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One of the challenge points on the Better World Books 2017 Reading […]
Shirley Rousseau Murphy
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This speaking, sentient feline investigator reads the police log whenever he can sneak a look, paws open the captain's files, and eavesdrops in plain view of crook or killer, passing along to the cops what he's learned. When the detectives nail their quarry they haven't a clue to the identity of the unknown informant.
The original Joe came into my life as a homeless kitten with a broken tail who loudly demanded food and rescue; with these matters attended to, he grew into a bold, inventive tomcat in charge of a house full of dogs, cats and assorted other beasts. With his imposing presence and teasing wit, Joe was a character no writer could ignore: a sleuth-in-waiting, stepping right into my next work in progress. And now with the eighth book in the series, another four-footed friend has joined us. In "Cat Seeing Double," when Ryan Flannery, building contractor and prime murder suspect, is adopted by a handsome stray weimaraner, she is amused by the resemblance between the dog and Joe Grey.
"Rock" is three times as tall as Joe, and outweighs the cat by 50 pounds, but both have sleek silver coats and their bearing is powerful and athletic. Both dog and cat's yellow eyes are wise and intense. Both animals' takes are docked to short, jaunty appendages. The weimaraner of course is meant to have a shorttail -- he is a pointer and retriever. Joe Grey's tail, like his feline prototype, has been amputated above the break, giving him the appearance of a miniature-sized pointer in cat clothes -- a small hunter in drag. Even Joe Grey's tabby lady is entertained by the similarity.
""He's beautiful," Dulcie said. .".. the dog is a mirror image of you." Joe Grey looked again, with interest. He had to admit, this dog was unusually handsome.
My inspiration for the silver weimaraner was our own dog, Jake, who came to us as a beautiful stray. He would swim the length of the mile-long lake on which we lived, many times a day. He would run 15 miles through the Georgia woods and be ready to go again. Just like the fictional Rock, his sleek coat was full of buckshot from a too keen interest in the neighbors' chicken pens, before he came to us. In "Cat Seeing Double," the growing relationship between the sentient, speaking tomcat and the ordinary but bright hunting dog, presents some problems. As Joe and Dulcie eavesdrop on Ryan's phone conversation, they draw Rock's keenest interest.
"The phone call had waked Rock. Sniffing the scent of cat, he trotted across the studio to where Joe and Dulcie were hidden, and poked his nose under the daybed. "Get back," Joe hissed in the faintest voice. "Get back " The silver dog, having no experience with obedience commands from a cat, flashed him a look of disbelief and hastily backed away. "Sit," Joe breathed. Rock, his yellow eyes wide with amazement, sat down on the hand-woven rug. "Stay," Joe told Rock. "Stay " as Rock tried, from a sitting position to scoot closer to the daybed for a better look at the amazing talking cats.
Characters are likefamily; ending a book leaves one saddened. But then a new adventure in the series begins, old friends and new reach out, and the memories of those we have loved come close once more to make us smile.
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