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Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery Hardcover – Oct 19 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (Oct. 19 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061123994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061123993
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,846,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Magical.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[The] premise, a mystery that withholds the identities of both the victim and the perp, is intriguing.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Joe continues to be one of the most entrancing (and effective) detectives in modern cozy mysteries.” (Booklist)

From the Back Cover

"Why is it, Joe, that you are always the one to find the body?"

On a lovely moonlit night, while carrying a gift of mice to a litter of kittens, Joe Grey stumbles upon a murder scene. Behind an empty house, in an empty swimming pool, there's blood, the smell of human death, and drag marks. But there's no victim—and it's hard to prove a crime without a corpse.

Driven by stubborn feline curiosity, Joe Grey sets out to investigate. With Dulcie and Kit following him along a killer's trail, Joe discovers evidence of conflict among the residents of this seemingly peaceful neighborhood—multiple signs of breaking-and-entering, with nothing of value stolen. And they find something far worse: hints of violence yet to come . . . and more planned murder.

With the help of two local ferals, Joe, Kit, and Dulcie must now thwart a killer using the most unorthodox means at their disposal: a criminal's unnatural yet powerful fear of cats.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 29 2009
Format: Hardcover
Granted, considering the number sold it's doubtful that there are many first-time readers of Rousseau's Joe Grey series, but just in case there are a few things that should be accepted for prime enjoyment of this fun, part fantasy, all mystery story. First, decide that it's ok for cats to talk, to one another and to their human friends. Second, accept the fact that Joe is a cat and a full-time detective who will dare almost anything until the crime in question is solved. There, now that's settled prepare for the 15th installment of his sleuthing shenanigans.

Joe is padding through Molena Point toting a four course meal for a nursing mother cat when his sharp senses detect a smell that stopped him, " smell that made his fur bristle." It was the awful odor of blood and human death. He follows this to an abandoned property and an empty swimming pool. The pool's bottom is covered in muddy slime but it's also clear that something, something large has been dragged across one end of the pool. Joe is able to follow a trail that leads to where what he believes to be a body is dragged, tire marks indicate the body was put in a car and taken away.

He calls the police, and then after taking food to the hungry mother cat returns to the scene only to find that in such a brief period someone has hosed down the area removing the evidence he had seen. Who and why?

No sooner had Joe made his report and hardly had time to ponder the strange goings-on when houses in the neighborhood are broken into. Strange robberies if that is what they are as nothing seems have been taken. Four houses that have been entered are vacant as the owners are on vacation.
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By Anon on Aug. 29 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 58 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not the best Nov. 10 2009
By Abby - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Murphy is one of my favorite mystery authors, but this new edition to the Joe Grey series almost feels like filler, something to keep you updated on how characters are doing until the next book comes out. A lot of the text is about what people or cats are thinking, rather than dialogue between characters. It's nice to see Kit as an adult, instead of the hare-brained kitten she's been for so long, but the story is about the crime, and in the end the victims never get a good resolution.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Cat Striking Back Jan. 18 2010
By Isabelle Jolly - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the latest in a series about cats who can talk and read, and owners who know it! Joe Grey is one of them and he calls the police when he sees a crime.

He's taking some live mice to a mother cat who can't go hunting and who needs MEAT while she's nursing, according to Dulcie, Joe's companion. As he's carrying the mice he smells blood and sees evidence of a body being dragged in the bottom of an abandoned pool. He delivers the mice, calls the police, returns to the scene, and finds that it has been cleaned up. Someone has returned and hosed down around the pool and in the pool to smooth up the dirt in it. However, the policewoman who comes notices that the hose is dripping, the walk is only partly wet, and looks for evidence. She finds blood spots!

Through the book you follow the murderer as he disposes of the body, (a wild talking cat, Sage, sees him burying it in a drain that is going to be concreted in) and thinks he's safe. He leaves and robs four houses whose owners are in vacation. You learn that he and his wife, the dead woman, make a practice of moving into a nice neighborhood for a couple of years, befriend all the neighbors, exchange house keys to feed pets, wait until the neighbors are on vacation, rob them and their own house of valuables, and leave on a trip they've told everyone about. He is an asthmatic and has left his inhaler somewhere. When he goes back looking for it he sees the cat who watched him bury his wife, panics, and throws a hammer through the window at Sage.

Sage, the wild cat, had talked to one of the 'city' cats and told her what he had seen. It gets reported to Ryan, the contractor who is doing the remodeling, and she digs up the concrete which has just been poured, calls the police before they dig for the body and find it.

The cats, Joe, Dulcie, and Kit, follow through on everything. Their prowess doesn't fail them.

The book is fun to read, and the mystery of who got killed and who did the killing is kept a secret until late in the book. I'm always waiting for the next book in this series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Unique, refreshing cat mystery series! Jan. 25 2011
By D. Merrimon Crawford - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When tom cat Joe Grey smells blood and sees track marks near an empty house's swimming pool, he knows there has been a murder. With such faint clues and the absence of a body, can the tip to the Molina Point, California Police Department be enough to solve the murder? Taking matters into his own hands, Joe Grey sets out to investigate with his feline friends Dulcie and Kit in the ways only cats can. Even two local ferals join him. Joe discovers all sorts of conflicts among the seemingly tranquil neighborhood. Will he and his friends be able to stop the killer before he strikes again, and at what cost to themselves? With the killer's pathological fear of cats, Joe and his feline friends will have their paws full!

CAT STRIKING BACK, the newest in the long running Joe Grey mystery series, combines fantasy and mystery with a feline tom cat sleuth able to talk, not only to other cats but humans as well. Not only does the reader enter into his thoughts directly from the cat but the interaction with humans adds a wonderful sense of humor to this mystery. The author alternates point of view so that the reader is taken into the thoughts of the other cats in this mystery. Kit's interactions with the feral cats, Tansy and Sage, are particularly moving. The author is clearly at her best when narrating through the eyes of cats. Each cat has his own identity and voice. Each draws the reader into the world the author creates. If you love cats, Shirley Rousseau Murphy's mysteries are a must! Tom Cat Joe Grey and his bit of swagger is downright cool. Kit's story pulls on the heartstrings. Even the feral cats and their world is presented with a richness and multi-dimensionality.

Newcomers to the series, like myself, who are unfamiliar to the series might find the shifting points of view a bit distracting in the beginning, although this becomes less of an issue as one continues to read and becomes familiar with the voices of the different cats, voices which the author clearly distinguishes. Nevertheless, whether you start here or earlier, CAT STRIKING BACK will leave a reader wanting more Joe Grey mysteries! CAT STRIKING BACK is not just another cat mystery. If you love cats and are looking for something unique to add to your reading list, the voices of Shirley Rousseau Murphy's cats are fresh and exciting. If you are looking for a mystery with a unique edge, the ending here was certainly unexpected and refreshing as well.

Courtesy of Book Illuminations
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Delightful cat detectives solve yet another crime Nov. 26 2009
By Sheila L. Beaumont - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the 15th mystery in Shirley Rousseau Murphy's marvelous series, one that seems to get better and better with each book. In this installment, Joe Grey, bearing a gift of six mice to a litter of kittens, notices signs of a recent murder in an empty swimming pool, but there is no body to be seen. Joe and his two fellow feline detectives, Dulcie and Kit, investigate four neighborhood houses whose owners are on vacation. The challenge is to prove that there has indeed been a murder and to determine who the killer is. Occasional chapters are written from the anonymous killer's point of view, and the author cleverly challenges the reader to figure out which of the neighborhood men and women are, respectively, the culprit and the victim.

I love this series. Molena Point, a fictional small town on the Monterey Peninsula in Northern California, is a lovely setting. The regular characters, both human and feline, are likable and intelligent. Even the dogs, who, unlike the talking cats, have no otherworldly talents, are wonderful characters. The plotting is always strong and complex.

It's a good idea to read this series in order, as the characters go through many changes. In this book, longtime bachelor Clyde Damen has married Ryan Flannery, and the couple are embarking on new ventures. Charlie, who is married to Police Chief Max Harper, is contemplating selling her housecleaning and repair business to concentrate on her art. I've found this series to be very re-readable, and have lately been enjoying the earlier books for the second time. It's a special delight, however, when Ms. Murphy comes out with a brand-new book to be savored for the first time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Showed Promise, Then Failed Miserably for Me Feb. 7 2011
By Esmerelda'sHuman - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cat Striking Back is the first Joe Grey (Shirley Rousseau Murphy) mystery that I began to read. It was loaned to me by a fan of the series. While I was amused by the talking cats, I found the murderer's thoughts, which were a key component of this book, to be distressing, specifically the cruelty he showed towards the two cats in his childhood. One situation is alluded to, the second spelled out & at that point I closed the book. I know that cruelty exists, but what was really added to this book by the details of how Ed killed the young kitten as a boy? Cruelty occurs far too much in the real world, I don't need to read about it in fiction as well. I did reopen the book hoping it might redeem itself, but no, I have to say this series is total turnoff for me now.

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