CAT PLAYING CUPID
by Shirley Rousseau Murphey
Not long ago someone offered me three books by this author. Having heard of her, but never having read her, I gladly accepted them.
Since it’s February, I thought this would be an interesting title to review. I quickly learned it was a series of titles with this one being very appropriately number 14 !
It’s a mystery series with Joe Grey being the central protagonist. Joe Grey is a cat, a detective.
When I first started reading the book I was totally confused. It took a couple of chapters before I finally figured it out and started to enjoy the story.
It would behoove one to at least read the first book in the series Cat on the Edge or even The Catsworld Portal, to familiarize oneself with the characters and their introductions as well as the circumstances surrounding them.
I found the unisex names, such as Ryan, Ryder, Dallas, and Charlie bewildering before they finally took on an identity. What also threw me in the beginning was the fact that Joe not only was a cat, but he was able to speak to humans as well. Between these two details I was lost in the early conversations. I guess that’s what happens when you start in the middle of a continuous series.
That being said, the book was quite good. It began with a wedding and ended with another future wedding, with a feline romance in between.
There was also an additional wedding that never took place because the fiancé disappeared the day before his wedding. This ten year old cold case came to light with the discovery of two bodies, one in Oregon and the other closer to home in the fictional California coastal town of Molina Point 500 miles away. On the same day that he disappeared, the wife of his partner also ran off never to be heard from again.
The jilted bride returned to her hometown determined to find out if one of the bodies found was her missing fiancé. Her return brought about a rekindling of a never forgotten former romance. In the meantime, during those ten years her sister had taken up with the missing wife’s husband. As the plot unravels, both sisters become murder suspects.
In the underlying theme there is the discovery of a book in a decaying mansion recounting the history of the talking cats. It was found by one of the cats in a feral clowder living in the area. There is a very small handful of humans who know and communicate with the talking cats and the book was brought to them by one of the four domestic talking cats. The feral cats wanted it destroyed while the humans found it a priceless discovery.
There was a civil battle among the ferals whereby the tyrannical leader was killed, but at great cost to a young tom. He ended up being treated by the local vet and then nursed to health by the young domestic tortoiseshell. A mutual feeling developed between them and after he was ready to return to the colony she had to decide whether to return as his mate or stay with the humans.
The murder investigations continued with Joe Grey and his friends clandestinely assisting in solving the cases.
The author is quite clever in how she manipulates the talking cats in helping out the humans, especially the police department who had a very dependable snitch but absolutely no inkling that it was a cat! The way she uses these felines is certainly believable, especially if you are a cat owner and can relate to how one can actually do the things they do in the book.
The book has suspense, mystery, romance, intrigue and even car chases that keep the reader going at a good pace. You don’t have to be a cat lover to enjoy this book, but it does give it a more in-depth meaning if you are!
NOTE: I am looking forward to reading more of Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s books having already ordered the first in the series!
There are 21 Joe Grey books in all. At age 92 Shirley has given notice that Cat Chase the Moon is her last book in that series. She has been a prolific writer with many stand alone books as well as other series to her credit. Her first book was The Sand Ponies written in 1967. She has won countless writing awards during her career.