Cat Coming Home (Joe Grey Mysteries)
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Cover Artist: Beppe Giacobbe
Review by Gayle Surrette
Avon Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061806957
Date: 05 December 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Maudie Toola's son and daughter-in-law were killed in their car as the family drove up to their secluded cabin in the woods outside Los Angeles. Maudie managed to pull the children down, protecting them while the car careened off the road. In the aftermath, she calmed the children who'd lost their parents and got them help. Her daughter-in-law's two children were taken by their aunt. Maudie had custody of her grandson, Benny. They moved back to her home in Molena Point to recover from the nightmares and the loss.
Joe Grey, Dulcie, and Kit notice Maudie's move back into town since Ryan is doing some remodeling to Maudie's house to add a quilting studio. The cats have also been trying to find out who is breaking into the homes of women when they are alone and beating them. The crimes are called robberies but the items taken are not worth much. What upsets the cats as much as the robberies and beatings is the way the local newspaper is blaming Police Chief Max Harper for failing to prevents the crimes.
Tension builds slowly as the cats uncover clues and call in their findings to the police. The police are spread thin because every break in is preceded with a spate of vandalism in the center of town and as it's just before Christmas, townspeople and business men are all upset and angry.
There's also a new tomcat in town -- a big yellow tomcat -- who hides in the shadows and seems to be interested in the recent rash of crime in Molena Point. Could this new cat, who they believe can talk, be helping the criminals? They decide to keep an eye out for him and find out what he's doing in Molena Point.
Meanwhile, Maudie seems, to the cats, to be acting just a bit odd about her relatives and the shooting that killed her son. They believe she knows something.
As usual the cats take center stage as they stalk the criminals and put the clues together. They have the added burden of trying to figure out how to get the information to Max Harper in a manner that allows him to act on their information without learning that it comes from talking cats.
The mystery of who is behind the vandalism and the robberies, as well as the shooting of Maudie's son seems at first separate issues but as the twists and turns occur they come to seem as if they are connected in some manner. This is a wonderful holiday entry in the Joe Grey series that allows regular readers to visit with old friends while enjoying an engrossing mystery. New readers to the series need not be afraid to just jump right in with Cat Coming Home as most of the books in the series can be read as stand-alones as Murphy gives enough background to bring new readers up to speed and remind regular readers of what's happened so far.