Cats are said to have nine lives, but Shirley Rousseau Murphy's Joe Grey has had twice that number of delightful tales.
In her eighteenth feline mystery, "Cat Bearing Gifts" (William Morrow, 304 pages), Joe Grey and his four-footed friends are on the trail of the assailants who car jacked Pedric and Lucinda Greenlaw, Kit's human housemates.
Kate Osborne, an attractive and wealthy interior designer, moved to California with a treasure trove of gold coins and precious jewels. Lucinda and Pedric Greenlaw offered to help transport Kate Osborne's valuables.
The precious cargo was carefully hidden in the doors of their Lincoln Town Car. While coming home from San Francisco with the treasure, the Greenlaws' car is run off the road by an old pick-up truck.
The two men in the truck steal Pedric and Lucinda's Town Car and the riches it contains. In the ensuring chaos of the accident, the couple's tortoiseshell cat, Kit, flees from the site for fear of being sent to a shelter where she might be permanently separated from her beloved housemates.
Left in the hill country, Kit narrowly escapes being killed by a coyote before being rescued by her human neighbors, Clyde and Ryan.
As Pedric and Lucinda recover from their injuries sustained in the accident, Kit and her friends are hot on the trail of the car jackers as they recover the Lincoln Town Car and the treasure.
For the cat enthusiast who just happens to like a cozy whodunit, cheers to Joe Grey and his pals and here is hoping that the fearless felines have many more tales for their readers.
Shirley Rousseau Murphy has another mystery in her popular Joe Grey series, "Cat Telling Tales." (Harper Avon, 384 pages)
The savvy tomcat detective, Joe Grey, is back on the case solving crime in the scenic village of Molena Point. When an elderly alcoholic woman's body is found burned in the ruins of an old shack, it appears to be a tragic accidental fire until the medical examiner discovers that the victim had ingested poisonous wood alcohol prior to the blaze.
The police suspect murder and soon the furry feline investigators are on duty as Joe and his friends crack the case which leads them to a desperate murderer and an elaborate real estate scam in this upscale coastal village.
While tracking down a criminal, the cats have a few adventures of their own. Misto, the elderly tomcat, is reunited with his handsome son, Pan, who entices Kit with her first blush of kitty romance. The talented Dulcie entertains her human housemate, Wilma, with a collection of poetry.
While the author's crime fighting cats seems a bit whimsical, Ms. Murphy reminds her reader of an all too real problem - that the current economic downturn, which has been so devastating for so many families, has been especially perilous for pets that have been abandoned by their owners and left to fend for themselves.
To open this work, Shirley Rousseau Murphy has written a very touching dedication to those who work in animal shelters and try to find homes for homeless pets. With this in mind, please consider sharing your home with a shelter animal. Your life will be enriched immeasurably.