Cat Cross Their Graves (Joe Grey Series #10)

Cat Cross Their Graves (Joe Grey Series #10)

by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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The beautiful, serene village of Molena Point, California is the type of place where people go to get away from the harsher realities of life––which is what attracted classic film star Patty Rose to buy the village inn, and settle down to enjoy her golden years. But as the town gathers to celebrate and honor the beautiful, aging actress with a festival of her old films, Patty is brutally murdered––to the horror and shock of this peaceful burg.

A gentle tortoiseshell cat, Kit, has been enjoying a retreat to the animal–loving actress's inn, where she's spending time with her feline friends Dulcie, and the slick tomcat sleuth, Joe Grey. But her relaxation is cut short when she hears the gunshots that end Patty's life, and sees her dead body sprawled on the inn's front steps. She glimpses the killer racing into the parking garage, and soon follows his trail.

Joe and Dulcie must now follow the naïve Kit's trail, and keep her from getting into serious trouble. To complicate matters, Joe discovers that Dulcie has been hiding a runaway child––one of the lucky humans that these special cats choose to talk to––who has now been kidnapped, likely by the same man who killed their famous friend. In the end, the little girl's abduction leads them to Patty's killer, and the feline friends are all united––but they all must mourn a departed friend as they stand beside the newly laid grave of Patty Rose.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060578114
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/27/2005
Series: Joe Grey Series , #10
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 292,679
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the author of twenty mysteries in the Joe Grey series, for which she has won the Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion nine years running, and has received ten national Cat Writers’ Association Awards for best novel of the year. She is also a noted children’s book author, and has received five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards. She lives in Carmel, California, where she serves as full-time household help to two demanding feline ladies.

Read an Excerpt

Cat Cross Their Graves

A Joe Grey Mystery
By Murphy, Shirley Rousseau

HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 0060578084

Chapter One

Up the Molena Point hills where the village cottages stood crowded together, and their back gardens ended abruptly at the lip of the wild canyon, a row of graves lay hidden. Concealed beneath tangled weeds and sprawling overgrown geraniums, there was no stone to mark the bodies. No one to remember they were there save one villager, who kept an uneasy silence. Who nursed a vigil of dread against the day the earth would again be disturbed and the truth revealed. On winter evenings the shadow of the tall, old house struck down across the graves like a long black arrow, and from the canyon below, errant winds sang to the small, dead children.

There had been no reports for a dozen years of unexplained disappearances along the central California coast, not even of some little kid straying off to turn up at suppertime hungry and dirty and unharmed. Nor did the three cats who hunted these gardens know what lay beneath their hurrying paws. Though as they trotted down into the canyon to slaughter wood rats, leaping across the tangled flower beds, sometimes tabby Dulcie would pause to look around her, puzzled, her skin rippling with an icy chill. And once the tortoiseshell kit stopped stone still as she crossed the neglected flower bed, her yellow eyes growing huge. She muttered about a shadow swiftly vanishing, a child withflaxen hair. But this kit was given to fancies. Joe Grey had glanced at her, annoyed. The gray tom was quite aware that female cats were full of wild notions, particularly the tattercoat kit and her flights of fancy.

For many years the graves had remained hidden, the bodies abandoned and alone, and thus they waited undiscovered on this chill February night. The village of Molena Point was awash with icy, sloughing rain and shaken by winds that whipped off the surging sea to rattle the oak trees and scour the village rooftops. But beneath the heavy oaks and the solid shingles and thick clay tiles, within scattered cottages, sitting rooms were warm, lamps glowed and hearth fires burned, and all was safe and right. But many cottages stood dark. For despite the storm, it seemed half the village had ventured out, to crowd into Molena Point Little Theater for the week-long Patty Rose Film Festival. There, though the stage was empty, the darkened theater was filled to capacity. Though no footlights shone and there was no painted backdrop to describe some enchanted world and no live actors to beguile the audience, not a seat was vacant.

Before the silent crowd, the silver screen had been lowered into place from the high, dark ceiling, and on it a classic film rolled, a black-and-white musical romance from a simpler, kinder era. Old love songs filled the hall, and old memories for those who had endured the painful years of World War II, when Patty's films had offered welcome escape from the disruptions of young lives, from the wrenching partings of lovers.

For six nights, Molena Point Little Theater audiences had been transported, by Hollywood's magic, back to that gentler time before X-ratings were necessary and audiences had to sit through too much carnage, too much hate, and the obligatory bedroom scene. The Patty Rose Film Festival had drawn all the village back into that bright world when their own Patty was young and vibrant and beautiful, riding the crest of her stardom.

Every showing was sold out and many seats had been sold again at scalpers' prices. On opening night Patty herself, now eighty-some, had appeared to welcome her friends; it was a small village, close and in many ways an extended family. Patty Rose was family; the blond actress was still as slim and charming as when her photographs graced every marquee and magazine in the country. She still wore her golden hair bobbed, in the style famous during those years, even if the color was added; her tilted nose and delighted smile still enthralled her fans. To her friends, she was still as beautiful.

When Patty retired from the screen at age fifty and moved to Molena Point, she could have secluded herself as many stars do, perhaps on a large acreage up in Molena Valley where a celebrity could retain her privacy. She had, instead, bought Otter Pine Inn, in the heart of the village, and moved into one of its third-floor penthouses, had gone quietly about her everyday business until people quit gawking and sensibly refrained from asking for autographs. She loved the village; she walked the beach, she mingled at the coffee shop, she played with the village dogs. She soon headed up charity causes, ran benefits, gave generously of her time and her money.

Two years ago she had bought an old historic mansion in need of repair, had fixed it up and turned it into a home for orphaned children. "Orphans' home" was an outdated term but Patty liked it and used it. The children were happy, they were clean and healthy, they were well fed and well educated. Eightytwo percent of the children went on to graduate from college. Patty's friends understood that the home helped, a little bit, to fill the dark irreparable void left by the death of Patty's daughter and grandson. Between her civic projects and the children's home, and running the inn, Patty left herself little time for grieving.

She took deep pleasure in making the inn hospitable. Otter Pine Inn was famous for its cuisine, for its handsome and comfortable accommodations, and for the friendly pampering of its guests. It was famous indeed for the care that Patty extended to travelers' pets. There are not so many hotels across the nation where one's cats and dogs are welcome. Otter Pine Inn offered each animal velvet cushions by a window, a special menu of meaty treats, and free access to the inn's dining patio when accompanied by a human ... Continues...

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