Cat Fear No Evil (Joe Grey Series #9)

Cat Fear No Evil (Joe Grey Series #9)

by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

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What's the perfect read for fans of New York Times bestselling mystery authors Lilian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown? This delightful ninth Joe Grey Mystery from award–winning author Shirley Rousseau Murphy.

When antiques and valuables begin to disappear from residents' homes, Joe Grey, Feline Detective, knows that something is very wrong in sleepy Molena Point, California. Lost are a five hundred thousand dollar painting, a diamond choker, and most shocking to Joe, his owner Clyde's vintage Packard roadster. But even a seasoned tomcat like Joe isn't prepared for the return of a yellow–eyed, sinister black cat who had terrorized him and his girlfriend Dulcie years before. The acid–tongued Azrael had paired with an old crook to loot the town and spread fear among the unsuspecting residents. Could Azrael and his partner be connected to this new set of crimes? But when a local waiter dies mysteriously at the art opening of one of Joe and Dulcie's closest human friends, the pair know that someone much more powerful and evil than Azrael's aging human friend is involved. And when miles away in San Francisco the cats' friend Kate––a woman with a mysterious, troubling secret––is followed by a stranger and robbed, the cats dig in their claws and investigate. Along with their tattercoat friend Kit, they pass clues to the police, and under the often sceptical eye of Clyde, slowly begin to sniff out the truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061015601
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/28/2004
Series: Joe Grey Series , #9
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 108,897
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the author of twenty mysteries in the Joe Grey series, for which she has won the Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion nine years running, and has received ten national Cat Writers’ Association Awards for best novel of the year. She is also a noted children’s book author, and has received five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards. She lives in Carmel, California, where she serves as full-time household help to two demanding feline ladies.

Read an Excerpt

Cat Fear No Evil

Chapter One

During the first week of October, when an icy wind blew off the Pacific, rattling the windows of Molena Point's shops, and the shops, half buried beneath blowing oaks, were bright with expensive gifts and fall colors, residents were startled by three unusual burglaries. Townsfolk stopping in the bakery, enticed by saffronscented delicacies, sipped their coffee while talking of the thefts. Wrapped in coats and scarves, striding briskly on their errands, they had left their houses carefully locked behind them.

Burglaries are not surprising during the pre- Christmas season when a few no-goods want to shop free of entailing expense. But these crimes did not involve luxury items from local boutiques. No handwrought cloisonné chokers or luxurious leather jackets, no sleek silver place settings or designer handbags. The value of the three items stolen was far greater.

A five-hundred-thousand-dollar painting by Richard Diebenkorn disappeared from Marlin Dorriss's oceanfront home without a trace of illegal entry. A diamond choker worth over a million vanished from Betty and Kip Slater's small, handsome cottage in the center of the village. And the largest and hardest to conceal, a vintage Packard roadster in prime condition was removed from Clyde Damen's automotive repair shop, again without any sign of forced entry.

Police, searching for the 1927 Packard that was valued at some ninety thousand dollars, combed the village garages and storage units, assisted by Damen himself. They found no sign of the vehicle. Police departments across the five western states were alerted to the three burglaries. Now, three weeks after the events, there were still no encouraging reports, and police had found little of substance to give detectives a lead. And Molena Point wasn't the only town hit. Similar thefts had occurred up and down the California coast.

With most of Molena Point's tourists gone home for the winter, and local residents settling in beside their hearths in anticipation of festive holidays, the disappearance of the valuables made people nervous -- though certainly the victims themselves were above reproach. All three were law-abiding citizens well known and respected in the community. Clyde Damen ran the upscale automotive repair shop attached to Beckwhite's foreign car dealership. He took care of all the villagers' BMWs and Jaguars and antique cars as if they were his own children.

The owner of the Diebenkorn painting, Marlin Dorriss, was an urbane and wealthy semi-retired attorney, active on the boards of several charities and local fundraisers. Betty Slater and her husband, Kip, who reported the diamond choker missing, ran the local luggage-and-leather shop and were long-time residents who traveled to Europe once a year and gave heavily to local charities.

Both residences and the Damen garage had alarm systems. All three systems had been activated at the time of the thefts, but no alarm had been set off. Considering this, the citizens of Molena Point thought to change the locks on their doors and to count the stocks and savings certificates in their safe deposit boxes in the local banks.

When there was a lull in the thefts for a few days, people grew more nervous still, waiting for the next one, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But maybe the sophisticated thief had moved on, tending to the similar thefts along the California coast. All California police departments were on the alert. The newspapers had a field day. However, Molena Point police captain Max Harper and chief of detectives Dallas Garza offered little information to the press. They pursued the investigation in silence. The MO of the thief was indeed strange.

In each instance, he left all valuables untouched except the single one he selected. In the case of the diamond choker, he had ignored pearl-and-ruby earrings, a sapphire bracelet, and five other pieces of jewelry that together totaled several million dollars. In the theft of the painting, only the Richard Diebenkorn landscape had disappeared -- it was Dorriss's favorite from among the seven Diebenkorns he owned. And Clyde Damen's Packard was only one of twelve antique cars in the locked garage, several of them worth more than the Packard.

Clyde had purchased the Packard in rusted and deteriorating condition from a farmer in the hills north of Sacramento, who was later indicted for killing his grandfather. It was now a beautiful car, in finer shape than when it had come from the factory. Just before it disappeared, Clyde had placed several ads in collectors' magazines preparing to sell this particular treasure. At the time of the theft, the gates to his automotive complex had been locked. The lock and hinges did not appear tampered with, nor had the lock on the door that led to the main shop -- Clyde's private shop -- in any way been disturbed. The deep-green Packard with its rosewood dashboard and soft, tan leather upholstery and brass fittings was simply gone. When Clyde opened the shop very early, planning to spend the morning on his own work, the space where the Packard had stood beside a half-finished Bentley was empty. Shockingly and irrefutably empty. A plain, bare patch of concrete.

Before calling the cops Clyde did the sensible thing. He locked the shop again and went out into the village to find his housemate, a large gray tomcat. Finding Joe Grey trotting along the street headed in the direction of the local deli, Clyde had swung out of the car and rudely snatched him up. "Come on, I have a job for you!"

"What's with you!" Joe hissed. "What the hell!" He had been headed to Jolly's Deli for a little late snack after an all-night mouse hunt. He was full of mice, but a small canapé or two, a bit of Brie, would hit the spot -- then home for a nap in his private, clawed-andfur- covered armchair.

"I need you bad," Clyde had said. "Need you now."

Cat Fear No Evil. Copyright © by Shirley Murphy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Cat Fear No Evil (Joe Grey Series #9) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the ninth in the Joe Grey series written by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Her storylines are well thought out. Her characterizations of the people and cats in the series are amazing. I love the talking cats. At first, I had to suspend reality and accept the idea of cats who talk. After that, I was totally engrossed in the stories. I'm a dog person; I love these cats! I've read books 1 - 8 and now I'm finishing number 9. They have all lived up to my expectations of a "good read". I would recommend this series to anyone who is imaginative and likes light reading. It's fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I can say is L O V E D this book. Want more . .. ---vlh
McDr More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the small town of Molena Point, just South of San Francisco, live three very special felines who can talk to and be understood by humans. Only six people in the town know the secrets of the cats and since they love Joe Grey, Dulcie and Kit, they will not tell anyone. In the past, these precious felines have solved crimes for the local police and it looks like their help will be needed once again.

Three recent robberies were committed in the area but only one item from each theft was taken. The evil black cat known as Azrael is back in town and since he always hooks up with criminals, the trio of felines believes he is somehow involved. Kate, Lucinda and Pedria Greenlow have some very unusual jewelry in their possession and someone wants it badly enough to kill which gives Joe Grey his first clue on the road to discovering who is responsible for a variety of crimes.

Fans of Rita Mae Brown¿s Mrs. Murphy series, Carol Nelson Douglass¿s Midnight Louie mysteries and Richard Bach¿s tales will purr with pleasure while reading this whimsical amateur sleuth tale. The investigation into a slick cat burglar is fun to follow for those who enjoy personification starring delightful cat detectives and hissing at feline villains. Shirley Rousseau Murphy¿s Joe Grey mysteries are so delightful; it is hard to for the next one to come to life.

Harriet Klausner

DoItNow More than 1 year ago
The Joe Grey series continues to be a fun and lighthearted read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
cannellfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of the recommended authors when we took suggestions for future reading selections from the members of my library-sponsored mystery fiction reading group.I've gotta say...I didn't really get into this one. It is competently written, but still at times seems amateurish. My main problem is the central conceit of this series -- intelligent, talking cats that interact with their human companions. I'm betting that if you can get past that outrageous premise, you'd probably enjoy this light mystery. Unfortunately, I never did get past that roadblock, so this was more an exercise in "getting to the end of the book so I can discuss it with the group."I think I'll leave this series to the real fans. I didn't hate it, but I won't be reading any more Joel Grey novels!
AngelaG86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Azrael returns just in time for a series of robberies in Molena Point.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seemed to me a liitle too outlandish. Plus, the writer seemed to be trying too hard to be trendy and hip. Maybe if you like the fantasy genre, this book could have some appeal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was looking forward to a fun, well written "cat detective" story. Was terribly disappointed. Will not buy any of the others in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago