Cat Crimes

Cat Crimes: Masters of Mystery Present a Collection of New Cat Tales edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Ed Gorman

Thoughts Before Reading:

What goes great with mysteries? CATS! They are perfect together (and two of my favorite things in the world.)

So when I saw this, I was super excited and couldn’t wait to read it.

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was not good.

It is amazing how it failed with the amount of writers it had: Martin H. Greenberg, Peter Lovesey, Bill Pronzini, Joan Hess, Jon L. Breen, Dorothy B. Hughes, Barbara Paul, William J. Reynolds, Christopher Fahy, Bill Crider, David Everson, Douglas Borton, Les Roberts, John Lutz, Gene DeWeese, Barbara D’Amato, Barbara Collins, and J.A. Lance. You think one of them would have written an interesting mystery.

The mysteries were not even about cats!

It kind of felt like the authors took an extra story they had lying around and added a cat into it so there was a cat in the story but save for a few stories it never felt like the cat or cats were really an important part or a central figure. I did not enjoy it.

I’m so disappointed.

For more cat mysteries, go to Catnap

For more short stories, go to Motive v. Opportunity

Catnap

Catnap (Midnight Louie #1) by Carole Nelson Douglas

I picked this book up years ago at a library book sale as I love mysteries and I love cats, so when they are combined they are a serious winner!

This book is not only a noir-it is a chat noir! LOL

Midnight Louie is a giant, eighteen pound cat who roams the streets. He used to call the Crystal Palace Casino his home, but since the owner got married and had a baby-it isn’t really the place for him.

He’s a P.I. investigating crimes on the strip and finds himself at the convention center where the ABA, American Booksellers Association, is holding thier annul convention. As he peruses the book stalls, he discovers a dead body-stabbed by a knitting needle. Not wanting to be the one who is suspected for the murder, he decides to have someone else find the body.

That patsy just happens to be Templeton Barr, P.R. for the ABA conference.

Templeton Barr had a wonderful job at the Guthrie Theater and left it to follow her magician boyfriend to Las Vegas, Nevada. He disappeared, and Temple couldn’t get her job back-so she stayed in Vegas, working as a freelance P.R.

She is finishing up her work, worried sick about the disappearance of Scottish Fold cats, Baker & Taylor-mascots for the booksellers; when a guard tells her a cat has been spotted on the main floor. Templeton scurries down there to find Midnight Louie and the dead body.

It isn’t just any body, but Chester Royal, head of Pennyroyal Press-specializing in medical murder mysteries and thriller. He was a rude, crude, penny-pinching, misogynistic man who only cares about himself and making more money for himself. Suspects abound!

He was found with the knitting needle through the chest and the word “STET” on his body.

Templeton has a PR nightmare, but gets the idea to use Midnight Louie-detective cat angle-shielding the B&T cat disappearances and making the story a human interest piece on the front page.

She also finds herself caring for Midnight Louie, investigating the murder, and having to do a ransom drop to get the B&T cats back.

She goes to work investigating, but will curiosity kill this P.R. cat?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

It’s funny because I read this book over thirteen years ago and Baker & Taylor meant nothing to me, other than a side storyline. Now that I work in a library, as soon as I read Baker & Taylor I knew it meant the booksellers and I knew how important the cats are. Funny, isn’t it.

I thought it was an interesting mystery-especially the switching of chapters from Templeton’s view to Midnight Louie’s 1940s PI entries.

The mystery was a bit dry and hard to slog through in places. I also think how she figured it out was a bit jumping the shark-as a new character enters the story in the last few chapters that holds the “key” to discovering the truth.

I hate that. It always feels lazy to me or a last ditched effort to figure out a way to reach the conclusion instead of interweaving it throughput.

For more Noirvember, go to Wolverine Noir

For more cat mysteries, go to The Tell-Tale Purr

For more mysteries with Private Detectives, go to Lowcountry Boneyard

For more mysteries set in Las Vegas, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more books from a library book sale, go to The Key to Midnight

The Tell-Tale Purr

“The Tell-Tale Purr” from Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark

If you haven’t figured it out this is a play on the famous short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe. It really is ingenious, even borrowing lines from the original story but infusing it with a few other things…namely cats.

Our narrator is someone who likes having money and hates almost everything and everybody. One person he especially dislikes is his grandma who he has to be nice to as she has a ton of money and he stands to inherit, just as long as he stays sucking up to her.

One day at a dinner party he gets a most marvelous idea of how to bump his grandma off without being suspected of murder. She has a weak heart and is absolutely terrified of cats. Scared to death of them, they being the perfect thing to end her. He could use their cries to scare her into a heart attack, but how?

Hmmm…?

The elevator! Grandma just has one installed, and on a stormy night when power cuts out she could be trapped in there, him playing recordings of cats which should induce a heart attack.

So the plan is put into action, mean yowling cats are caught and recorded until he has a horrifying symphony.

Dinner comes when such weather is horrible. He leaves as normal and returns in secret-turning off the power, trapping grandma, and playing his merciless tune to terrify her.

But things do not turn out as expected.

WHAT! I’m HOOKED!!!

Thoughts After Reading:

Oh, such an amazing read. So good and such a great twist of an ending. AMAZING!

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to Haven’t We Met Before?

For more from Death Wears a Beauty Mask, go to The Man Next Door

For more cat-centered mysteries, go to Crazy, VA

For more short stories, go to A Much Expected Murder