one looks like suicide, the second one accident. Third looks like an accident too. But third is one death too many. It smacks of murder. You cannot have too many coincidences. Or can you? Who is killing and why? Who is the Cat?
It wasn't difficult to guess the killer but Kutak plays a nice little trick. I am the Cat published in 1948 is an enjoyable psychological mystery.
I borrowed this book from Openlibrary. Mrs. Tufts and her home reminds me of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine's The House of Stairs.
My post for Crime Fiction Alphabet K.