Title: Cat Cross Their Graves
Author: Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Narrator: Susan Boyce
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook and AudioBook
Publisher: Avon / Harper Collins
Audio Producer: AudioGo
Length: 11 Hours, 7 minutes
Source: Audio Producer via AudioBook Jukebox
Series: Joe Grey # 10
Best Read in Order: Not Required
Stars: Overall: 5 Narration: 5 Story: 5
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About the Book:
The beautiful, serene village of Molena Point, California is the type of place where people go to get away from the harsher realities of life––which is what attracted classic film star Patty Rose to buy the village inn, and settle down to enjoy her golden years. But as the town gathers to celebrate and honor the beautiful, aging actress with a festival of her old films, Patty is brutally murdered––to the horror and shock of this peaceful burg.
A gentle tortoiseshell cat, Kit, has been enjoying a retreat to the animal–loving actress’s inn, where she’s spending time with her feline friends Dulcie, and the slick tomcat sleuth, Joe Grey. But her relaxation is cut short when she hears the gunshots that end Patty’s life, and sees her dead body sprawled on the inn’s front steps. She glimpses the killer racing into the parking garage, and soon follows his trail.
Joe and Dulcie must now follow the naïve Kit’s trail, and keep her from getting into serious trouble. To complicate matters, Joe discovers that Dulcie has been hiding a runaway child––one of the lucky humans that these special cats choose to talk to––who has now been kidnapped, likely by the same man who killed their famous friend. In the end, the little girl’s abduction leads them to Patty’s killer, and the feline friends are all united––but they all must mourn a departed friend as they stand beside the newly laid grave of Patty Rose.
This is a deliciously clever story: murders, secrets, runaways and above all the three clever cats that drive the story forward as they work to solve the mysteries. This is my first introduction to this series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, and it most certainly will not be my last. The mystery was cleverly plotted, if on the darker side as it touched on themes of missing and exploited children all kicked off with the death of an aging film star.
While the human characters are well developed and are developed in ways that serve their purpose in the story, their development in relation to the cats that are the stars of the story. Joe Grey is the ringleader of these sleuths, even if only in his own mind sometimes. His manner is completely well developed with even an eye for the “fantastical imaginings’ of the females he encounters. His romantic attentions are centered on Dulcie, one of the two female felines in his little group, and she is the more centered and grounded of the two, even as she is keeping a massive secret. Kit was the one to witness the first murder, although she never saw the killer’s face. Not unsurprisingly, the humans don’t realize that these cats not only can and do talk, but are working to puzzle out the mysteries that have been unearthed in this story.
Narration is provided by Susan Boyce and the pairing is spectacular. Susan’s voice is perfectly modulated without overuse of vocal manipulations to provide character distinctions, instead choosing pacing and inflection to indicate the characters. Particularly effective is the dreamy quality of Kit’s voice, and the sometimes exasperated tone that emanates from Joe Grey. Her narration was smooth and easily understood, with inflections and moments of tone variation that perfectly suited the text of the story.
The writing is so cleverly done that a listener / reader doesn’t even come close to missing a greater interaction from the humans in the story. There are enough twists and clues to nowhere that keep the mystery alive, this is no simple mystery that is a direct line to the killer. With the clever interjections from the cats, and the humans who exist in their investigations this was a story that flew by, and was wholly enjoyable.
I received an MP3 download from AudioGo via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the author of Cat in the Dark, Cat on the Edge, Cat Under Fire, and Cat Raise the Dead, and has received five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards for previous books. She graduated from San Francisco Art Institute, has worked as a commercial artist and has exhibited paintings and sculptures extensively on the West Coast. She and her husband live in Carmel, California. Their cats have included a tom that twice warned them of burglars in the middle of the night by growling, and a cat that liked to ride horseback. Website
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