LADYCAT by Nancy Greenwald


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Beautiful Berkeley grad-student/dancer Antonia (Tony) Weiner has an adorable little daughter, a uselessly flaked-out ex-husband, tight-fisted parents, and severe money problems. So, thanks to her great dancer's body, she becomes a daring cat burglar--first on the spur of the moment, later with canny calculation. But one of Tony's victims--a slimy San Francisco banker--hires handsome ex-lawyer Percy (Mac) McQuade (who'd really rather just doze on his houseboat) to track down his beautiful chick who ripped off his objets d'art and his favorite pinky ring. A fairly appealing, if familiar and totally predictable (guess who'll fall in love with whom) scenario--which Greenwald organizes smartly enough by alternating the narration between reluctant criminal Tony and reluctant shamus Mac. But this first novel remains marginal entertainment at best because of Greenwald's problems with prose and personality: Tony and Mac narrate in virtually the same, effortfully jaunty voice, using the same clichÉs (and both have limited vocabularies which rely excessively on ""super,"" ""ugly,"" and ""prick""); most of the male dialogue sounds as if it's been lifted from Mickey Spillane (though Mac and his banker chum are Yale graduates); and Tony herself in intractably unlikable--she sneers at virtually everyone except for her daughter (about whom she's relentlessly saccharine) and she's forever justifying her criminal activity. . . unconvincingly. Better as an idea, then, than as somewhat amateurishly executed here--but a reasonably painless diversion for undemanding readers eager to identify with Tony's financial desperation.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1980
Publisher: Crown