“The Tell-Tale Purr” from Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark
If you haven’t figured it out this is a play on the famous short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe. It really is ingenious, even borrowing lines from the original story but infusing it with a few other things…namely cats.
Our narrator is someone who likes having money and hates almost everything and everybody. One person he especially dislikes is his grandma who he has to be nice to as she has a ton of money and he stands to inherit, just as long as he stays sucking up to her.
One day at a dinner party he gets a most marvelous idea of how to bump his grandma off without being suspected of murder. She has a weak heart and is absolutely terrified of cats. Scared to death of them, they being the perfect thing to end her. He could use their cries to scare her into a heart attack, but how?
The elevator! Grandma just has one installed, and on a stormy night when power cuts out she could be trapped in there, him playing recordings of cats which should induce a heart attack.
So the plan is put into action, mean yowling cats are caught and recorded until he has a horrifying symphony.
Dinner comes when such weather is horrible. He leaves as normal and returns in secret-turning off the power, trapping grandma, and playing his merciless tune to terrify her.
But things do not turn out as expected.
Thoughts After Reading:
Oh, such an amazing read. So good and such a great twist of an ending. AMAZING!
For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to Haven’t We Met Before?
For more from Death Wears a Beauty Mask, go to The Man Next Door
For more cat-centered mysteries, go to Crazy, VA
For more short stories, go to A Much Expected Murder