Cat on the Edge (Joe Grey Series #1)

Cat on the Edge (Joe Grey Series #1)

by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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It's been quite a week for Joe Grey. First the large, powerfulfeline discovers that, through some strange, inexplicable phenomenon, he now has the ability to understand human language. Then he discovers he can speak it as well! It's a nightmare for a cat who'd prefer to sleep the day away carefree, but Joe can handle it. That is, until he has the misfortune to witness a murder in the alley behind Jolly's Deli — and worse, to be seen witnessing it. With all of his nine lives suddenly at risk, Joe's got no choice but to get to the bottom of the heinous crime — because his mouse-hunting days are over for good unless he can help bring a killer to justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061056000
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/09/1998
Series: Joe Grey Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 116,677
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.72(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 on the Edge

A Joe Grey Mystery
By Shirley Murphy

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 Shirley Murphy
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061056006

Chapter One

The murder of Samuel Beckwhite in the alley behind Jolly's Delicatessen was observed by no human witness. Only 4t the gray tomcat saw Beckwhite fall, the big man's heavy body crumpling, his round, close-trimmed head crushed from the blow of a shiny steel wrench. At the bright swing of the weapon and the thud of breaking bone, the cat stiffened with alarm and backed deeper into the shadows, a sleek silver ripple in the dark.

The attack on Beckwhite came without warning. The two men entered the brick-paved alley, walking side by side beneath the dim light of a decorative lamp affixed to the brick wall beside the window of a small shop. The men were talking softly, in a friendly manner. The cat looked up at them carelessly from beside the concealed garbage can, where he was feasting on smoked salmon. The men exchanged no harsh word; Joe caught no scent of anger or distress before the smaller man struck Beckwhite.

Though the evening sky was already dark, the shops along the alley were still open, their doors softly lit by the two wrought-iron wall sconces, one at either end of the short lane. The stained glass door of the tiny tearoom reflected the lamplight in round, gleaming patterns of blue and red.The narrow, leaded glass doors leading to the antique shop and the art gallery glinted with interior lights warped into circular designs against the darkness. The closed door to the bistro presented a solid blue face, but there were lights within behind its small, leaded windows, and the easy beat of a forties love song could be heard. The golf shop lights reflected out around the edges of its half-closed shutters, and the shopkeeper could be glimpsed deep within, toting up figures, preparing to close up and go home. The soft thud of the wrench could not have reached him; he did not look up. There was no sound from the alley to alert anyone to the murder which had just occurred within that peaceful lane.

Between each pair of shop doors stood a large ceramic pot planted with a flowering oleander tree. The pink-and-white blossoms shone waxen in the dim light. All Molena Point's alleys were small, inviting oases designed to welcome both villagers and tourists. At the near end of the lane, where the tomcat was eating, one ordinary, unremarkable wooden door shut away the kitchen of the delicatessen. The busy front door was around the cornet The trellis, and the sweet-scented jasmine vine which climbed it, concealed behind its lower foliage the delicatessen's two garbage cans, and now concealed, as well, the astonished cat.

Here in the alley, Jolly's employees received deliveries and brought out their discreetly wrapped trash to discard, carefully saving back the nicest delicacies, which they put down on soggy paper plates for the village cats.

The cats of Molena Point were not strays -- most were blessed with comfortable homes -- but every cat in the village knew Jolly's and partook greedily of its rich offerings of leftover broiled chicken, pastrami, a spoonful of salmon salad from an abandoned plate, a sliver of brie or Camembert, or the scraps from a roast beef sandwich from which mustard must be scraped away with a fastidious paw. Joe ate well at home, sharing his master's supper, but Jolly's menu ran more to his tastes and less to fried onions, fried potatoes, and hamburger, and he had only to chase off an occasional contender. He had, at this time in his life, no aversion to eating after humans. And he liked George jolly; the soft, round old man in his white clothes and white apron would come out sometimes and watch the cats eating, and smile and talk to them. If George jolly had been in the alley at that moment, the murder very likely would not have occurred. The two men would have walked on through. Though the killer might simply have waited for his next opportunity; it was not a crime of sudden passion.

There was nothing Joe could have done to prevent Beckwhite's murder even if he had so desired, the action coming down too fast. As the men talked softly, strolling along, the shorter man, with no change of tone or expression, no shifting of pace, suddenly produced the chrome wrench in a whirl of motion describing a bright arc. His swinging weapon hit Beckwhite so hard that Joe heard Beckwhite's skull crack. Beckwhite collapsed to the brick paving, limp as an empty rat skin.

At the far end of the alley, behind the last oleander tree, a shadow moved, then was still, or was gone, impossible to know; but neither the killer nor the crouching tomcat saw it -- their attention was on the deed at hand.

No question that the victim was dead or swiftly dying. Joe could sense his death, could smell it. The sharp grip of death shivered through him like a sudden winter chill.

Joe knew who the dead man was. Samuel Beckwhite owned the local auto agency, and he was Joe's master's business associate, the two shared a large, handsome establishment at the upper end of the village. Joe had at first supposed the other man was a customer for one of Beckwhite's mint condition BMWs or Mercedeses, or maybe he worked for Beckwhite and the two were taking a shortcut back to the car agency. He found the smaller man offensive, his walk unnaturally silent, his voice and accent too soft, too artful.

But then, there weren't that many humans Joe liked, nothing to cause alarm; until he saw the bright wrench swing up. Swiftly the deed was done. Beckwhite fell and lay still. The damp breath of the sea and of eucalyptus trees scented the alley, mixed with the perfume of the jasmine vines. Above the love song's soft, nostalgic melody an occasional hush of tires could be heard on some nearby street; and Joe could hear the sea crashing six blocks away, against the rocky cliffs. The evening had turned chill.


Excerpted from Cat on the Edge by Shirley Murphy Copyright ©2006 by Shirley Murphy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

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Cat on the Edge (Joe Grey Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
loves2readSR More than 1 year ago
This was the first one I read and was hooked. Now I'm on the 6th in the Joe Grey series and love each one just as much as the 1st. I highly recommend this book as well as the rest of the series.
Andy22 More than 1 year ago
"Cat on the Edge" begins a new series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. The main character, Joe Grey, is a large tom cat. His character and personality are established in the novel. The reader soon develops an interest and liking for him. As the story unfolds, the reader learns more about Joe and is able to accept Joe's new ability to talk and to understand human conversation. This special ability allows us as readers to follow Joe in his quest to solve a murder that he has witnessed. His journey is complicated and enriched by the addition of another cat, Dulcie. She adds a level of interest and sweetness to the story that happily brings us along on the exciting ride that this novel gives us. This series will be well worth the read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you thought the Cat Who.... series was just not up to par, and you have been turned off to cat mysteries completely, then think again. The Joe grey mysteries are absorbing, creative and delightful. They are all different from each other, and always leave you dangling with fun suspense. And they make you wish your cat could talk.........
Gusippe More than 1 year ago
Lovable Joe Grey, a middle aged tomcat must leave his comfortable home with bachelor Clyde after witnessing a murder. While he is only a cat, the murderer doesn't want him around. The story provides memorable and lovable characters and a good understanding of "cat outlook". While it is not a story of deep character growth, it is an interesting read not easily put down.
Nalasmom More than 1 year ago
I saw this book and I love the idea of cats and mysteries. I found this book to be off beat and different and at times, difficult to follow but the author does a great job with wrapping it all up by the end. I love Joe and his love and concern for his owner. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery and a good cat. If you love to talk to your animals, like I do, then read this book and discover what talking to your pets really means. You will love this book and a 5-star recommend for this one.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Mmmmmmmmmmm m mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm. Mm mm mm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmm mmmm. Mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmm
debavp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you just want a simple, comfortable read. If you like the Cat Who...series by Lillian Jackson Braun, this series is along the same path.
Antares1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cat on the Edge by Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the first in her Joe Grey series. Joe in this instance is a cat, who somehow has acquired the knowledge and use of the English Language. For all Joe knows he's the only cat with this ability, and he's feeling rather lonely and sorry for himself when he witnesses a murder. The murder victim is a business associate of his owner, Clyde. The murderer sees Joe and tries to kill him. Joe runs away from home in an effort to protect his owner from the murderer. He meets up with another cat, Dulcie, who shares his unique abilities. Together they work to bring the murderer to justice, and save not only themselves, but their beloved owners.It's an interesting take on anthropomorphic animals. The author doesn't try to explain why these two cats have this ability, and many times seems to forget that her protagonists are cats. Their antics many times don't seem to be something that would be possible for actual cats to do. Who knows maybe with their human language capabilities they've also aquired superpowers. All in all it's an entertaining read, just check your knowledge of cat behaviours and abilities at the door.
AngelaG86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this series!In the first book of this series, Joe Grey, tomcat, discovers he can understand humans, and speak back to them as well. He soon finds another cat, Dulcie, who has his same powers. After witnessing a murder, Joe Grey and Dulcie try to solve the crime before the murderer comes after them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this Audio book from the library good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love cats, you will probably love this book. It depends on how willing you are to buy the premise is cats who were once human or vice versa. Personally I find Joe Grey so charming that I just go along with it. I say give it a whirl, you might fall under his spell too :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent! I feel as though I have been to Molina Point and met the charactors; absolutely charming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first of a number of books now about cat detectives in a small town in California. I have read them all and find them very entertaining. The cats solve mysteries and aid the local police and investigators by talking on the telephone. Only a few people know that the cats can talk.
nepwrite More than 1 year ago
I am an avid fan. I've loved Joe Grey and Dulce since I first started reading the series. They make me laugh and hope they don't get hurt. Lots  of fun!!!
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually a big fan of books that require a good deal of suspension of belief, but I found Joe Gray , the cat, to be an exception to that reasoning within this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed the 'unbelief', the complete knowledge of cat behaviors, and an interesting and believable mystery.  Joe Gray has lived a purrrrrfectly  splendid life after coming to live with Clyde, who found him almost dead on the streets of Molena Point.  Then one day, Joe realized that he could talk and read like a human.  This was a bit scary, but came in very handy after he witnessed a murder, and the murderer decided that the pesky cat needed to die too. Dulcie, the pretty little girl cat down the block has a similar story,  but she also likes snatching beautiful, silky, soft things from the neighbors.  The murderer is after her too. The mystery involves fancy cars, lots of money and adulterous affairs.  Joe and Dulcie use their uniquely cat skills, interestingly combined with some human traits, to make this an excellent cozy cat mystery. This first in a series, is followed up by many more Joe Gray mysteries, so the fun and mysteries, hopefully, just keep coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Avery fun entrtaining series. Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I expected to enjoy this book. I usually do like books with cats and dogs as characters; or told from their point of view. But I found this hard to get into and no real explanation as to what caused changes in the cats and Kate.
Ginger46 More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book. Anyone who lives with a cat would find this book interesting. Living with four cats myself I know each of them have their own personalities,would love to know what they are thinking and would be thrilled to communicate with them if it was possible. I will definitely check out the other books in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story has its pitfalls but enchants with the cat's Point of View. The characters combine a cat's point of view - described with great insight and originality - with human elements. A cat who finds itself being able to understand human speech and deems himself utterly alone in that ability sets out to solve a crime and to evade the shadowy figure who is after him, trying to kill him. We meet other cats with different catty personalities. We gain insight in the world of the cat while being captivated by the mystery of the story. Great style, language and descriptiveness, but after a while the array of talking cats and shapeshifting humans becomes a bit tedious. I enjoyed this book but probably won't read any of the sequels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute story and an easy rainy day read