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by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
William Morrow, April 2019
288 pages
ISBN: 0062838040

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Joe Grey Mysteries are highly regarded adventures featuring friendly felines sleuthing their way around Molina Point, California, helping the police solve local crimes.

Shirley Rousseau Murphy has created a small California community populated with cats that can talk with humans, read, dial and speak on the phone and use computers although they are very cautious when using these skills. Only a few humans are aware of the cats' abilities and all carefully guard these secrets. The primary feline characters are Joe and his mate Dulcie who have two sons – Buffin and Striker – and one daughter – Courtney. Joe's humans are Clyde and Ryan while Dulcie's human is Wilma.

This 21st installment follows Joe as he finds a woman, bloody, beaten and partially buried, applies a feline version of CPR and then alerts the authorities by dialing and speaking with 9-1-1. Joe watches from a safe distance when paramedics find the woman and rush her to the ER.

Joe seems to have easy access to the police station, including the chief's office, and he picks up the chatter about a string of robberies – someone is attacking folks with large amounts of cash and stealing the money. A tip comes in about the most recent assault and the felines begin searching for clues.

Unfortunately, while canvassing the community for leads, Courtney is kidnapped, leaving her parents frantic as they find blood where her scent dissipates. With no clues, the cats share news of Courtney's disappearance with their humans and everyone begins searching while posting a $1,000 reward. Courtney is being held by Ulrich Seaver, owner of Seaver's Antiques, in his residence on the second floor above his shop. The humans can't admit how they know where Courtney is being held without revealing how they found out – from Joe and Dulcie. And Joe and Dulcie are trying to determine the best way to rescue Courtney since they now know where she is. It seems Seaver wants to train Courtney and make her a star in order to become wealthy.

Murphy writes an engaging mystery with interesting twists and she connects all the dots as she concludes this story. Her strength, however, is her ability to create realistic feline and human characters whose relationships are warmly portrayed. The ending is unexpected and somewhat unexplained.

§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton’s, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, April 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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