Copyright © 2000 Henrietta W. Hay
The Mysteries of Cats
September 6, 2002
Now that I have become a cat owner once again -- well, correct that to a
cat house mate; one doesn't own a cat -- I have been checking out
mysteries with cat characters. Most of the cat mysteries won't make
the "100 best of the century," but they're fun to read.
My favorite feline author, Sneaky Pie Brown who collaborates with Rita
Mae Brown, has a new book out. "Claws and Effect" is the ninth
adventure of Mrs. Murphy and Pewter. Mrs. Murphy is described as,
"Beautiful, brainy, saucy, she is the perfect cat. Just ask her." Of
Pewter, the author says, "A gray cat with strong opinions, she is often
reluctantly pulled into Mrs. Murphy's schemes."
Crozet, Virginia, a town full of gossip, is having a hard winter, not
that they know what a hard winter is. When a hospital staff member is
found murdered in the boiler room everybody has something besides the
weather to think about. Rumors that the basement had been part of the
underground railroad pique Postmistress Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen's
curiosity. This adventure is a little short on plot, but the cats are
more than usually busy and it is a lot of fun to read -- if you like
Since I found my pal Mercury in the local animal shelter, I was
especially interested in the dedication to "Claws and Effect."
"Dedicated to the people who work in animal shelters. You're
overworked and underpaid, but you have given your life to a different
kind of reward."
Shirley Rousseau Murphy's "Cat Spitting Mad" was selected as the best
cat mystery published in 2001 at the National Cat Writers' Association
this year. Joe Grey, the hero of her series is "looking purringly,
whisker-lickingly smug." Murphy's web page www.joegrey.com is
full of pictures and talk about her series of books. "Cat Spitting Mad"
is her sixth mystery featuring talking felines, Joe Grey and Dulcie,
along with a newly acquired tortoise-shell kitten. Two women were
murdered while horseback riding in Molena Point, California. What makes
Joe spitting mad is that his much loved sheriff was framed for the
crime. These cats don't just talk to each other, they talk to certain
Midnight Louie doesn't talk, but he understands and detects! He and his
house mate, Temple Barr, live and work in Las Vegas. Carole Nelson
Douglas' "Cat on a Blue Monday," has to do with animal rights,
especially the use of truly wild cats for entertainment. It is too
serious and complex -- yes, boring in spots -- for an easy read, but
Midnight Louie is his usual competent self and the issue is important.
KoKo and Yum Yum, those wonderful Siamese cats who live with James
Quilleran's in Pickax, are back. The latest in Lillian Jackson Braun's
series of feline-inspired thrillers is "The Cat Who Smelled a Rat."
Braun develops her human characters much better than most cat authors.
Her next book is due in January.
For those readers who are seriously interested in cat mysteries, the web
page of the Mesa County Public Library has links to a list of 250 cat
But the book that really has me proud this week is not about cats, nor
is it a book to curl up with at bedtime. It is Requirements Analysis,
from Business Views to Architecture, a 458 page technical book out
this week, written by David C. Hay. Oh yes, that is my son. In order
for a business to get what it needs from a software project it is,
according to Dave, essential to understand the business. And that has
been his profession for many years, analyzing business practices in
detail and portraying them in many ways. He put together his first
models from the Mesa County Public Library when he was visiting here
many years ago.
If I were a mama cat I would probably be purring.