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Cat Under Fire

Cover of Cat Under Fire

Cat Under Fire

Joe Grey Series, Book 2
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A big, powerful, gray feline, Joe Grey is perfectly content with his remarkable ability to understand and communicate with humans -- especially now that he has company. A mysterious accident similar to the one that enabled him to speak and read has transformed his friend Dulcie as well. The trouble is, the cute tabby female not only hears human words, she believes them.

Now she's convinced the man who was jailed for murdering a famous local artist and burning down her studio is innocent -- simply because he says so -- and she's willing to do whatever it takes to dig up the evidence that will exonerate the accused. Joe would much prefer just lazing around the house doing kitty things, but the lady cat is determined. And Joe must admit that he is curious ... though everyone knows what that can lead to!

A big, powerful, gray feline, Joe Grey is perfectly content with his remarkable ability to understand and communicate with humans -- especially now that he has company. A mysterious accident similar to the one that enabled him to speak and read has transformed his friend Dulcie as well. The trouble is, the cute tabby female not only hears human words, she believes them.

Now she's convinced the man who was jailed for murdering a famous local artist and burning down her studio is innocent -- simply because he says so -- and she's willing to do whatever it takes to dig up the evidence that will exonerate the accused. Joe would much prefer just lazing around the house doing kitty things, but the lady cat is determined. And Joe must admit that he is curious ... though everyone knows what that can lead to!

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    The night was cool, and above the village hills the stars hurled down their ancient light-borne messages. High up on the open slopes where the grass blew tall and rank, a small hunter crouched hidden, his ears and whiskers flat to his sleek head, his yellow eyes burning. Slowly he edged forward, intent on the mouse which had crept shivering from its deep and earthen burrow.

    He was a big cat, and powerful, his short gray coat sleek as velvet over his lean muscles; but he was not a pretty cat. The white, triangular marking down his nose made his eyes seem too close together, as if he viewed the world with a permanent frown. To observers he seemed always to be scowling.

    Yet there also shone in his golden eyes a spark of wit, and a sly smile curved his mouth, a hint that perhaps his interests might embrace more of the world than simply the palpitating mouse which awaited his toothy caress- a clue that this big gray tom saw the world differently, perhaps, than another cat might see it.

    Crouching low, he did his best to keep his white paws and white chest hidden, keep his white parts from shining out through the dark grassy jungle. He would have preferred to have been born solid gray in color- that would make hunting far easier- but one did not have a choice in these matters. And he did favor his neat white paws.

    The mouse moved again, a quarter inch, watching warily for any presence within the blowing shadows.

    Quivering, it stretched farther out from its shelter, its eyes gleaming black and quick as it strained to see any foreign movement. Its ears twitched, alert to any threatening sound upon the hushing wind, and constantly its body shivered with the habit of fear, every tiny muscle tensed for flight, ready to vanish again among the heavy roots.

    The cat's eyes didn't leave his prey; they blazed with hunger and lust for the kill, bright as yellow coals. He drew back his lips over gleaming incisors as he tested the mouse's musty smell, his pink tongue just visible tasting that irresistible aroma. His shoulders rippled in anticipation, and he licked his nose as if he was already licking warm and succulent mouse flesh. The small rodent was damnably slow about leaving its cover. Joe remained still with great effort.

    Below him down the grassy slopes the village of Molena Point slept snugly at this predawn hour, the cottages protected from the sea wind by the giant oaks among which they had been built, and by the surrounding hills into which the homes and shops were tucked like a tangle of kits snuggled against their mother. In the center of the village the courthouse tower rose tall against the dark sky, as pale and lonely as a tombstone. The Mediterranean building housed two courtrooms, various city offices, and, at the far end, the Molena Point Police Department. The ongoing murder trial which would resume this morning in the courtroom was, despite the tomcat's irritation about the matter, of great concern to him.

    For weeks the quiet village had talked of nothing else but Janet Jeannot's murder and of the fire in which she had died. There was heavy speculation about the young man who had been indicted for her death. Prurient excitement about these events had transformed Molena Point's usual calm ambience into an emotional bedlam. Gossip and conjecture seethed through the village shops and cafés so that Joe, prowling the village streets catching snatches of conversation, was aware of little else. Though his own interest did not stem so much from village gossip as it did from a far more personal concern.

    The mouse moved again, creeping farther from cover, half an inch, then an inch, bravely and foolishly leaving its grassy blind, drawing so close to Joe that...

About the Author-
  • In addition to her popular Joe Grey mystery series for adults, for which she has received eleven national Cat Writers' Association awards for best novel of the year, Shirley Rousseau Murphy is a noted children's book author who has received five Council of Authors and Journalists awards. Two of her children's books were written in collaboration with her husband, Pat.

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    HarperCollins
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Cat Under Fire
Cat Under Fire
Joe Grey Series, Book 2
Shirley Rousseau Murphy
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Joe Grey Series, Book 2
Shirley Rousseau Murphy
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