Saturday, August 12, 2017

Have You Heard - Cat in the Dark by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Thanks to Sandie Herron for today's post. Under the title, "Have You Heard?", Sandie reviews audio books. Today's feature is Shirley Rousseau Murphy's Cat in the Dark.

Cat in the Dark: A Joe Grey Mystery (#4)Cat in the Dark
Joe Grey Mystery Book 4
Written by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Narrated by Susan Boyce
Unabridged Audiobook, Listening Time 9 hours and 15 minutes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Release Date: January 23, 2013

Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's 1999 Muse Medallion

This fourth entry in the Joe Grey series is a mystery featuring amateur sleuths of a unique nature in Joe Grey and Dulcie, sentient cats and more than best friends.    I think this entry has a line going through it about love, or lack of love, and the various kinds of love.  Joe Grey and Dulcie are very much in love and spend all their time together as possible.  They love to investigate crimes.  They must do so carefully since they don’t want to reveal their special abilities of speech and reading.  Sound too far gone and unbelievable?  Not so in Mrs. Murphy’s skilled hands.

Wilma’s niece Charlie’s new Clean it, Fix it business was doing well.  Under the cats’ silent supervision, she had two employees to whom she was delegating the cleaning and minor repairs.  Charlie did the heavier fixing.  Mavity is one hard worker.  Pearl Ann, the other worker, does well in splitting duties with Mavity.   Both are working at an investment guru’s home who works by computer at home.  Pearl Ann just loves what he does with the little bit of money she’s given him to invest.  Until later when she discovers what he’s actually done with it.      

And then Mavity disappears.  No one knows why or where.  So the town searches for her until finally she is found unconscious in the back seat of her car which has apparently hit a lamp post.  Mavity’s worst wound comes from a screw driver hitting her, not the car accident.  She is taken to the hospital in the next town, but fairly quickly they identify her.  Afterward Wilma takes her into her home to help her regain her memory and what had upset her so.  Wilma has Dulcie stay with Mavity to comfort her and to gather clues.

Mavity’s brother Greely is also in town on a visit, only he has rented a store room as the only place he could find to rent and get drunk.  He has an all black cat named Azrael who is evil.  He and the other cats do not get along and actually enter several fights.    Azrael is also sentient and cruel. He enjoys scaring Dulcie.  He actually jumps to attack Mavity, but Dulcie jumps to stop him and they fight until he runs off.

One action that makes this story explode is made by the investor.  He had his doubts about Pearl Ann.  Via Dulcie and Joe Grey, we know that Pearl Ann had entered his home with the key she had to clean with, and spent many hours on his computer.  He supposedly leaves his home for a short trip, but he hides his car a few blocks away and returns home quietly to find Pearl Ann working on his computer.  What follows is rather nasty!

When we finally reach the end when humans and cats all share a picnic, we again visit family ties and how family interacts with each other and outside the family.  A few humans leave Molena Point with the possibility of return one day.  Molena Point is the better for it.  

I found myself listening to some of this book while doing nothing else such as folding the laundry or whatever chore I could do ”mindlessly,” and I was amazed at how well Susan Boyce read the different characters.  I would turn on the player and hear her voice begin but in another character’s role, and I could hear distinct yet subtle differences from one character to another.  Even Clyde’s exasperation and cries of “Come on…” sound quite genuine.  I find it difficult not to get caught up in someone else’s anger when that is all they say.  I follow even closer what follows, so Susan Boyce and Mrs. Murphy via Ms. Boyce’s voice had me wrapped around her microphone!  I wonder what happens next in Molena Point.  I don’t even have to wait to find out since I have the audiobook here.  Purrr.

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