Cat in the Dark (Joe Grey Series #4) by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Cat in the Dark (Joe Grey Series #4)

Cat in the Dark (Joe Grey Series #4)

4.7 9
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

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"Of course I worry.
What if the cops witness a cat opening a skylight and masterminding a robbery?
The tabloids will love it."

There's a new pair of thieves in MolenaPoint, California, a renegade yellow-eyedtomcat with a cold disdain for the law,and a scruffy human partner who isno better. The two, clever and silentat their work, are bad news indeedto crime


"Of course I worry.
What if the cops witness a cat opening a skylight and masterminding a robbery?
The tabloids will love it."

There's a new pair of thieves in MolenaPoint, California, a renegade yellow-eyedtomcat with a cold disdain for the law,and a scruffy human partner who isno better. The two, clever and silentat their work, are bad news indeedto crime-solving cats Joe Grey andDulcie. But when Joe learns the pair'sconnection to a good friend, and then an innocent couple turns up dead in the library garden, Joe and Dulcie must engage in some fancy paw work to unmask the deceptions and route the real killer -- before his brazen criminal crime spree careens madly toward them.

Editorial Reviews

Armchair Detective
Excellent reading.
Mostly Murder
Joe Grey and his sidekick Dulcie...[are] an irrepressible investigative duo...ingeniously mesmerizing.
School Library Journal
YA-Cat lovers have long acknowledged the special qualities of felines, even those that don't speak, read, open locks, or act like private investigators. Joe Grey and Dulcie can do all of the above and more. While making a nighttime stroll around the quiet village of Molena Point, Joe and Dulcie witness a cat and a slovenly dressed man committing a robbery. The strange cat, Azrael, appears to be as evil as his name implies, and turns out to share the same unique abilities of Joe and Dulcie. The man turns out to be the brother of Mavity Flowers, one of the hard-working older women in the village. The two resident cats, faced with identifying the culprit, come across an investment scam, three deaths, and significant twisting of the plot. Human characters provide the realism in this mysterious fantasy that includes romantic interests and small-town squabbles. Dulcie's owner, Wilma Getz, and Joe's owner, Clyde Damen, serve as the major human players. As mutual friends their interactions bring the different parts of the plot together and provide a foundation for the series. The contemporary setting of Molena Point, complete with nightly fogs, adds just the right atmosphere for the midnight sleuthing of cats and dastardly humans. For teens who like fantasy, mystery, or cats, this title offers all three.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Joe Grey and his ladyfriend Dulcie aren't just your ordinary feline detectives. Not only does Dulcie have a day job-she's the library cat for the Bay Area village of Molena Point-but, like Joe Grey, she has powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary literary cats. Joe and Dulcie can talk to each other and to their respective human housemates, librarian Wilma Getz and rehabber Clyde Damen (who, in the course of one particularly heated debate with Joe Grey, snarls, "What does a cat know about the value of real estate?"); they can read books and newspapers; they can toss suspects' apartments and make anonymous phone tips to perplexed Captain Max Harper. And it's a good thing this crime-fighting duo, in their hardcover debut, are so well-equipped, because the forces of evil arrayed against them are formidable. There's a sneak thief who breaks into Molena Point's cozy shops by night and empties their cash registers. There's the thief's feline partner, Azrael, who taunts Dulcie and Joe Grey with their inexperience and prophesies multiple murder. There's investments counselor Winthrop Jergen, who just may be swindling Wilma's old friend Mavity Flowers out of her life's savings. And eventually, long after non-infatuates have given up hope of any sensation stronger than a decorous romantic triangle among Clyde, his handyman girlfriend Charlie (Wilma's niece) Getz, and flashy library computer expert Bernine Sage, there's the business of those murders. Now that Murphy's raised the stakes of the feline sleuth genre, what's next? Burned-out cats who drive police cruisers and count the days till their retirement? .

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Joe Grey Series, #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The cat crouched in darkness beneath the library desk, her tabby stripes mingled with the shadows, her green eyes flashing light, her tail switching impatiently as she watched the last patrons linger around the circulation counter. Did humans have to dawdle, wasting their time and hers? V/hat was it about closing hour that made people so incredibly slow?

Above her the library windows were black, and out in the night the oaks' ancient branches twisted against the glass, the moon's rising light reflecting along their limbs and picking out the rooftops beyond. The time was nine-fifteen. Time to turn out the lights. Time to leave these hallowed rooms to her. Would people never leave? She was so irritated she almost shouted at them to get lost, that this was her turf now.

Beyond the table and chair legs, out past the open door, the library's front garden glowed waxen in the moonlight, the spider lilies as ghostly pale as the white reaching fingers of a dead man. Three women moved out into the garden along the stone path, beneath the oak trees' dark shelter, heading toward the street; behind them, Mavity Flowers hurried out toting her heavy book bag, her white maid's uniform as bright as moonstruck snow, hergray, wiry hair ruffled by the sea wind. Her white polyester skirt was deeply wrinkled in the rear from sitting for nearly an hour delving through the romance novels, choosing half a dozen unlikely dreams in which to lose herself. Dulcie imagined Mavity hastening home to her tiny cottage, making herself a cup of tea, getting comfy, maybe slipping into her bathrobe and putting her feet up for an evening's read--for a few hours'escape and pleasure after scrubbing and vacuuming all day in other people's houses.

Mavity was a dear friend of Dulcie's housemate; she and Wilma had known each other since elementary school, more than fifty years. Wilma was the tall one, strong and self-sufficient, while Mavity was such a small person, so wrinkled and frail-looking that people treated her as if she should be watched over--even if she did work as hard as a woman half her age. Mavity wasn't a cat lover, but she and Dulcie were friends. She always stroked Dulcie and talked to her when she stopped by Wilma's; Mavity told Dulcie she was beautiful, that her chocolate-dark stripes were as lovely as mink, that Dulcie was a very special cat.

But the little lady had no idea how special. The truth would have terrified her. The notion that Dulcie had read (and found tedious) most of the stories that she, herself, was toting home tonight, would have shaken Mavity Flowers right down to her scruffy white oxfords.

Through the open front door, Dulcie watched Mavity hurry to the corner and turn beneath the yellow glow of the streetlamp to disappear down the dark side street into a tunnel of blackness beneath a double row of densely massed eucalyptus trees. But within the library, seven patrons still lingered.

And from the media room at the back, four more dawdlers appeared, their feet scuffing along inches from Dulcie's nose-- silk-clad ankles in stilted high heels, a boy's bony bare feet in leather sandals, a child's little white shoes and lace-ruffled white socks following Mama's worn loafers. And all of them as slow as cockroaches in molasses, stopping to examine the shelved booksand flip through the racked magazines. Dulcie, hunching against the carpet, sighed and closed her eyes. Dawdling was a cat's prerogative, humans didn't have the talent. Only a cat could perform that slow, malingering dance, the half-in-half-out-the-door routine, with the required insolence and grace.

She was not often so rude in her assessment of human frailties. During the daytime hours, she was a model of feline amenity, endlessly obliging to the library patrons, purring for them and smiling when the old folks and children petted and fussed over her, and she truly loved them. Being official library cat was deeply rewarding. And at home with Wilma she considered herself beautifully laid-back; she and Wilma had a lovely life together. But when night fell, when the dark winds shook the oaks and pines and rattled the eucalyptus leaves, her patina of civilization gave way and the ancient wildness rose in her, primitive passions took her--and a powerful and insatiable curiosity drove her. Now, eager to get on with her own agenda, she was stifled not only by lingering humans but was put off far more by the too-watchful gaze of the head librarian.

Jingling her keys, Freda Brackett paced before the circulation desk as sour-faced as a bad-tempered possum and as impatient for people to leave as was Dulcie herself--though for far different reasons. Freda couldn't wait to be free of the books and their related routines for a few hours, while Dulcie couldn't wait to get at the thousands of volumes, as eager as a child waiting to be alone in the candy store.

Freda had held the position of head librarian for two months. During that time, she had wasted not an ounce of love on the library and its contents, on the patrons, or on anyone or anything connected with the job. But what could you expect of a political appointee?

The favorite niece of a city council member, Freda had been selected over several more desirable applicants among the library's own staff. Having come to Molena Point from a large and businesslike city library, she ran this small, cozy establishment in thesame way. Her only objective was to streamline operations until the Molena Point Library functioned as coldly and impersonally as the institution she had abandoned. In just two months the woman's rigid rules had eaten away at the warm, small-village atmosphere like a rat demolishing last night's cake.

Cat in the Dark. Copyright © by Shirley Murphy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

In addition to her popular Joe Grey mystery series for adults, for which she has received ten national Cat Writers' Association Awards for best novel of the year, Shirley Rousseau Murphy is a noted children's book author who has received five Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists awards. Two of her children's books were written in collaboration with her husband, Pat.

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Cat in the Dark (Joe Grey Series #4) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
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I am leaving my post as deputy and giving it to featherbit. She is whorthy to be ther deputy and will shine