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Shirley Rousseau Murphy's
Joe Grey Cat Mysteries


Click on book cover to read an excerpt. (You can also see the original cover art on the excerpts page. The covers shown on this page are the current in-print editions.)



Cat Bearing Gifts cover

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Cat Bearing Gifts - #18
Morrow (a HarperCollins imprint), 2012
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-180694-3
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-180724-9
Large print: Harperluxe, 0-06-220140-9
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


A car crash, a missing treasure, a dead thief, and a suspicious blond divorcee have feline P.I. Joe Grey and his four-legged cohorts clawing for justice in this lively entry in the beloved, award-winning mystery series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. As in Molena Point Joe Grey and his tabby lady Dulcie stumble on a murder almost before it occurs, yellow tomcat Misto has visions of a life long past and their other feline friends Kit and Pan are suddenly at odds over a mysterious dream. Past and present collide in a tangle with present-day murders that draws in their human friends and ends with promises of amazing journeys yet to come.

"Talking cat fans will welcome Murphy’s exciting 18th mystery [Cat Bearing Gifts] featuring feline Joe Grey, in which Joe’s tortoiseshell friend, Kit, plays a lead role. . . . Anyone unfamiliar with this cozy series will be quickly drawn in by the complete believability of Murphy’s crime-solving felines and their helpful human companions." --Publisher's Weekly, October 1, 2012.

"Despite their gift of gab, Murphy's sleuths continue to be decidedly feline in her 18th saga of Molena Point." --Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2012.

"A captivating mystery that encapsulates the bond between cats and owner, just as many of us share with our own." --Judge's comment on choosing Cat Bearing Gifts for the 2013 World's Best Cat Litter-ary Award.

Cat Telling Tales cover

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Cat Telling Tales - #17
Morrow (a HarperCollins imprint), 2011
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-180692-7
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-180723-0
Large print: Harperluxe, 0-06-208869-6
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2012 Muse Medallion


Mystery fans and cat lovers alike rejoice. The infallible feline sleuthing team of Joe Grey, Dulcie, and Kit return in Cat Telling Tales--author Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s seventeenth ingenious whodunit that once again gives readers a cat’s eye view of crime, murder, and mayhem.

Already honored with nine Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallions for her series, Murphy takes us back to Molina Point, California in Cat Telling Tales, as a suspicious fire, a tragic death, and a rash of unanticipated houseguests, both human and feline, inflame the investigative curiosity of our furry detective trio.

"If you've followed the adventures of Joe Grey and Dulcie through the years, you certainly won't want to miss this latest adventure. On the other hand, if you have never read any of these novels, isn't it about time you tried one?" --Bob Walch, Salinas Californian, January 13, 2012.

"A must-read for Murphy’s devoted audience and a good choice for those who enjoy Rita Mae Brown’s Sneaky Pie Brown novels." --Booklist

"The story line focuses on the clever mystery but also provides a deep spotlight on the impact on animals and people when families leave behind pets as they are forced from their homes. The former makes for an enjoyable feline detective thriller; while the latter affirms why Shirley Rousseau Murphy has won Cat Writers Association Awards." --Harriet Klausner, Future Mystery Anthology Magazine, January 2012.

"Shirley Rousseau Murphy writes a magical story that is precious and full of every emotion. . . . Many of us read mysteries because they make the world right in the end, or at least better. And that is exactly what Mrs. Murphy has done." --Sandie Herron, Lesa's Book Critiques, January 14, 2012.

"Although Cat Telling Tales is a great book on its own, reading all of the way through the series is extremely satisfying: watching the different feline police informants help solve the mysteries and seeing the relationships of the ever-expanding circle of people who know the cats' secrets is delightful and rewarding." --Vicky Gilpin, --Fresh Fiction, January 16, 2012.

As everyone knows (or, should by now) these amazingly fun, entertaining characters have been the plot of sixteen novels thus far. . . . This installment is truly heartwarming. . . . A perfect little mystery. Joe Grey is the ultimate hero, and the message of love behind this tale is one that everyone should learn. --Feathered Quill, November 2011.

Cat Coming Home cover

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Cat Coming Home - #16
Morrow (a HarperCollins imprint), 2010
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-180693-5
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-180695-1
Large print: Harperluxe, 0-06-200226-0
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2011 Muse Medallion


Cats can't come home again . . . or can they?

Escaping Los Angeles and the ugly memories of her son's recent murder, Maudie Toola returns to her childhood home of Molena Point, bringing her orphaned grandson, whom she must now raise, with her. Mourning for her son, she's not looking forward to the holidays but knows she must make them positive for the child.

Maudie is unaware that the killer has followed her, nor does she know that the small seaside village is dealing with a series of brutal assaults. A team of criminals is stalking single women, hiding their attacks behind spectacular break-ins to divert the cops. And this time there's not even a phone call from the four-footed snitch to give the cops a lead.

Meanwhile, a new tomcat appears on the scene, a wise and elderly wanderer who bears an important message from a state prisoner for the chief of police. But this cat has a personal agenda too—as does Maudie, who harbors her own secret about her son's killer. As the lonely prison cat provides the link between the mysteries, Joe Grey and his pals, in turn, help him find a surprising new home, a safe retreat in time for the holidays.

With a story both enchanting and suspenseful, Shirley Rousseau Murphy shows once again why her trio of feline sleuths are so beloved by her fans, and why the Joe Grey mysteries should be at the top of every cat lover's Christmas list.

"The 16th Joe Grey book is sure to please veteran fans of the series. All the favorites are back -- Joe, Dulcie, and Kit -- and the heartwarming stories of an orphaned child and a stray cat at Christmas will tug on more than a few heartstrings." --Romantic Times, November 2010

"Deeply moving. . . . Yuletide cheer appear in the enchanting form of Misto, a wise old yellow tomcat who returns from a long sojourn in Soledad Prison, Calif., where he's thrilled to connect with cat sleuths Joe Grey, Dulcie, and Kit. . . . [A] marvelous gift of a holiday tale. --Publishers Weekly, October 18, 2010

"Because Murphy succeeds in weaving the holiday elements into her mystery plot seemlessly, this novel is every bit as strong as the other entries in the series--a rarity for so many holiday mysteries. A heartwarming and satisfying tale that shows, yet again, why the Joe Grey novels have won the Book of the Year award from the Cat Writers Association eight times." --Booklist, November 1, 2010

"This is delightful entertainment. It would be a true cat-astrophe if you let it pass you by." --Todd David Schwartz, CBS Radio

"Now at 16 titles, this series, featuring sentient cats with plenty of attitude, has been a hit with a broad audience including, of course, confirmed cat lovers who see traits of their own pets in the main feline characters. . . . [Cat Coming Home] keeps you reading even if you would rather turn out the lights and go to bed." --Bob Walch, Night Owl Reviews, November 10, 2010.

"Even though this is the sixteenth in the series, none of the charm has been lost with longevity, rather it has been enhanced as we watch how the people and cats interact and grow. . . . Absolutely deserves to be on everyone’s 'TBR' piles this fall." --Sandie Herron, ILoveAMysteryNewsletter.com, October 2010

Cat Striking Back cover

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Cat Striking Back - #15
Morrow (a HarperCollins imprint), 2009
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-112397-8
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-112400-1
Large Print: Harperluxe, 0-06-188506-1
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2010 Muse Medallion


When Joe stumbles on a victimless murder scene in an empty swimming pool and enlists Dulcie and Kit to search for clues, the celebrated felines quickly realize that the criminal is still in the neighborhood. Several houses bear signs of break-ins, but nothing appears to be .~ missing. Curious, the furry detectives break and enter, themselves, searching for evidence that even a cop might miss.

A murder without a body -- burglaries without anything stolen -- nudge the cats’ growing concern for the safety of their human friends. The mystery increases when a feral cat joins the three, throwing everything they’ve learned into confusion and, in a frightening attack, forcing the cats themselves to confront the sick-minded killer.

"Magical." --Publisher's Weekly, September 14, 2009

"I love it when Joe Grey is able to hang out at the police station and read computer screens, and overhear conversations. . . . You will love the characters -- the cats in the story are incredible and immensely lovable. A purr-fect mystery." --Armchair Interviews.com, September 21, 2009.

"Murphy's . . . premise, a mystery that withholds the identities of both the victim and the perp, is intriguing." --Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2009

Cat Playing Cupid cover

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Cat Playing Cupid - #14
Morrow (a HarperCollins imprint), 2009
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-112399-4
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-112398-6
Large print: Center Point, 160285419X
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2009 Muse Medallion


It took Joe Grey's human, Clyde, nearly forever to pop the question to Ryan Flannery, and what more romantic a time to tie the knot than Valentine's Day? But who wants to ruin the wedding, which is attended by half the police department, by reporting a newly unearthed corpse? Not Joe and his feline pals. Secretly the cats set out to identify the body.

But is this murder connected to a 10-year-old cold case in which the bride's father is romantically entangled with the possible killer?

Romance, in fact, occupies several of the cats' closest human friends as Joe, Dulcie and Kit try to sort out the two crimes. And try, as well, to understand the role of a rare literary volume that seems connected to the killings, and that gives away the cats' own secret, their ability to speak.

"Murphy's gentle blend of fantasy and mystery includes revelations about her unusually verbal cat detectives sure to please series fans." --Publisher's Weekly, December 1, 2008.

"This is still a quality mystery, with excellent pacing, ratcheting tension, consistent characters, and suitably nasty villians. . . . A must wherever the series has fans." --Booklist

"The three talking cats are adorable even grumpy acerbic Joe Grey while fans of the series learn more about their backgrounds. Shirley Rousseau Murphy has written a purrfectly delightful anthropomorphism feline whodunit." --Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round Reviews, November 26, 2008

Cat Playing Cupid cover

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Cat Deck the Halls - #13
Morrow (a HarperCollins imprint), 2007
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-112395-1
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-112396-X
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


The cats who saved Christmas . . .

The charming seaside village of Molena Point, California, leads one to expect a quiet traditional Christmas surrounded by family and friends -- but not this holiday season. Instead of singing carols and climbing into Christmas trees, Joe Grey, feline P.I., is faced with his most difficult case yet -- and that's saying a lot for a wily tomcat who for years has been solving crimes the police can't even crack.

At midnight in the deserted gardens of the shopping plaza, a stranger lies dead beneath the village Christmas tree; the only witness to the shooting is a little child. But when the police arrive, summoned by an anonymous phone call of feline origin, both the body and the child have disappeared. As police scramble for leads, the grey tomcat, his tabby lady, and their tortoiseshell pal, Kit, launch their own unique investigation.

Together Joe Grey, Dulcie, and Kit face their most heartbreaking case yet as they care for the child who may be the killer's next target. Trying to sort out perplexing clues amidst the happiness of the season, they shadow a cast of colorful characters. But neither the police nor their unknown feline assistants are aware that they might have stumbled over the murderer and never known it, until an electrifying final scene when the killer's identity is revealed.

For years Shirley Rousseau Murphy has written tales that have delighted readers and critics alike. With her lyrical prose and fast-paced plotting, Murphy has created another delightfully absorbing trip to a magical place populated by unforgettable characters whom readers have come to think of as friends.

"Murphy's fans will be happy to curl up under a blanket as they savor the finely crafted suspense set against the backdrop of hoidays feasts and festivities and the crashing waves of the Pacific." --Publisher's Weekly, October 1, 2007

"The whodunit is cleverly designed to keep the audience, the cops and the cats off balance until the final paw step." --Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round Reviews, October 16, 2007

Cat Pay the Devil cover

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Cat Pay the Devil - #12
Morrow (a HarperCollins imprint), 2007
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-057810-6
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-057813-0
Large print: Center Point, 1-60-285567-6
Audio: Sound Library, ISBN 978-0-79274-619-5
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Nestled quietly on the Pacific Coast below San Francisco, Molena Point is a quaint hamlet--not the kind of place an escaped convict would choose for a hideout. But it just happens to be the home of a state's witness who put a thief named Cage Jones behind bars--until he broke out, that is.

Wily tomcat Joe Grey senses trouble is on the way, but he never expected a federal officer would be shot or that two locals would be brutally murdered. With danger closing in, the feline detective, his girlfriend Dulcie, and their tattercoat friend Kit--an indomitable trio with special powers that only a few select humans are privy to--must put paws and whiskers together to capture a very nasty criminal before he strikes again.

"Murphy's surefire plotting makes this more than just another cute cat cozy." --Publisher's Weekly, December 29, 2006

"Murphy makes it easy to believe in cats that talk, think, and read better than many humans and solve mysteries as well.... These felines have more abilities than the animals in Rita Mae Brown's novels and are certainly more intelligent than those helping out in the Lilian Jackson Braun stories." --Library Journal, November 1, 2006

"As usual, the felines and their human coterie are appealing ... and the virtually nonstop action will keep the series' fans whipping through the pages." --Booklist

"Whether you are a feline fancier or not, you'll find Cat Pay the Devil an irreistible mix of riveting action and purr-fectly marvelous two- and four-footed characters. Murphy has captured the essence of cat attitude so well you won't doubt this is what goes on in their little, furry heads." --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald, March 25, 2007

"Even if you don't own a cat, you'll enjoy this series set on the [California] Central Coast. On the other hand, if you share your house with a cat or two, the feline attitudes Murphy's characters display will be something you can easily relate to. Five silver pens out of five for Cat Pay the Devil. --Salinas Californian, April 7, 2007

"Molena Point, Calif., is going to the cats! Literally. In this delightful installment of the Joe Grey mysteries, Murphy again intertwines felines and humans into a great crime-solving combination. Tight plotting and well-crafted scenes enhance the tension as the stakes continue to rise with each chapter. Feline lovers will especially enjoy the crime-solving cats and the relationships of their human counterparts." --Sanda Martin, Romantic Times Book Reviews, March 2007

"A keeper! For fans of cat mysteries, this tale is one you will enjoy and keep to enjoy again and again. . . . Talented author Shirley Rousseau Murphy opens a new door to the cat mystery that you will willingly step through to follow adventuresome cats and great human characters through the maze of crime solving with its attendant motives and emotions." --Anne K. Edwards, NewMysteryReader.com, February 2007

Cat Breaking Free cover

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Cat Breaking Free - #11
HarperCollins, 2005
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-057809-2
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-057812-2
Large Print: Thorndike, ISBN 0-7862-8466-8
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


The award-winning author pits Joe Grey, feline P.I., and his friends Dulcie and Kit against a ruthless gang of thieves and murderers in a case like none they’ve seen before.

The fur starts flying when a gang from L.A. comes up to tranquil Molena Point, California, and begins breaking into the village’s quaint shops. The fur of Joe Grey, feline P.I., that is. After all, Molena Point has been his home since he was a kitten eating scraps from the garbage behind the local delicatessen, and he doesn’t take well to marauding strangers. Joe even wonders whether the blonde who’s moved in next to his human companion Clyde could be a part of the gang--she’s been acting pretty suspicious lately. But when the strangers start trapping and caging feral cats it proves too much for the intrepid four-footed detective. And when one of the gang is murdered, and a second mysterious death comes to light, he has no choice but to try and stop the crimes. Joe, Dulcie, and their tattercoat friend Kit, who used to be a stray herself, are deep into the investigation when they are able to release the three trapped cats. But as Kit leads them away to freedom, will she herself return to that wild life?

"... winning blend of suspense and whimsy ... A complex, well-crafted plot and lively, credible characters will leave fans purring with pleasure." --Publisher's Weekly, October 3, 2005

"As usual, the three cats are true to both their feline and sentient natures. This eleventh entry in the Joe Grey Mystery series ... continues to enhance characterizations, both feline and human, all the while providing an intriguing whodunit for series fans." --Sally Estes, Booklist

"... clever felines and their well-drawn human pals." --Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005

"Cat lovers as well as the general public can't get enough of these intrepid feline detectives. Once you've made the acquaintance of Joe, Dulcie and the Kit, you'll look at your own cat differently. Perhaps there's more going on behind those big eyes and beguiling features than you realized." --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald, November 27, 2005

"With an uncanny understanding of a cat's behavior and personality quirks, Murphy has created a series of suspense yarns that not only capture the feline "attitude" but offer a satisfying read. Cat lovers, you'll be nodding your head in agreement as you follow the adventures of this threesome!" --Silas Spaeth, Salinas Californian, December 24, 2005

"The latest Joe Grey mystery is just as exciting as the other books in this purrfect series. The sentient and talkative felines are so realistically portrayed that readers will forget that such cats only exist between the pages of a book. Cat lovers, fans of the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown and anyone who likes a charming and intricately plotted who-done-it will definitely want to read Cat Breaking Free." --Harriet Klausner, Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, December 2005

Cat Cross Their Graves cover

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Cat Cross Their Graves - #10
HarperCollins, 2005
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-057808-4
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-057811-4
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2005 Muse Medallion

When '40s film star Patty Rose retired to the seaside village of Molena Point, California, she didn't expect to face a killer. The night Patty is brutally murdered, only a tortoiseshell cat named Kit hears the three shots fired.

Finding Patty dead, Kit sets out to track the shooter. The police arrive and so do tomcat sleuth Joe Grey and his tabby friend Dulcie. Unable to find Kit, the two cats set off on her trail. When the graves of several vanished children are discovered nearby, it seems the trouble is greater than any of the cats ever imagined.

"Fans of the series will welcome this new episode, which maintains the expected suspense and investigative skills of the cats." --Booklist, December 15, 2004

"... a purr-fectly delightful beginning for the new year." --Barnes & Noble newsletter Ransom Notes

"[Not] your typical light cat cozy.... Murphy handles such sensitive issues as child endangerment and death well.... Fans will welcome back all their old friends, both feline and human." --Publisher's Weekly, January 7, 2005

"The somber plot is leavened by the author's affection for her characters and their rewarding small-town lives." --Kirkus Reviews

"Even those who are not fans of fantasy will be drawn into [Murphy's] stories.... Multilevel and always intriguing." --Carmel Pine Cone, December 24, 2004

"There's a special kind of magic in a Joe Grey mystery even when he steps out of the limelight to allow his female felines to shine. The trio are so believably portrayed readers will actually accept these intelligent cats exist somewhere in California." --Harriet Klausner, www.thebestreviews.com

"A very satisfying story of good and evil.... Some interesting questions about after-life.... I liked this book best in the series." --Mysterious Women, Issue 4, 2004

"A string of recent awards for her Joe Grey novels have made Murphy a dominant presence in the mystery field. Along with Rita Mae Brown and Lillian Jackson Braun, the Carmel resident has popularized feline sleuthing with readers all over the country." --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald, January 2005

"[I] soon became captivated by a delightful child who is one of the pivotal characters in the book. Lori's tenacity and self-sufficiency won my heart.... [A] very interesting story full of delightful characters, and a mystery that goes back many years. The cats lead the reader on a suspenseful chase through the town and across the rooftops as they follow clues and try to watch out for each other and their important people. If you are already a fan of this series, this addition will definitely please you." --Gayle Wedgwood, Mystery News, April/May 2005

"Murphy writes interesting, complicated mysteries and lets cats be cats, even when they're smarter than most people. If you're allergic to cats and cat mysteries, let this be the series you read." --Anna Ashwood Collins, Glynco Observer and Jekyll's Golden Islander, April 7, 2005

"Having spent several brisk and stormy January days in Carmel-by-the-Sea I was transported in Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s latest Joe Grey mystery, Cat Cross Their Graves. Not your average cozy cat mystery, this compelling series has just a touch of the tough and the supernatural--cats talking to humans. . . [C]raftily woven . . . Enjoyable and real." --Mystery Lovers Bookshop News, October/November, 2005

Cat Fear No Evil cover

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Cat Fear No Evil - #9
HarperCollins, 2004
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-620949-8
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-101560-1
Large Print: Thorndike, ISBN 0-7862-6621-X
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


When antiques and jewelry begin to disappear from residents' homes and when a waiter drops dead at the feet of artist Charlie Harper during the opening of her solo show, Joe Grey, Feline Detective, and his tabby pal Dulcie know something is very wrong in sleepy Molena Point, California.

Just north in San Francisco the cats' friend Kate--a woman with a troubling secret--is followed and robbed, her apartment invaded by a renegade tomcat named Azrael. Stealthily Joe and Dulcie pursue the several trails until they claw out the truth.

"...superior cat cozy, the ninth entry in Murphy's popular series... As usual, the relationships between the lively human characters and the talking cats in whom they confide their problems provide as much interest as the crime solving. The intricate and absorbing plot keeps the reader in suspense throughout." --Publisher's Weekly, February 2, 2004 (starred review)

"Azrael, the sinister black tomcat with burning yellow eyes introduced in Cat in the Dark (1999), has returned to Molena Point, California, to embark on another crime spree with human cohorts.... Once again the delightful mix of humans, sentient cats, mystery, and humor remains true to the preceding books in the series." --Booklist, January 14, 2004

"Murphy's sentient felines are believable. These are not cute, purr-fect little cuddly kitties. Joe has plenty of attitude and although Dulcie can handle the often sardonic critter, he can be (just like a real cat) a handful at times." --Robert Walch, Carmel Magazine, Summer/Fall 2004

"The author has captured all the nuances in feline attitude that cat owners will instantly recognize. If you have followed the Joe Grey series, you won't want to miss this one. If you've never read one, maybe it's about time you did! ... [A] whodunit with a very unusual and beguiling sleuth ... Murphy obviously knows the ins and outs of kitty psychology." --Salinas Californian, March 6, 2004

"...highly unusual and beautifully written ... well-plotted ... and as usual it's fast-paced and intriguing.... Despite the fantasy angle in the Joe Grey series, these are adult books dealing with adult themes." --Margot Nichols, Carmel Pine Cone, March 12, 2004

"Lovable feline sleuths, Joe Grey, Dulcie and the kit, take to the investigative trail once again.... Murphy's sentient cats have attracted a lot of attention and a large following of appreciative readers." --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald

Cat Seeing Double cover

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Cat Seeing Double - #8
HarperCollins, 2003
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-620950-1
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-101561-X
Large Print: Thorndike, ISBN 0-7862-5436-X
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2003 Muse Medallion


Always a loner, Charlie Getz never expected to fall in love with anyone, let alone Molena Point, California's chief of police. So her wedding on a perfect, sunny day is all the more joyous, especially when two of the honored guests are her four-footed pals, feline detectives Joe Grey and Dulcie.

But there are two unexpected visitors, as well. A young boy and an old man hidden in the shadows prepare to bomb the soon-to-be-filled church. The lone witness, a small, tattercoat kit crouched beneath the oak branches, warns Joe's owner Clyde, then with claws and teeth she stops the would-be murderers. The shock of the near disaster that might have killed half the village is only the beginning. The next morning Charlie's good friend, building contractor Ryan Flannery, awakes to find her estranged, philandering husband dead in her garage; and Ryan's gun is missing.

With suspicion falling squarely on Ryan's shoulders, Joe Grey, Dulcie and Kit use their unique feline skills at break-and-enter to prove Ryan's innocence. Prowling her apartment they watch a stranger tamper with her business account books. His sinister push into her life is as unexpected as the arrival, on the morning of the murder, of a handsome purebred hunting dog, a homeless stray who seems determined to move in with Ryan.

Whatever hateful force has descended on the small seaside village, the three cats are soon paw-deep in a tangle of jealousy, greed, and carefully planned retribution. They work the case as only cats can, passing information anonymously to the cops, making a heroic feline effort to nail the killer and catch the wedding bomber, and hoping to see the silver hunting dog settle safely into his new home.

"Murphy has a huge fan base and has won awards for good reason... Great sleuthing with a feline touch." --Cat Fancy

"Murphy's unconventional 'take' on the idea of undercover investigation has delighted cat lovers for years.... Anyone who owns a cat will appreciate the little nuances Murphy has worked into her felines' personalities. She knows from first-hand experience that 'attitude' and 'cat' go together just like 'tooth and claw.'" --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald, January 19, 2003

"Anyone familiar with Murphy's very fine writing also knows the author has no truck with throw-away plots. Hers are intricately conceived stories tinged with a dark side. Her criminals and miscreants are imbued with evil, her protagonists smart and loyal, dedicated to friends and family, caught up not only in the mystery at hand, but with their own frailities, as well. This applies to the three cats, too, but we have the fun of following how their special capabilities for investigating suspects is broadened beyond those of their humans..." --Margot Nichols, Carmel Pine Cone, April 18, 2003

"It's easy to suspend disbelief and accept the sharp-thinking, fast-acting cats as the natural sleuths they are.... Both the animals and humans are well-drawn sympathetic characters and the plotting is tight and fast-moving. Fans of Shirley Rousseau Murphy and newcomers alike will purr over this newest addition to the Joe Grey corpus."
--Michele A. Reed, www.iloveamystery.com

"Shirley Rousseau Murphy has an exceptional way of sharing information and telling a story. The pace never stalls; it proceeds at a very comfortable speed, but it is certainly full of surprises." --Sandie Herron, www.ILoveAMysteryNewsletter.com

Cat Laughing Last cover

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Cat Laughing Last - #7
HarperCollins, 2002
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-620951-X
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-101562-8
Large Print: Beeler, ISBN 1-57490-438-8
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2002 Muse Medallion

Violence and theft at a yard sale? Murder because of an eBay auction? The body on Susan's Brittain's breakfast room floor first thing in the morning, and all her treasured purchases flung about and broken are not a good start to Susan's day. But the criminal involvement is far wider than she imagines, and will disrupt many more lives than hers. Joe Grey and Dulcie suspect as much. The two cats, with their unique ability to break-and-enter where the cops can't go, begin to gather evidence.

Meanwhile the cats' human friends deal with a famous author and his ill-tempered wife as they try to produce his play without coming to blows. And several senior ladies seek an innovative solution to retirement security, using their revenue from eBay and yard sales. But Joe Grey and Dulcie, digging into California history, discover that certain artifacts appearing at those same sales hold the key to the puzzle. The crudely carved antique casks, legacy of a Spanish bride two-hundred years dead, are the link the cats have searched for.

Yet it is the tortoiseshell kit, fascinated by the delights of theater production, who nearly gives away the cats' greatest secret. Kit, with her own surprising venture, almost alerts the entire village that these cats can speak and are more perceptive, sharper of wit than most humans could ever imagine.

"...the series premise remains delicious, executed with wry pungency and affection for life's small pleasures." --Kirkus Reviews

"...As always, Murphy successfully, walks the fine line between maintaining the cathood of her felines and endowing them with sentiency." --Booklist, January 1, 2002

"Fun fare for cat fans." --Library Journal, January 2002

"...the book's charm lies in the clever cats and the people they care about. This is a must read for those who enjoy the feline side of sleuthing." --Romantic Times, January 2002

"Shirley Rousseau Murphy has not only captured the essence of feline behavior in Joe Grey and Dulcie, she has also given them believable personalities that are completely in keeping with an 'attitude' that any cat owner will immediately recognize." --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald, February 10, 2002

Cat Spitting Mad cover

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Cat Spitting Mad - #6
HarperCollins, 2001
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-105098-9
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-105989-7
Large print: Wheeler, 1-58-724158-7
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
2001 Muse Medallion

"I am a cat, Dulcie. A free spirit. A four-legged unencumbered citizen. I don't need to answer to any human." Joe Grey is mad enough to spit! No matter what Clyde, his irritating human "owner," says, he's not keeping his paws off this case, not when Max Harper's life and the future of law enforcement in the town of Molena Point are at stake. While Joe has certainly delighted in playing countless smug tricks on Max Harper, Molena Point's head lawman, he's never had anything but respect for the dedicated cop. Now Harper is in trouble. Big trouble. Two of his horseback riding companions have been viciously murdered on the trail, and Dillon, the spunky young girl who accompanied them, is missing. All the evidence points to Harper, and he doesn't have a single witness--at least not a human one!--to vouch for his alibi. Joe knows Harper is innocent and is hissing to prove it--and to rescue his young friend Dillon before it is too late. He and Dulcie must keep their night-eyes sharp and their soft paws moving to avoid both a vicious killer and a hungry cougar prowling around the town's hills.

"Cat lovers will cuddle right up to Joe and his pals, but the story has plenty of murder and mayhem for those who take their detective fiction straight up." --Publisher's Weekly, December 11, 2000

"The sixth mystery featuring sentient, talking felines Joe Grey and Dulcie, now abetted in their investigations by the tortoise-shell kitten introduced in Cat to the Dogs, will have their fans wanting to down the sometimes scary, madcap tale in one gulp. Yet again, murder shocks the small town of Molena Point, California, but what gets Joe spitting mad is the fact that some lowlife has done a masterful job of framing Chief of Police Max Harper. Although Joe delights in his ability to disquiet the chief with anonymous phone tips, the crusty cat has a deep respect for Max. Add to the mix the 13-year-old girl who witnessed the murders and then disappeared, a puma roaming the wooded hills outside of town, and an escaped con who kills cats and hates Max, and the pace never falters. The felines work around the humans to solve the case, and, as usual, the cat-human interactions and repartee enhance the plot." --Booklist, December 1, 2000

"I'd bet a pound of catnip that this detective series starring Joe Grey and Dulcie, two feline private investigators who take solving murder cases into their own paws, is penned by a cat. And Cat Spitting Mad, [Murphy's] latest novel, only makes me marvel more at this magical series.... If you've enjoyed Murphy's previous Joe Grey books or are enthralled by her monthly serial mystery in Cats, Cat Spitting Mad will be a treat--and further confirmation that Murphy is in a class by herself." --Cats Magazine, June 2001

Cat to the Dogs cover

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Cat to the Dogs - #5
HarperCollins, 2000
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-105097-0
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-105988-9
Large Print: Beeler, ISBN 1-57490-264-4
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Ever since the earthquake, things have been going from bad to worse in Molena Point. There was the car "accident" on Hellhag Hill, which looked--well--fishy, to Joe's night-wise eyes. And now even Dulcie is getting weird. She's going to the dogs, literally. She's taken to mothering the two orphaned pups discovered at the scene of the crash. Worst of all, there's Clyde, Joe's erratic but lovable human. He thinks cats should stay out of police work and he's locking Joe and Dulcie out of the house when Officer Harper comes over to play poker. But Joe is not about to give up the chase. Mice are nice, but what cat can resist the chance to stalk a real killer?

"Clever plotting and lyrical prose offer top entertainment." --Kirkus Reviews

"Murphy's a master of fantasy, and her remarkable writing skills carry us willingly into suspension of reality.... I've become addicted to reading Murphy's Joe Grey mysteries.... She writes with a great facility for description, using English with a refinement of phrasing and cadence much appreciated by the careful reader." --Margot Petit Nichols, Carmel Pine Cone, December 17, 1999

"...Murphy's two irresistible feline sleuths are at it again in their latest caper.... Cat to the Dogs blends feline 'attitude' with a captivating story line to create a readable and highly enjoyable mystery.... If a cat is part of your life, but you haven't discovered Joe Grey and Dulcie yet, it's time you did." --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald, February 13, 2000

"...Fast-paced, intricate and well-researched, Cat to the Dogs glows with Murphy's obvious love for all animals, her sense of outrage at crime and criminals, and her quick, analytical approach to forensic details. Funny, tender and loving at times, Cat to the Dogs is still a murder mystery--so Murphy doesn't shy away from graphic crime scene descriptions. Sure to delight cat lovers and detective mystery fans alike, with a dash of fantasy thrown in for good measure!" --Ann Sharkey, Library Cat Newsletter, Spring 2000

"The plotting is tight, the characters delightful and the cats are utterly believable.... Cat to the Dogs ... held my interest page after page until its exciting conclusion. Highly recommended." --Michele A. Reed, I Love a Mystery

"...In a beautifully believable scenario, Murphy has given us a reason to accept Joe Grey and Dulcie as cats who can talk, read, dial telephones... [The other books are] all as enchanting.... I spent days totally captured and oblivious to whatever went on around me ... this woman is simply an excellent writer... I am coming to believe that ... these books are really written by a cat... It seems impossible that a human being could write so knowingly and charmingly about the feline persuasion. --Lois Mark Stalvey, Red Rock News, Sedona, Arizona, October 20, 2000

Cat in the Dark cover

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Cat in the Dark - #4
HarperPrism, 1999
Hardcover: ISBN 0-06-105096-2
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-105947-1
Audiobook: AudioGo, download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
1999 Muse Medallion

The precious peace of sleepy little Molena Point is threatened as never before. There's a new cat in town: Azrael, a renegade tom with a penchant for voodoo, a scorn for his fellow felines, and a nasty hatred of humans. He calls himself the death angel, and claims he can predict murder. But does Azrael predict murder, or attract it? And how can Joe and Dulcie expose his criminal ways without letting untrustworthy humans in on the secret that certain select cats can think and talk?

"The intrepid investigative duo ... have already acquired a legion of loyal readers... Joe and Dulcie are not the only feline detectives currently in the literary marketplace, but they are certainly the most interesting. These are not cute, little, furry kitties but rather two shrewd investigators with somewhat caustic personalities, which seem to mirror perfectly the independence and occasional arrogance of real cats... Cat owners will appreciate some of the subtle nuances of behavior Murphy instills in her hero and heroine, but even those who don't share their lodgings with the feline set will still enjoy this well-written whodunit. There are also a few delicious surprises in store for the reader as the story races toward a conclusion that should catch even the most seasoned mystery fan off guard." --Bob Walch, Monterey County Herald, February 28, 1999

"What makes this series so delightful for both cat lovers and readers of offbeat fantasies is that Murphy's convincing anthropomorphism allows the cats to maintain their feline natures while still adopting human speech and cognition." --Booklist, December 15, 1998

"Readers will find this premise ... stimulating and charming.... A special treat ... for cat mystery fanciers." --Library Journal, December 1998

"[Murphy] writes a fast-paced tale, and she has a way with her cat scenes." --Publisher's Weekly, November 16, 1998

"[Dulcie and Joe Grey have] powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary literary cats ... the forces of evil arrayed against them are formidable.... Murphy's raised the stakes of the feline sleuth genre." --Kirkus Reviews

"Murphy ... has the feline touch. Cat in the Dark briskly moves forward and the cats are brilliantly different and nicely developed characters, who are totally unlike their sleuthing peers." --Harriet Klausner, Book Browser

"Murphy explores the foibles of the cat and human worlds without descending into the cutesy stuff of other cat writers. Even a cat hater wouldn't mind hanging out with Joe and Dulcie." --Anna AShwood Collins, Glynco Observer and Jekyll's Golden Islander, January 7, 1999

"Murphy's cats are ... rough-edged creatures with a decided attitude ... the stories [are] ingeniously mesmerizing." --Robert Walch, Mostly Murder

"As in all the Joe Grey stories, Murphy's love for animals, and her intimate knowledge of their unique qualities and personality quirks, shines clearly throughout Cat in the Dark. Murphy doesn't pull any punches when it comes to grisly crime description, and she skillfully builds the tension so you don't want to put the book down!" --Library Cat Newsletter, Spring 1999

Cat Raise the Dead cover

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Cat Raise the Dead - #3
HarperPrism, 1997
(No hardcover edition)
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-105602-2
Audiobook: AudioGo, download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's 1998
Muse Medallion and President's Best-of-the-Best Awards!

Animal therapy for the elderly is becoming popular; many groups bring their dogs and cats for such visits to nursing homes. But when Joe Grey and Dulcie take on this helpful work they discover multiple grisly murders. Setting out to track the killer, they are soon in the midst of a dark dimension to the business of caring for our old folks.

"Murphy's keen wit and intense love for all animals makes this third novel in her series the best yet. Murphy's style works because she's not afraid to face the seamy, clinical side of detection and forensics, yet there's no manipulation of the reader's feelings just for effect.... If you haven't read Cat on the Edge or Cat Under Fire, you're in for a special treat! Funny, intelligent, fast-paced and sensitive--that's Shirley Rousseau Murphy's "Joe Grey" detective series!" --Library Cat Newsletter, Summer 1997.

Cat Under Fire cover

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Cat Under Fire - #2
HarperPrism, 1997
(No hardcover edition)
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-105601-4
Large Print: Beeler, ISBN 1-57490-341-1
Audiobook: AudioGo, Download and CD available


Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's
1997 Muse Medallion


The death by arson of a famous artist brings the two cats, Joe Grey and Dulcie, into an investigation which ends with release of a man wrongly accused--the cats providing evidence that the police missed, that only a cat could have found.

"Clever dialogue, fast-paced action, humor, and interactions between cats and humans.... Good fun for cat lovers and fans of offbeat fantasy." --Booklist, March 15, 1997

"Murphy displays the same sense of magical whimsey and deft writing that made the first book of this series, Cat on the Edge, such a welcomed addition to the plethora of fictional kitty crimebusters.... Whether you begin with this new book or pick up Cat on the Edge, you won't be disappointed." --Cats Magazine, September 1997

Cat on the Edge cover

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Cat on the Edge - #1
HarperPrism, 1996
(No hardcover edition)
Paperback: Avon, ISBN 0-06-105600-6
Audiobook: AudioGo, download and CD available


Joe Grey is the only witness to a murder. But, escaping the killer, Joe becomes the hunted. He's alone and he's one scared tomcat--until he meets green-eyed Dulcie, a charmer with talents to match his own.

"If you're looking for a fast-paced mystery that's all about cats, with a generous dollop of pure fantasy thrown in, Cat on the Edge is for you.... Murphy combines her obvious intense love for cats with an ability to write a real page-turner of a mystery story--and she has a great sense of humor. All her feline and human characters are well- crafted, and as the plot unfolds, you're kept guessing who-dun-it right to the end.... I'll give Cat on the Edge two thumbs (or paws) way up!" --Library Cat Newsletter, Autumn 1996

"Murphy provides intriguing possibilities and tantalizing glimpses into the mysterious world of cats.... This mystery will be difficult to put down.... A delicious romp through ancient cat lore, an excellent tale of cats and humans who may or may not be what they appear to be, and of murder, revenge, and jealousy, interlaced with fantasy. This is excellent reading.... Not to be missed!" --Armchair Detective, Winter 1997


Cat on the Money is a short novella available only in ebook form. The first 8 chapters were originally published as a serial in Cats Magazine, which was discontinued before it was complete. The entire story will remain here at this site; just click on the title. In time sequence, it comes between Cat Spitting Mad and Cat Laughing Last.

Cat on the Money can be obtained in the epub and mobi (Kindle) ebook formats at Smashwords , Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, and other retailers. It can also be downloaded here as a free printable PDF file, in addition being read online chapter by chapter.
Cat on the Money




Website created by Sylvia Engdahl
Last updated November 1, 2013