It's the return of that detective duo, Tony Peterson and Cassandra Collins (better known to those of us as the witch, Angelique)! I have really grown to love this pair, and their mysteries are so much fun to listen to. Jerry Lacy and Lara Parker have a natural chemistry (honestly, they seem to have more chemistry in these audios than Parker and Frid ever did on the actual show), and their banter is always guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.
The story picks up immediately following their last drama, which was 10 stories ago in book 33 - The Phantom Bride (which took place aboard the cruise ship to England). The Devil Cat finds our favorite couple driving down a winding road, trying to figure out where they are going, when Tony must swerve to avoid hitting a black cat. Needless to say, this starts a perilous journey that begins with them being chased by a cult of hooded figures who seem to want to sacrifice them to the burning wicker cat - until Tony's cousin, Lord Trent Malkin, shows up to save the day. What they expect to then be a relaxing weekend visit turns into yet another murder mystery when the town's police inspector turns up dead, followed thereafter by the local priest, the Malkins' maid and her boyfriend. Tony and Cassandra are aided by Lord Malkin and his wife in their search for not only the killer, but also their search for a stolen artifact. As with prior Tony/Cassandra tales, nothing and no one is quite what they seem.
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
I sincerely hope the end of this story does not signal the end of the Tony/Cassandra stories - that would be extremely disappointing. These have become a quick favorite of mine, and I look forward to each one. But the ending makes it very difficult to see how the writers will be able to bring this pair back together again (although, it is Dark Shadows, so one never knows what could happen).
The story makes references to the prior audio dramas starring Tony and Cassandra, all the way from their first encounter to their most recent one. There are references to former Collinsport Sheriff, Jim Hardy, as well as reference to "Cyrus," which could be referring to Cyrus Longworth. Further, Cassandra/Angelique makes a reference to Reverend Trask (which, of course, was a character played by Jerry Lacy), and there are references to Angelique's passion for Barnabas Collins. Thus, the writer manages to keep the story grounded in the Dark Shadows continuity, while providing a great little stand-alone murder mystery. (Although, "stand-alone" may not accurately work, considering the end of the story kind-of ties in all of their adventures into one thread....)
I guess all good things must come to an end, and for Tony Peterson and Cassandra Collins, this seems to be their farewell tale...goodbye, Tony and Cassandra - you will be missed!
RATING: 10 racing black panthers out of 10 for providing yet another superbly written and well-read tale of this fantastic detective team - may the DS writers find a way to bring them back together!