Cover image for Casebook of a private (cat's) eye
Casebook of a private (cat's) eye
Stolz, Mary, 1920-2006.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chicago : Front Street/Cricket Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
118 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Can feline detective Eileen O'Kelly crack the case that has left the Boston police baffled and wringing their paws? Will she be able to track down the murderer who did away with celebrated chef Madame Jewel?
General Note:
A previous version of this story appeared in Cricket magazine.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A clever collection of detective cases by the Newbery Honor-winning author of The Noonday Friends and Belling the Tiger, Casebook of a Private (Cat's) Eye tells the story of Eileen O'Kelly, Boston's only female feline detective who has her paws full trying to crack cases involving disappearing lox, a two-timing Siamese, and traffic in stolen catnip. But when a tart-tongued innkeeper hires her to find the murderer of a renowned chef and the valuable cookery book that's gone missing from thescene of the crime, Eileen and the inn's handsome sous-chef must each risk at least one of their nine lives in a dangerous whisker-to-whisker encounter with a felonious Abyssinian. Throughout the book, charming period illustrations evoke turn-of-the-century Boston.

Author Notes

Mary Stolz was born on March 24, 1920 in Boston, Massachusetts. She studied at the Teachers College of Columbia University and the Katharine Gibbs School before going to work at Columbia as a secretary. She suffered from debilitating arthritis and wrote her first book during a long convalescence. To Tell Your Love was published in 1950.

She wrote more than 60 children and young adult books during her lifetime including Ready or Not, Some Merry-Go-Round Music, Leap Before You Look, The Leftover Elf, Emmett's Pig, A Dog on Barkham Street, Cider Days, Ivy Larkin, and The Edge of Next Year. In a Mirror won a Child Study Children's Book Award and The Bully of Barkham Street won a Boys' Club Junior Book Award. Belling the Tiger and The Noonday Friends were named Newbery Honor books. In 1982, she received a George G. Stone Recognition of Merit Award for her entire body of work. She also wrote one adult novel entitled Truth and Consequence. She died of natural causes on December 15, 2006 at the age of 86.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. Eileen O'Kelly, Boston's only female feline detective, is the heroine of this casebook. Most of the chapters are short mysteries complete within themselves, though several continue through the book. Unfortunately, some of the mysteries--for instance, the case of the stolen lox--might not be all that intriguing to the audience. The biggest find here is the wonderful artwork by Paula Levy. Levy's full-bodied pen-and-ink pictures capture both the ambience of the 1912 Boston setting and the individuality of all those cats, clients and crooks alike. The book has such an appealing design and layout that children will have fun even if they are not caught up in all the cases. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Two-time Newbery Honor winner Stolz (Belling the Tiger; The Noonday Friends) adopts a Victorian voice and syntax for this eloquent episodic tale of a resourceful sleuth. The first-person narrator is Eileen OKelly, who in 1912 is the only female, feline private detective in Bostonpossibly in the United Statesmaybe (who knows?) in the world. As the lady gumshoe tackles a handful of cases, she coyly utters numerous plays on words, tongue-in-whiskered-cheek comments and social critiques (after Eileen invites her milliner neighbor to take a dish of tea, she explains: Taking a dish of tea is an English expression that has made its way into Boston society, which likes to consider itself more British than American). The dilemmas she sets out to solve all involve anthropomorphic cat characters: a grocery store owner seeks the culprit who is purloining his supply of lox; a hotshot pitcher who hit a once-in-a-lifetime homer out of Furway Park is desperate to find his lucky ball; and an inn owner is determined to discover who murdered her chef sister and escaped with her cookery book of prized recipes. While investigating the murder, Eileen falls in love with Marcel, the victims sous chef, allowing for some fun take-offs on the French. Levys charming, detailed black-and-white illustrations depict the cat cast as a decidedly dapper lot, resplendent in period fashions and domestic details. Stolzs nod to the internal monologues of Phillip Marlowe and other classic detectives will likely win over both beginning sleuths and lovers of language. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6In this amusingly old-fashioned mystery, Stolz creates a world that is populated with anthropomorphic felines. However, it is the time (1912), the place (Boston), and the female main characters unusual profession (private investigator) that give a unique flavor to the story. While the sophisticated vocabulary and low-key humor narrow the potential pool of readers, those who persevere will enjoy the adventures of an eclectic cast of characters that include PI Eileen OKelly; Marcel, a romantic sous-chef from Quebec; and Smokey Jack Slattery, an ace twirler for the Furway Bobcats. Through short chapters that profile her various cases, Eileen weaves together her clients stories. Solutions range from the ingenious to the merely coincidental. The book ends on an up note as the detective records her engagement to Marcel and looks forward to the publication of her Casebook. Levys black-and-white illustrations evoke period details and capture the distinct character and emotions of each cat depicted. The sketches vary in size and placement, breaking up the text and adding interest to the layout. Patrons who enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories and historical fiction will want to read this engaging mystery.Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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