There are few that don’t look forward to relaxing with a fast-paced whodunit on a sandy beach in the summertime. Our picks for all of you sun-drenched animal lovers are the Joe Grey mystery novels. Shirley Rousseu Murphy’s series set in Molena Point, Northern California features pet detective (in the strictest sense), Joe Grey. This feline Hardy boy uncovers trouble wherever he goes, but always seems to set things straight in the end. Here are a few of his “tails” that are ‘musts’ for any seaside excursion.
1. Cat on the Edge: The Plot: After discovering that he could not only understand, but also speak in human tongue, Joe Grey, a pet detective of the feline variety, finds himself at the right place at the right time to witness a murder….
2. Cat Spitting Mad: The Plot: The town’s head sheriff is accused of murdering two friends, and the only witness, a young girl, has disappeared. Rearing to clear the sheriff’s name, Joe Grey and pawed-partner and lady-friend Dulcie are regrettably in charge of a kitten whose inexperience is nothing but a liability in their sleuthing. Will the feline trio find the little girl and clear the officer’s name?
3. Cat Under Fire: The Plot: Joe’s girlfriend Dulcie also finds the powers to understand human speech, but what’s worse, she believes what she hears! Convinced of an incarcerated man’s innocence, she drags Joe into a dangerous adventure to clear his name….
4. Cat to the Dogs: The Plot: After a devastating earthquake, Molena Point’s very tranquil core had been shaken. One foggy night a car crashes, and Joe suspects foul play. He will work with Dulcie to get to the bottom of it, even if his human, Clyde tells him to stay out of it, as it’s a matter for the police. Do you think Joe listens to that? Would any cat?
5. Cat in the Dark: The Plot: A cat burglar named Azrael comes to Molena Point to mastermind a crime spree that will end in murder. Who better to outsmart the four-fingered feline than Joe Grey, pet detective? Dulcie and Joe work to expose the thief without letting anyone in on their extraordinary powers.
6. Cat to Raise the Dead: The Plot: Working undercover, reluctantly at first, Joe seeks to expose a thief at a local retirement home in Molena Point. With the encouragement of Dulcie, Joe finds himself paw deep in a devious plot replete with a doll kidnapper, severed finger and open grave.
7. Cat Laughing Last: The Plot: Joe Grey’s latest adventure brings him and Dulcie whisker to monitor, as the mystery involves an E-bay scheme, as well as a traditional yard sale swindle, culminating in murder. Will the cats stay two paws ahead of the perpetrators and foil their plot? We know who gets the last laugh in this one!
And for the younger set, here are a few pet-friendly picks for an afternoon in the sun!
1. Meggie, the Pups Summer Adventure, by Susan Jacobs
2. Sally’s Fun in the Sun, (a backpack journal), illustrated by Stephen Huneck
3. Sally goes to the Farm, by Stephen Huneck.