Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review: "Cat Coming Home", A Joe Grey Mystery By Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Since I started doing book reviews on Cat Chat I have been receiving some unexpected books in the mail that have been sent to me by various publishers.

"Cat Coming Home" was the first of a few of these books that will be periodically featured on Cat Chat.

I saved this one to read for the main reason that the cover had a black cat with various Santas around it, and I thought this would be a good book to feature during the holidays.

What I thought the book would be and what it actually IS are worlds apart! I was mistaken that because there were Santas on the cover that this was a light-weight, fluffy (pun intended) cat book with a  warm and cozy story tucked between it's pages. I couldn't have been more wrong.

"Cat Coming Home" is a mystery. I know a number of you will think I am insane but mysteries are not on the list of my favorite genre of books to read, as a result I kept pushing this one to my "one of my books I will get to later" piles. I am rather an impatient sort (surprise, surprise) who prefers to ponder and get lost in thought when I read, I am not one who cares about "who done it" and frankly most mysteries lose me due to my lack of curiosity. (I would make a lousy cat).
Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Once again my feeling that I would not enjoy this book or have it capture my attention couldn't have been more wrong. It is a generous 354 pages (and as we used to say in school, it wouldn't be a "quick read" because it isn't printed in large type!). I started reading it Friday night and much to my surprise I found myself so engrossed in this mystery that I had nearly finished the entire book by the time I went to bed.

"Cat Coming Home" is one of a series of books featuring an amazing cat (Joe Grey) who has the ability to talk, use the telephone, write (even without opposable thumbs) and a number of his cat friends can do the same. Joe Grey is a detective cat (not many humans know this), and his friends,  Kit, Misto (the Senior kitty of the bunch, a former prison cat) and Dulcie are important links to the solving of this most intriguing mystery.

One of the main characters is Maudie Toola who has left Los Angeles following the horrific murder of her son and his wife (newlyweds). She is returning to her childhood home of Molena Point along with her orphaned grandson (Benny). She is faced with having to raise Benny. It is Christmas time and Maudie is not looking forward to the holidays but knows she must make them the best she can for poor Benny.

What Maudie doesn't know is that the killer has followed her. She also doesn't know that she is under the watchful eye of four cats who aren't your classic "cute" kitties but are brave, intelligent, super sleuths with a gift for sarcasm and the ability to be "at the right place at the right time".

"Cat Coming Home" is riveting, peppered with danger, humor, excitement, strong friendships and new beginnings.

If you like cats (or not) or mysteries (or both),  or if you are like me and normally DON'T like mysteries, give this one a try. It will pull you into the depths of it's pages as it did me.

CAT COMING HOME by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. (William Morrow) ISBN: 9780061806933 is the 16th installment in the award-winning Joe Grey mystery series.

The reading order of the Joe Grey novels is as follows:

Cat on the Edge
Cat Under Fire
Cat Raise the Dead
Cat in the Dark
Cat to the Dogs
Cat Spitting Mad
**Cat on the Money
Cat Laughing Last
Cat Seeing Double
Cat Fear No Evil
Cat Cross Their Graves
Cat Breaking Free
Cat Pay the Devil
Cat Deck the Halls
Cat Playing Cupid
Cat Striking Back
Cat Coming Home

ABOUT SHIRLEY ROUSSEAU MURPHY: she "has received eight national Cat Writers' Association Awards for best novel of the year, two Cat Writers' President's Awards, the "World's Best Cat Litter-ary Award" in 2006 for the Joe Grey books, and five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards for previous books. She and her husband live in Carmel, California, where they serve as full-time household help for two demanding feline ladies." She may be contacted at 



  1. The Human lubz teh Kittehs and lubz teh mysteries, so these books have just earned a spot on her "to read" list! Thanks ;-)

  2. wow Spitty you are FAST! I no sooner posted this than I had a comment from you! Thanks so much!
    YAY! I am so glad that not only do you love cats, you love mysteries too! This one will NOT disappoint!
    I am going to bed now! Have a great night! xoxo

  3. These are the kind of books our mom likes! Thanks for the reading list - our mom likes to start a series at the beginning :). She'll be checking these out for sure!

    Pip, Smidgen, Minnie, and Hollie

  4. I read one of these a while ago and I remember it was fun. Don't remember the title though. Shoudl be good!

  5. I love your honesty by saying that you don't like mysteries and this book belonged to your "one of my books I will get to later" piles.

    I never like mysteries either but I guess I'll give it a try : )

  6. We will have to try that one, we have read one of the others and it was good. Great review!

  7. Aunty Caren,
    Joe Grey sounds like my kind of kitty. Smart, responsible and handsome. Can he cook too? Hmmmm...... purrr....meow!

  8. @Cara, thanks much! When I went into the website and saw they had a reading list in the order the books should be read I thought it would be helpful for all of you and I am glad that you liked it!

  9. @Au and Target, I can't speak for the other books on the list but as I mentioned this one lured me in and I truly DID enjoy it!

  10. @Priscilla yep that is EXACTLY what I did and how I felt (at first). I honestly had the book here for a few months!
    Oh....there is a doggie in some parts of the book! :)

  11. @Brian if you read another of her books and liked it (even if you didn't) I truly DO think you will enjoy this book! Thanks so much!

  12. Thanks so much for these great hints and the review!This book is very interesting, I asked mommy to read for me!
    purrs and a nice week

  13. Great review! It sounds a lot like something I would read and I'll definitely put it on my 'books to purchase' list

  14. I love this series! I haven't read them in awhile and I'm about halfway through the series, but these are such good books.

  15. @Cat-In-Sydney...Joe Grey is ALL of the things that you mentioned....hmmm cook? Don't think so but I wouldn't be surprised!

  16. @Luna when your Mommy gets the book have her hold you close in certain parts so you don't get too scared!! I am so glad you liked the review!

    @The Monkeys thank you! I am sure you will enjoy it! I TRULY DID!

  17. @Yvonne, thanks so much for your confirmation! It always is nice when someone has read a book by a certain author and vouch for the fact that the series (or book) is a good book! Thanks!

  18. Hello! How are You?!
    Very interesting post!
    Thank You very much for sharing!

  19. That yellow cat is not main.It lost its mom.One boy brought it to was helped there him.
    One of child took it to there home.

  20. Mario's mom here - I love mysteries and love books about animals. So, put the two together and I think this is a "must read" for me. Thanks Caren.

  21. Oh! We luff Joe Grey. He's very cool. And our Mom luffs mysteries in general.

  22. Thanks so much for introducing her. I will look for these books after Christmas when there is more time to read. I loved The Cat Who series and have read them all. I think I will love this one too. Thanks for dropping by lately. Love to hear from you and I wish you a wonderful 'last week' before Christmas. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x5

  23. It sounds like a very interesting book. We will have to keep a look out for it :)

  24. Oh wow!! A Cat Detective!! Wow!!! How amazing!! Well I'm sold and I'll definitely sample this series!! Thank you so much for the review and the info - I'm so ashamed to say I've not heard of these mysteries or author (and I do like my crime novels!!!) so thank you again!! Take care

  25. We think our mum would like to read this book - she likes to read mystery ones. She's made a note of the title and author and will look out for it.

  26. @Amin I am well thanks! Ohhh ok! I thought you adopted a new kitten :)

  27. @Mario's Mom, you have the 2 components so you will love it I am sure! :)

    @The Whiskeratti, see? told you I normally don't like mysteries that is why I originally had no clue who Joe Grey was! You are very well-read kitties!!! :)

  28. @Deb, yep with that series of books you will be kept busy after Christmas (as if you aren't busy enough normally!) for sure! I love your blog! I try to come by as much as I can...sometimes it gets hard because I follow so many blogs....sometimes the times I read don't coincide with new posts on some of the blogs and I know I miss some, but I miss some unintentionally!
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! xoxo

  29. @Forever Foster, thanks so much for stopping by! The book truly drew me in (and as I said I never expected that to happen!)

    @Old Kitty, I am sooo happy that you enjoyed the review and now you have an entire series to read! Don't be ashamed, I had never heard of these either! But now you know! :)

  30. @Hannah and Lucy I am soooo sure your Mom will love this book! :)

  31. Wes hears books in the big box that moves and Mommy and Daddy reads in bed all the time. Mommy is going to get this book and read it, but me wants her to find out if theys has it ion CD so ME can hear it! Thank yous Caren for reviewing this book!

  32. I'm gonna check out this series...I hope it's Kindle friendly...Amazon, here I come!

  33. Nice review...If I can fit it in my busy life I will def check it out. It might take me an entire year to finish it. LOL

  34. @nellie, not sure if it is on CD but that would be a great idea if it is! thanks for stopping by!

    @Katnip Lounge, not sure if it is Kindle friendly but it is worth a try! :)

    @Cat-toure, hope you have been well! Glad you could stop by! Thanks so is a fast reading book because it is so compelling!

  35. For someone who is always tuning in to NPR to hear interviews of book authors and for someone who is always browsing the "top book reads" on-line, I missed this series completely! I don't know how I missed this b/c this series seems like a winner! I will check them out very soon! Thanks for the review!

  36. @The Teacher's Pets don't feel bad! I try to stay pretty up to date on things too and felt really bad that I had heard nothing about them either! So glad you will be checking them out and I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  37. I LOVE your's all about my favorite animal, the cat! I have one very spoiled cat named Jack who rules our household. Please stop by my site and meet him. I'd love to have you!


  38. I love reading! I'll just have to look for that one. It sounds intriguing!

  39. Very interesting. My mom person doesn't usually like mystery type of books, but she might get this one on your reccomendation! Hopefully Santy Paws is bringing her Kindle for Christmas to read it on!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  40. Missy Hi! Thanks much!! That made my day! I would love to meet Jack (don't ALL cats "rule the household??" lol) I will definitely be over right away!

  41. @houndstooth it IS intriguing!

    @Oskar I am EXACTLY the same and I am telling you that this one TOTALLY drew me in...believe me I didn't think that it would but it DID! I am not usually a mystery person either but I really, really got into and enjoyed this one!

  42. M<om has seen those books in the store,but has not read them.She has read about other 'detective cats'(Sneaky Pie Brown)
    That was a good review and we showed it to Mom :)
    Purrs Mickey,Georgia & Tillie

  43. I've never heard of these books before - am off to have a look on Amazon. I enjoyed the Cat Who... books by Lillian Jackson Braun (until the last few anyway that had sadly run out of steam).

  44. @Mickey, Georgia, Tillie, I had never seen them before! Thanks so much for your kind words and thanks for showing the review to your Mom! Sending you kitty kisses!

    @Barbara, nor had I! I may have to check out the "Cat Who..." that you mentioned! Love your photo next to your name here!

  45. Enjoyed your review. This sounds like something I'd really enjoy reading. I'll have to add this to my 'wish list' for Christmas.

    Thoughts in Progress

  46. Wow, finally found something that we DON'T have in common - I LOVE mysteries! (A true cat, without a doubt!)
    This book, in fact the whole series, sounds fascinating...I want to read them all! Thanks for taking the plunge into a mystery, and letting us know about this wonderful author.

  47. Sounds like a fun book! I'll have to have a look and see if I can get it here. I love reading, but - same thing you have Caren! - I'm not much of a mystery person, more fantasy books like Lord of the Rings and stuff like Jane Austen. If a thriller/mystery doesn't grab me in the first chapter or two I find it hard to keep going.
    Just as a matter of interest (well, interesting to me haha) one of my favourite shows is an Austrian crime show called Inspector Rex - about a German Shepard who helps solve murders - it's kind of odd, in that it sometimes changes mood dark and somewhat edgy, to light and humorous - I just can't resist it! Especially when Rex continuously nicks the detectives lunch....

  48. @Mason thanks much, yes it is definitely a book you would enjoy reading!

    @CindyLu lol! loved your comment! Trust ALL other ways I AM like a cat! lol. I am curious but not with mysteries...EXCEPT for this one! It totally drew me in and I loved it. My husband started reading it last night and also is loving it!

  49. @Ruth, that show that you have with Rex sounds super interesting! Ready for this? I am NOT into Lord Of The Rings, or Harry Potter or any of that either! Aren't I just a mess???? after reading a genre that I thought I wouldn't like (I am like you if it doesn't draw me in in the beginning I am DONE) I should give those a try to! This one DID draw me in in the very beginning!

  50. I didn't get a chance to stop by yesterday so I am getting caught up today. I adore mysteries and burn throug the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun and my dog and one cat are named after the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown, this is something I will go check into at Amazon today. Thanks so much for the tip!!

  51. Blasphemy Caren!! Haha, kidding :P I'm just starting to get into memoirs as well :)

  52. @Coupon Queen let me know if you enjoy it when you find the book! I am sure you will love it! Thanks for stopping by!

  53. See. I was right. If cats can solve mysteries they can definitely hold down jobs!

    Caren, great review! I'm not usually a mystery reader, but this book sounds intriguing. And it features a former prison cat--haha!

  54. @Careers4YourCat lol! that is another thing we have in common (but I DID really enjoy this book!)
    Thanks so much! Yep a career, "prison cat" lol


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