Monday, December 19, 2016

Have You Heard? - Cat Under Fire by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

“Have You Heard?” is a column featured only on Lesa’s Book Critiques.  It features many reviews of audiobooks (fiction, with a concentration in mysteries) but these reviews will include recent and past books for an interesting mixture of titles. Content is usually written by Sandie Herron.  It also covers news of note and not generally available, such as ASAP publishing a limited edition for a certain author or perhaps something important out of Publisher’s Weekly.  The column is published sporadically, so you’ll want to watch for it!


Cat Under Fire AudiobookCat Under Fire
Series: Joe Grey Mystery, Book 2
Written by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Narrated by Susan Boyce
Unabridged Audiobook, Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins 
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Publication 1/1/2013

Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's 1997 Muse Medallion

We open on the quaint town of Molena Point, California where cats Joe Grey and his lady Dulcie live.  They enjoy their time of hunting rats or small vermin, running from rooftop to treetop, eating the scrumptious food their owners Clyde and Wilma set out, and they enjoy a good conversation.  Not only can they speak, but they can write, read, and use the telephone.  Their skill set is growing every day, since they only recently discovered their special abilities.  They keep quiet about this to all but their owners and friend Kate who is able to change from human to cat and back again, but she has left town for her own safety.

Although Kate has left, Molena Point has a new member of the community – Wilma Getz’s red-haired niece Charleston, or Charlie for short.  She had attended art school in San Francisco, as did Kate, but after giving it a good two-year try, she threw in the towel and realized she was not going to make her living in the art world.  She was excellent at sketching Dulcie, for instance, but the art school told her animal art just doesn’t sell.  She moved to Molena Point, and within a week had a business permit, business cards, and two employees.  She was going to fix up and clean up Molena Point!  Her services were badly needed, since no one else took care of those small necessities.  Charlie loved seeing thing all spiffy and in working order.

Charlie’s first big job is cleaning up the home of a local artist whose home was burned down, and since it occurred in the early morning hours and because her coffee was drugged, Janet never got out.  The image of her body under a police tarp is haunting many people – Clyde, who once dated her, Dulcie who admired her, Wilma since they were friends, etc.  Now Janet’s sister wants Charlie to totally revamp the home and make it as it was, no small task.  However, she cannot proceed until the police release the scene.

The man suspected of setting the fire had been a guest of the local jail and is now on trial.  Dulcie spent many hours on the ledge of his jail window listening to him talk.  Now she is following the trial from the ledge of the courthouse windows and in the newspaper.  The police wish they could find a journal or something in Janet’s hand about those people around her to give them clues on who might have done it; their case against Rob Parks isn’t overly strong.  They even send a policeman to the home to search specifically for one.  Joe and Dulcie happen to be there while the cop searches.  When he gives up and leaves, they take over and find a journal that is quite revealing.  Dulcie alerts Chief of Police Max Harper, so that he can retrieve it himself.

Joe and Dulcie begin to wonder what else the police might have missed.  While searching her home, Dulcie stepped on a thumb tack.  Janet didn’t use them since they made her thumbs hurt pushing them in; she used  a staple gun instead.  Could the pile of paintings destroyed by fire not be the ones everyone thinks are ruined?  What if they were taken off sight and replaced with something else much less valuable?  Where would the paintings be? Who would have a vehicle to move them in without drawing any attention to themselves or what they were doing?

Joe and Dulcie do some terrific sleuthing and find many answers which she shares with Captain Harper.  Max Harper is beginning to wonder who this anonymous informant might be.  He even talks to Clyde, Joe’s owner, at length.  

I let out a sigh of contentment when this book ended.  I could close my eyes and see the final scene in front of me, as if in a video.  A smile came to my face, and I found the next book in the series to start right away.  I didn’t want to leave this unique town of Molena Point, home of some very special cats and people.   Sandie Herron

1 comment:

Sue said...

I love, love, love this series.