Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart

I love Mary Stewart, so when I saw this book I couldn’t resist it, even though I normally avoid romance books. I first read this book about 35 years ago.

Bryony Ashley has had a telepathic link with someone all her life. She assumes it is to one of her second cousins – twins Emory and James and their younger brother Francis. Telepathy and other powers have run in the Ashley family for centuries, since one of her ancestors was burnt as a witch.

The other thing that has been in the Ashley family for years is the Ashley mansion – ‘Ashley Court’ and its surrounding grounds. ‘Ashley Court’ has most recently been held by Bryony’s father, but he has just died under mysterious circumstances and the estate may only pass to a male heir. This means it will go to cousin Howard and his sons Emory, James and Francis. Bryony has no real regrets as Ashley Court is falling apart and she doesn’t have the money to keep it.

Bryony returns to Ashley Court to try and find out the meaning of her father’s dying message to her and to finally determine the identity of her secret friend (who has recently become her secret lover).

But, on her return to the Court, she finds that things have started to go wrong. Valuables have gone missing and her cousins are starting to pressure her to break the terms of the Ashley trust. In trying to unravel her father’s message, she starts to find out things that she doesn’t want to acknowledge. She is no longer sure if she can trust her secret confidante who has been her closest for her whole life.

As the tension mounts, she finally identifies her secret lover. But, events have already progressed out of control and lives are placed in danger.


Every time I read a Mary Stewart book I wonder why I don’t read more of them. This one was a bit dated in some respects, but nothing can take away from the beauty of Mary Stewart’s writing. I’m hoping to read more Mary Stewart books in the not too distant future.


Book Published 1976


See a full list of books by Mary Stewart

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