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CAT SHINING BRIGHT
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
William Morrow, August 2017
304 pages
$22.95
ISBN: 0062460315


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A well-organized ring of car thieves is working up and down the small towns on the California coast. When they come to Molena Point, however, all sorts of nasty things begin to happen along with the thievery: blackmail, murder, intimidation, and financial skullduggery. Carefully mixed with this good plot is the continuing story of the people and cats in Molena Point that we have come to know and (mostly) love over the years: Joe Grey and his humans Clyde and Ryan, Dulcie and her Wilma, sparkly little Kit and her loving old couple Patric and Lucinda, Max Harper the police chief and his wife Charlotte (no cat). And now we have Dulcie and Joe's three kittens.

Dulcie is a happy mother, but sometimes she yearns to just run and hunt! Joe is happy being a new dad but he wants to continue "participating" in solving crimes. One of the nicer things about this cat-centric series is that aside from the ability to speak and an increased intelligence, these cats are ordinary cats, who fight, run, hunt, feel, and live as "normal" cats do. And Murphy is good at depicting that. Most people in Molena Point don't know the talking cats exist, making for sometimes difficult encounters as the cats, their humans, and the police try to solve the crimes, without letting others in on the cats' secret.

There's a nice blend of family, community, and mystery plot, as there is in every novel in this long series, but this latest is not her best. We never feel as though the ones we love are in any real danger, truly in trouble; in the earlier books the tension is ramped up and up, then a good climax, and end happily. That's truly satisfying. This latest in series was entertaining, especially for fans of the series, with a good plot, excellent pacing, sweetness but not too much, and the beautiful town of Molena Point and its extraordinary people - and cats, but the emotional quotient is a bit less intense than usual.

I love visiting Molena Point, and always hate to finish a book. I hope Murphy has at least one more book coming, as she seems to set a few things up, hint a bit, in this one. It suffers a bit by coming next after the best in the series CAT SHOUT FOR JOY, 2016 (stunning!), but is still a comfortable, smooth mystery.

Abbey Hamilton loves New England, her cats, yarn, and old-fashioned murder mysteries, and isn't shy about offering her opinions, usually at great length.

Reviewed by Abbey Hamilton, August 2017

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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