Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy (William Morrow, $19.99, 336 pages)
If you enjoy the mysteries of Rita Mae Brown, this book is a must-read tale. The plot revolves around Joe, Dulcie and Kit, three cats who speak to their human parents and sometimes unsuspecting people. The cats are definitely a cut above Sneaky Pie Brown and Pewter. The setting is Molina Point, a fictitious town along the California coast that seems to be a blend of Carmel and Morro Bay.
The story opens as Joe sniffs out a murder scene that is missing a corpse. He’s returning from a successful hunting trip with mice dangling by their tails from his tightly clenched teeth. After gifting the mice to a friend, he springs into action as the anonymous telephone tipster to the Molina Point Police Department.
The sleuthing by Joe, his buddies and a clowder of feral cats from the hills is supplemented by the police chief, his wife and the other human parents. Warning, the murderer talks to himself but does not use the victim’s proper name, which may give the reader cause to reread chapters to figure out who was the victim and who committed the crime!
A review copy was provided by the publisher.