Synopses & Reviews
Readers and reviewers alike have consistently praised multiple-award-winning author Shirley Rousseau Murphy for her absorbing plots, her charming, lyrical prose, and most of all, her delightful and highly realistic feline sleuths -- the wily tomcat Joe Grey, his best pal Dulcie, and their tattercoat friend Kit. Now Murphy has created her most compelling novel to date: the murder of a much-beloved actress and the havoc it uncovers in an unsuspecting town.
The appealing small village of Molena Point, California, offers a cozy refuge from the harsher realities of life and serves as a restful retreat for film star Patty Rose, who has retired among its oaks and cottages. Buying an inn where travelers' pets, too, are made welcome, Patty settles down to enjoy her golden years. But as the town gathers to honor her and to celebrate her old films, Patty is brutally murdered -- and only a tortoiseshell cat named Kit hears the three shots fired.
Leaping from the window of the penthouse suite that Kit shares with her adopted humans and scrambling down a flowering vine, Kit is the first to discover Patty's dead body sprawled on the inn's dark back stairs. Glimpsing the killer, she sets out to track him. But soon, as sirens scream and the police arrive, so do Kit's feline pals, Joe Grey and Dulcie.
Finding only Kit's scent and sure that she's headed for trouble, Joe and Dulcie follow her. But Dulcie must also put aside her own secret -- a runaway young girl she's been helping to hide in the local library. She won't learn until later that the child may be, in a grisly and convoluted scenario, connected to Patty's murder. This, along with the discovery of hidden graves, a kidnapping, and the secrets of a dying woman, deal the cats a full set of clues that soon have them clawing out the truth.
"The beginning of Murphy's 10th Joe Grey mystery (after 2004's Cat Fear No Evil) signals that this won't be your typical light cat cozy ('On winter evenings the shadow of a tall, old house struck down across the graves like a long black arrow, and from the canyon below, errant winds sang to the small, dead children'). True, talking tomcat Joe Grey and his comrades, Dulcie and Kit, can squinch their furry paws to punch in 911 or phone in anonymous leads to Molena Point's police captain, Max Harper. These descendants of ancient sentient Celtic cats can also read forensics reports like CSI experts and interact with humans who guard their secret, but this time, such antics take a backseat to the gravity of the murder of local inn owner and retired screen star, Patty Rose, as well as the plight of Lori, a young runaway hiding in a library basement cubby hole, and the discovery of a child predator lurking in the California coastal town. A skilled YA author, Murphy handles such sensitive issues as child endangerment and death well. The large cast of characters may confuse new readers, but established fans will welcome back all their old friends, both feline and human. Agent, Martha Millard. (Jan. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Fans of the series will welcome this new episode, which maintains the expected suspense and investigative skills of the cats.” Booklist
"[A] superior cat cozy. The intricate and absorbing plot keeps the reader in suspense throughout."--"Publishers Weekly," starred review. "Delightful."--"Library Journal."
About the Author
In addition to her popular Joe Grey mystery series for adults, for which she has received ten national Cat Writers' Association Awards for best novel of the year, Shirley Rousseau Murphy is a noted children's book author who has received five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards. She and her husband live in Carmel, California, where they serve as full-time household help to two demanding feline ladies.