Review: "The Spotted Cats" by William G. Tapply
G. Tapply’s tenth Brady Coyne novel, The Spotted Cats, is a measured affair
defined by its rich characters and Coyne’s sense of loyalty and justice. Coyne is a Boston lawyer with an aversion to work and a proclivity for
fly fishing. He grudgingly accepts an invitation to spend a weekend in the Cape
Cod home of his client and friend, Jeff Newton. Newton was a professional big
game hunter until being mauled by a Zambian leopard, called Nyalubwe by
the natives. The encounter left him permanently disabled, bitter, and angry.
After dinner and drinks that first night, Coyne retires to Newton’s guest bedroom and is awakened by two masked men threatening him with a knife. The men gag and tie him to the bed, where Brady stays until Newton’s live-in housekeeper, Lily Robbins, frees him the next morning. They find Jeff lying unconscious in the yard with a severe head wound and his two guard dogs are dead, their throats cut. The only thing missing from the house are Newton’s seven gold pre-Columbian leopards valued, if they hadn’t been smuggled into the country illegally, at $1.5 million.
The police believe the robbery was an inside job and Lily is their prime suspect. But Coyne isn’t as keen on Lily’s guilt as the police and he starts his own investigation, partly to help Lily and Jeff, but mostly because he is angry at how vulnerable and helpless the robbers made him feel. He follows the clues from Cape Cod to the fly-fishing capital of the world, West Yellowstone, Montana.
The Spotted Cats is a relaxed visit to an alluring world. A world filled with violence, murder, and characters with suspect motivations, but a pretty wonderful place, too, because everything works out and there is always another stream to fish. Coyne’s personal life is on full display: an ex-wife, a teenage son, a few fishing buddies, a secretary that thinks Brady’s investigation is more about finding new waters to fish than actually helping Jeff. The mystery is solved with an interesting mixture of professional and amateur sleuthing. Brady is sharp and intelligent, but he makes a few mistakes and tends to rush into dangerous situations rather than tiptoe. Overall, Coyne is likable and flawed, the mystery is just good enough to keep it interesting, and those outdoor scenes with a rod and reel are pure gold.
a little more about The Spotted Cats and Brady Coyne…
· The Spotted Cats was published in hardcover by Delacorte Press in 1991.
· Brady Coyne appeared in 28 books. The first was Death at Charity’s Point (1984) and the last, Outwitting Trolls, appeared posthumously in 2010.
· William G. Tapply (1940 – 2009), much like Brady Coyne, was a dedicated angler and he wrote for sporting magazines, including Field & Stream, and several books about fishing. Including, Those Hours Spent Outdoors: Reflections on Hunting and Fishing (1988), Gone Fishin’: Ruminations on Fly Fishing (2004), Trout Eyes: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fly Fishing (2007), and Every Day Was Special: A Fly Fisher’s Lifelong Passion (2010).
· The Spotted Cats is dedicated to the mystery writer, Rick Boyer and his fictional series character, Doc Adams: For our friends Rick Boyer and Doc Adams.
· William G. Tapply died of leukemia in 2009.
Check out The Spotted Cats on Amazon