A Comedy of Manners

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is a Robert Heinlein novel published in 1985. It begins with the following lines, which speak for themselves:

"We need you to kill a man"

This stranger glanced nervously around us. I feel that a crowded restaurant is no place for such talk, as a high noise level only gives limited privacy.

I shook my head. "I'm not an assassin. Killing is more of a hobby with me. Have you had dinner?"

The story follows Dr. Richard Ames, a retired military colonel, among other things, who wears an eyepatch, walks with a cane, and has a whole hell of a lot of class.

As one might expect after reading a few Heinlein novels, Ames is a very skilled, capable individual who has more up his sleeves than he might appear to, and being from Luna he's as tough as any of the revolutionaries in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Heinlein wrote this book in the latter part of his career, referred to by his fans and himself as the world-as-myth, when he used infinite alternate universe\time travel ideas to bring characters from his previous novels and new characters under one roof. So, if you've read some Heinlein, you can expect a few cameos from familiar personalities.

This book was published three years before Heinlein's death, and although his latest books weren't given as much critical acclaim or general recognition as earlier works, the characters show more depth the later you go into his work.

Not to say that the characters in Stranger and Time Enough for Love were any less fleshed out. It just seems as if Heinlein becomes more and more intimate with them himself as he goes along.

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