Cat Laughing Last (Joe Grey Series #7)

( 11 )

Overview

Fans of Lillian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown and cat lovers everywhere will delight in this newest mystery featuring two furry felines on the scent of a killer.

Famous novelist Elliot Traynor is temporarily living in Molena Point. He and his wife don't have much to do with the villagers, which is fine with them since no one particularly likes Vivi. But their arrival has coincided with some peculiar happenings in the town, culminating with a botched burglary in the home of ...

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Cat Laughing Last (Joe Grey Series #7)

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Overview

Fans of Lillian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown and cat lovers everywhere will delight in this newest mystery featuring two furry felines on the scent of a killer.

Famous novelist Elliot Traynor is temporarily living in Molena Point. He and his wife don't have much to do with the villagers, which is fine with them since no one particularly likes Vivi. But their arrival has coincided with some peculiar happenings in the town, culminating with a botched burglary in the home of 60–something Susan Brittian. Susan is a friend to feline detectives Joe Grey and Dulcie and they aren't going to let this crime go unpunished. With whiskers twitching they investigate the crime and soon find themselves on the scent of a killer.

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Editorial Reviews

Cats magazine
“Magical whimsy and deft writing.”
Cats Magazine
"Magical whimsy and deft writing."
Cats magazine
“Magical whimsy and deft writing.”
Publishers Weekly
Joe Grey, remarkable tomcat and sleuth last seen in 2001's Cat Spitting Mad, returns in Murphy's seventh cute feline mystery of theft, intrigue and murder. When famous novelist Elliott Traynor and his wife, Vivi, 40 years his junior, move to Molena Point to oversee the production of Traynor's play at the local theater, strange happenings begin to plague the usually quiet California coastal town. First, dog-owner Susan Brittain's house is vandalized, prompting Joe, aided by furry comrades Dulcie and Kit, to embark on an investigation that will take them from the houses and shops, over the roofs of the town and into a murder scene. True to form, the cats supply the information necessary for the police to solve the crimes. Meanwhile, a multitude of subplots involving the human residents of Molena Point muddle the mystery. The Senior Survival Club (Mavity, Cora, Lee, Gabrielle and Susan) are concerned with their plan to buy a communal house for their old age; Clyde is still perplexed over his ex-girlfriend, Ryan; and Max Harper and Charlie are trying to work out their relationship. Poetic descriptions and miraculous cats who not only talk, make telephone calls, advise humans but also love to read good books and are as comfortable eating rats as they are caviar make this more fantasy than mystery. While constant references to past crimes and events will inform new readers, committed fans may be disappointed in what fails to meet the standards of prior outings. (Jan. 5) FYI: This series has won the Cat Writers Association Muse Medallion for three years in a row. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Felines Joe Grey and Dulcie (Cat Spitting Mad) investigate a murder in the home of Joe's human friend Susan. This event coincides with the temporary presence in town of a famous novelist. Fun fare for cat fans. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Dying novelist Elliot Traynor and his trophy wife Vivi have fled New York for peaceful Molena Point, California, so that Elliot can complete his last novel and oversee the premiere of his first play, a historical drama called Thorns of Gold, based on local lore. But Vivi's condescension and Elliot's erratic behavior trigger animosity in the coastal village. And why are the latest chapters in Elliot's work-in-progress so inferior to his earlier stuff? Young, not-so-talented Fern and talented, not-so-young Cora Lee vie for the play's leading role, passionate Catalina. Hours after their callback, each is attacked by an anonymous intruder, one fatally. Sounds like a job for talking cat sleuths Joe Grey and Dulcie. In this seventh outing (Cat Spitting Mad, 2001, etc.), the feline Nick and Nora have their paws full, solving the crime while looking after an overcurious feline known only as "the kit" and watching over their human acquaintances. (A sublime running joke of the series is that Joe and Dulcie have more stable lives and relationships than any of their human friends.) Subplots abound, threading a large cast of series regulars through the main storyline. As Susan Brittain and four quirky friends, calling themselves the Senior Survival Club, search for a bargain house in which to live out their golden years together, Joe, Dulcie, and the kit monitor and coach the dating lives of their unattached human providers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061015625
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/5/2002
  • Series: Joe Grey Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 193,659
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

In addition to her popular Joe Grey mystery series for adults, for which she has received eleven 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 Council of Authors and Journalists awards. Two of her children's books were written in collaboration with her husband, Pat.

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Read an Excerpt

Cat Laughing Last

A Joe Grey Mystery
By Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Thomas T. Beeler Publisher

Copyright © 2002 Shirley Rousseau Murphy
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1574904388

Chapter One

The man lay facedown, bleeding into the braided rug of Susan Brittain's breakfast room, the fallen keyboard of Susan's computer dangling from the edge of her desk and dripping blood onto his face. The sliding glass doors of the large, bright room stood open, admitting a damp, chill breeze. The white shutter doors of the floor-to-ceiling cupboards had been flung back, the contents of the shelves thrown to the floor, a jumble of office supplies, boxes of costume jewelry, and ceramic dishes. Susan's prized houseplants were crushed beneath broken ceramic planters and heaps of black potting soil; every surface was dusted with soil and with clinging black powder where a plastic bottle of copier toner had burst open, the inky haze charring a blood-splattered doll and crusting the lenses of Susan's good reflex camera.

One shoe print was incised in the toner powder but had been partially smeared away. The computer had been turned on, the program on the screen a list of eBay auction items showing photographs of each offering with its price. The time was 6:30 A.M. Susan had been gone from the house for half an hour. As the victim lay committing his blood toher hand-braided rug, across the village three seemingly unrelated events were taking place, three small dramas that might, at a future date, help construct a scenario of interest to Molena Point police -- and to one gray tomcat and his tabby lady.

At the south side of the village, in the old mansion that housed Molena Point Little Theater, a young tortoiseshell cat prowled alone among the sets, her bright, inquisitive mind filled with wonderful questions. She was not hunting mice or snatching spiders from the cobwebs that hung in the far, high corners of the raftered ceiling. Her curiosity centered on the theater itself. She had watched the sets being built and painted, marveling at the green hills that looked so very like the real Molena Point hills over which she ranged each day. When she backed away from the sets, as the artist often did, the rolling slopes seemed nearly as huge and throbbing with light, the land running on forever along the edge of the Pacific. Only these hills didn't smell like green grass and earth, they smelled like paint. And no houses nestled among them, just scattered oaks, and wandering herds of longhorn cattle and deer and elk, from a time long past.

"Did Molena Point truly look like this?" she whispered to the empty theater. "All wild and without people? And such big animals everywhere? Were there no little cats then? And no rabbits or gophers to hunt?"

Every wonder that the kit had encountered in her short life had demanded vociferous response. She had to talk about each new event, if only to herself. She stood watching the hills, filled with questions, and she looked above her, too, at the ropes and props of the theater, at the catwalk where she liked to prowl, at the electrical buttons and cords that operated the various curtains, and at the overhead pulleys and lights, all complicated and wonderful. Muttering among ragged purrs, she sat admiring the set of the Spanish hacienda, with its deep windows and ornamental grills, and its broad patio with masses of roses blooming. The long, painted tables seemed very real standing about the patio with their white cloths and silver and crystal and vases of flowers, waiting for the wedding party -- for a bride and groom two hundred years dead. And the sadness of the love triangle sent a shiver through the kit, as if Marcos Romeros had just now been shot, this early dawn, as if at this moment he lay dying and betrayed.

The kit relished the stories that humans told -- but especially she loved the ancient Celtic folklore that spoke of her own history. She had never seen any kind of play being made, she had never seen any story brought alive, onstage. This new kind of storytelling filled her with wonder almost greater than her small, tortoiseshell body could contain.

While the tattercoat kit dreamed alone in the empty theater, and the morning sky over Molena Point brightened to fog-streaked silver, the man who lay bleeding in Susan Brittain's breakfast room stirred. His fingers twitched, his hand moved. His eyes opened, his expression puzzled and then afraid.

And across the village in a handsome stone cottage, a phone rang. One ring, two. On the third bell the system switched to an answering tape, recording a long message from a New York literary agent. Ten minutes later the instrument rang again, and an equally terse and irritated communication was committed to the machine from a prestigious New York editor. No one emerged from the bedroom to check the messages, certainly not the handsome, silver-haired author, a man one would expect to stroll out garbed in an expensive silk dressing gown and hand-sewn slippers. But it was, after all, only 6:50, California time. A writer who worked into the small hours had no desire to rise with the sun.

Several blocks away, in the crowded front yard of the Roy McLeary residence, as villagers gathered for the McLeary yard sale, an altercation was about to erupt over a small and unprepossessing wooden box that lay half hidden among cast-off household accessories and scarred furniture. A clash of emotions that would amuse and surprise the dozens of early bargain hunters, and would sharply alert the two cats who lay draped over the branch of a huge oak at the edge of the yard, greatly entertained by the intense atmosphere of the early gathering.

Joe Grey and Dulcie, having come from a predawn hunt up on the open hills, had arrived before daylight prepared to enjoy the bargaining. Though most of Molena Point's yard sales started officially at 8:00 A.M., by 6:30 or 7:00...

Continues...


Excerpted from Cat Laughing Last by Shirley Rousseau Murphy Copyright © 2002 by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter One



The man lay facedown, bleeding into the braided rug of Susan Brittain's breakfast room, the fallen keyboard of Susan's computer dangling from the edge of her desk and dripping blood onto his face. The sliding glass doors of the large, bright room stood open, admitting a damp, chill breeze. The white shutter doors of the floor-to-ceiling cupboards had been flung back, the contents of the shelves thrown to the floor, a jumble of office supplies, boxes of costume jewelry, and ceramic dishes. Susan's prized houseplants were crushed beneath broken ceramic planters and heaps of black potting soil; every surface was dusted with soil and with clinging black powder where a plastic bottle of copier toner had burst open, the inky haze charring a blood-splattered doll and crusting the lenses of Susan's good reflex camera.

One shoe print was incised in the toner powder but had been partially smeared away. The computer had been turned on, the program on the screen a list of eBay auction items showing photographs of each offering with its price. The time was 6:30 A.M. Susan had been gone from the house for half an hour. As the victim lay committing his blood to her hand-braided rug, across the village three seemingly unrelated events were taking place, three small dramas that might, at a future date, help construct a scenario of interest to Molena Point police -- and to one gray tomcat and his tabby lady.

At the south side of the village, in the old mansion that housed Molena Point Little Theater, a young tortoiseshell cat prowled alone among the sets, her bright, inquisitive mind filled withwonderful questions. She was not hunting mice or snatching spiders from the cobwebs that hung in the far, high corners of the raftered ceiling. Her curiosity centered on the theater itself. She had watched the sets being built and painted, marveling at the green hills that looked so very like the real Molena Point hills over which she ranged each day. When she backed away from the sets, as the artist often did, the rolling slopes seemed nearly as huge and throbbing with light, the land running on forever along the edge of the Pacific. Only these hills didn't smell like green grass and earth, they smelled like paint. And no houses nestled among them, just scattered oaks, and wandering herds of longhorn cattle and deer and elk, from a time long past.

"Did Molena Point truly look like this?" she whispered to the empty theater. "All wild and without people? And such big animals everywhere? Were there no little cats then? And no rabbits or gophers to hunt?"

Every wonder that the kit had encountered in her short life had demanded vociferous response. She had to talk about each new event, if only to herself. She stood watching the hills, filled with questions, and she looked above her, too, at the ropes and props of the theater, at the catwalk where she liked to prowl, at the electrical buttons and cords that operated the various curtains, and at the overhead pulleys and lights, all complicated and wonderful. Muttering among ragged purrs, she sat admiring the set of the Spanish hacienda, with its deep windows and ornamental grills, and its broad patio with masses of roses blooming. The long, painted tables seemed very real standing about the patio with their white cloths and silver and crystal and vases of flowers, waiting for the wedding party -- for a bride and groom two hundred years dead. And the sadness of the love triangle sent a shiver through the kit, as if Marcos Romeros had just now been shot, this early dawn, as if at this moment he lay dying and betrayed.

The kit relished the stories that humans told -- but especially she loved the ancient Celtic folklore that spoke of her own history. She had never seen any kind of play being made, she had never seen any story brought alive, onstage. This new kind of storytelling filled her with wonder almost greater than her small, tortoiseshell body could contain.

While the tattercoat kit dreamed alone in the empty theater, and the morning sky over Molena Point brightened to fog-streaked silver, the man who lay bleeding in Susan Brittain's breakfast room stirred. His fingers twitched, his hand moved. His eyes opened, his expression puzzled and then afraid.

And across the village in a handsome stone cottage, a phone rang. One ring, two. On the third bell the system switched to an answering tape, recording a long message from a New York literary agent. Ten minutes later the instrument rang again, and an equally terse and irritated communication was committed to the machine from a prestigious New York editor. No one emerged from the bedroom to check the messages, certainly not the handsome, silver-haired author, a man one would expect to stroll out garbed in an expensive silk dressing gown and hand-sewn slippers. But it was, after all, only 6:50, California time. A writer who worked into the small hours had no desire to rise with the sun.

Several blocks away, in the crowded front yard of the Roy McLeary residence, as villagers gathered for the McLeary yard sale, an altercation was about to erupt over a small and unprepossessing wooden box that lay half hidden among cast-off household accessories and scarred furniture. A clash of emotions that would amuse and surprise the dozens of early bargain hunters, and would sharply alert the two cats who lay draped over the branch of a huge oak at the edge of the yard, greatly entertained by the intense atmosphere of the early gathering.

Joe Grey and Dulcie, having come from a predawn hunt up on the open hills, had arrived before daylight prepared to enjoy the bargaining. Though most of Molena Point's yard sales started officially at 8:00 A.M., by 6:30 or 7:00...

Cat Laughing Last. Copyright © by Shirley Murphy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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(9)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    one of the best feline amateur sleuth series

    Renowned author Elliot Traynor and his wife Vivi move from New York to Molena Point, California, so that the dying writer can finish his final novel and direct his only play, Thorns of Gold. However, the Pacific community residents quickly abhor the outsiders as Vivi's air of superiority gets on everyone¿s nerves and Elliot's health does not allow him to smooth the relationships. <P>However, the townsfolk soon have deeper concerns than the nasty comportment of the Traynors. Someone attacked the two actresses competing for the lead female role in Thorns of Gold. Cat detectives Joe Grey and Dulcie, already intrigued by the Traynors, decide to investigate the assaults that left one actress dead. Neither feline realizes how close they will come to losing a life or two. <P> The seventh Grey and Dulcie tale continues the same style humor and who-done-it that makes this one of the top or perhaps the best feline amateur sleuth series today. The two charming cats perform in a myriad of roles ranging from detective, counselors, and psychologists to their erratic human pets. CAT LAUGHING LAST is an amusing two tail tale that fans of award winning Shirley Rousseau Murphy¿s series will fully enjoy. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    Flameheart

    Is a bronze tabby with orange paws and redish orange 19 moons old loves to go hunting . She is very nice and calm but dangerous when love ones are in anger. She has a strong heart . She has no kits hoes one day to have some. Has no crush for now. History: dont talk about it to her please it gets her mad.for more ask

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    Bios

    Bios

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Love the cats!!!

    Cats are so much fun. I have always had cats from the barn cats on the farm to the house cats that have invaded us. They are independent and smarter than most give them credit for.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2011

    Wonderful books!

    You won't be sorry you got this book. I have all of them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    Cat Laughing Last

    Excellent book. I have read every book in the Joe Grey series and this one was as good as the newest one. I love the cats that talk to each other and solve mysteries. The books always have unique plots and are much better than other mysteries I have read. I highly recommend the whole series of books. Joe Grey is a great detective.

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    Posted February 13, 2011

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    Posted April 5, 2013

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    Posted November 3, 2010

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    Posted December 6, 2011

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    Posted January 3, 2012

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