I think I'm where I'm at today in the world of books and crime fiction authors, partially due to Sandie Herron. Sandie gave me a start, introducing me to mystery authors, when I first started as Chair of the Authors' Programming for the Lee County Reading Festival about twelve years ago. So, when she asked if she could do a guest review, I jumped at the chance. It's not every day that someone of Sandie's stature and experience in the book business wants to do a book review.
Sandie's review was originally published in http://www.iloveamysterynewsletter.com/
CAT COMING HOME
By Shirley Rousseau Murphy
William Morrow, 2010 (10/26/10)
ISBN: 9780061806933 Price $19.99
Maudie Toola has just returned to Molena Point along with her orphaned grandson Benny. They are trying to start life anew following the horrible shooting deaths of Benny’s father and new stepmother. It is almost Christmas, but Molena Point is having trouble of its own: isolated individuals are being attacked in their homes. The lone women are then roughed up and their homes ransacked with the perpetrators fleeing just as quickly as they arrived. With nothing of substance stolen, Chief of Police Max Harper and his men can’t seem to get a handle on how to catch these criminals or get a clue on where they might strike next. They have determined that the attackers plan a diversionary break-in which captures the police’s attention while the invaders go on to attack their chosen victim. Trying to cover the entire town for both possibilities is stretching the small police force very thin.
Joe Grey and Dulcie are as frustrated as the police. After all, how can two cats survey the entire town at once? Kit is helping but is distracted by a large yellow tomcat who seems to know more about these crimes. Could he be another speaking cat? Where did he come from and why is he here?
Ryan Flannery is building a studio onto Maudie’s home where she can make her award-winning quilts. Ryan isn’t the only one worried about Maudie being alone with all those new windows through which she is so visible. Maudie has a secret, one that only reveals itself at sly moments when she thinks no one is looking. Maudie and Benny both admit that they did not see the killer in those brief flashes of gunfire yet, if the killer thinks otherwise, he could have followed them from Los Angeles, putting them at great risk.
Maudie is unclear who she can trust. Her sister and nephews live just up the street but they haven’t offered any assistance or support. Maudie has become fond of young teenager Lori who helps Ryan in construction. Yet Lori’s father is in prison for murder and one of Maudie’s nephews has just stabbed him in jail. Perhaps Lori is in just as much danger as Maudie.
Who is behind the vicious newspaper attacks against police chief Max Harper and the entire department? Ownership of the paper recently switched hands and what used to be news coverage has become twisted and opinionated quasi-editorials. Most residents read the paper, and some actually believe the drivel printed every day. Max needs to calm everyone down and prove he is still capable of doing his job. There is a particularly amusing scene when Ryan sneaks Joe Grey into town hall.
Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s writing has taken a step forward with her agility in twisting many storylines together. Plot lines that seem unrelated come together effortlessly. Mrs. Murphy has a way of weaving all the events together with strings of friendship. I suppose one of Maudie’s award-winning quilts could represent the various factions and plot lines patched together so seamlessly. I am certain that CAT COMING HOME will be an award-winning addition to this heart-warming series. It absolutely deserves to be on everyone’s “TBR” piles this fall. Just in time to celebrate the holidays along with Molena Point once Joe and pals help Max and his crew put the violence to rest. Highly recommended.