cover image Hard Luck: A Cat Marsala Mystery

Hard Luck: A Cat Marsala Mystery

Barbara D'Amato. Scribner Book Company, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19408-0

Chicago freelance journalist Cat Marsala, in her third outing here (after Hardball and Hard Tack ), watches the story of her career land--literally--in front of her when Jack Sligh, an Illinois lottery official, plummets to his death from a skyscraper. Cat recognizes the corpse because she'd made an appointment with Sligh in regard to an article she was writing on the proposed Central States Lottery. Convinced Sligh was pushed, Cat begins an in-depth investigation of his co-workers at the Illinois state lottery as D'Amato develops her solidly plotted story. Many of the employees Cat talks to belong to the large family of Sligh's estranged wife Doris Furman: her sister, brother, nephew, and her father, who may well have mob connections. Cat explores the ramifications the Central States organization might have on the Furman-controlled state lottery to determine what, if anything, Sligh knew or intended to reveal that might have gotten him killed. As the case proceeds, details of Cat's private life, including a parrot that quotes Shakespeare and a boyfriend in a detox unit, give the tough, street-smart reporter a distinctive, warmly human quality. ( May