Cover image for Cat to the dogs
Cat to the dogs
Murphy, Shirley Rousseau.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
243 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Cat to the Dogs is the latest entry in Shirley Rousseau Murphy's acclaimed, uniquely charming mystery series featuring a pair of cats who discovered one day that they have the amazing ability to read, speak, and solve crimes.

"For your information," said Joe Grey, "if that wreck turns out to be a murder, I'm the one who put the cops onto it. Me. The cat you are booting out into the cold for no reason!"

Joe Grey kicked out of the house? Ever since the earthquake, things have been going from bad to worse in Molena Point.

There was the car "accident on Hellhag Hill, which looked--well--fishy, to Joe's night-wise eyes. And there was the suspicious but not unwelcome death of the town philanderer, Shamas Greenlaw. Soon the little coastal California town was filled with greedy relatives and Shamas's brazen young mistress, all looking to share the widow's grief--and her rumored gold.

Every earthquake has its aftershocks, and now even Dulcie, the library cat, is getting weird. She's going to the dogs, literally. She's taken to mothering two orphaned pups discovered at the scene of the crash.

And worst of all, there's Clyde, Joe's erratic but lovable human. He thinks cats should stay out of police work (as if humans could handle it on their own!), and to make his point, he's locking Joe and Dulcie out of the house when Officer Harper come over to play poker.

Clyde is afraid the two will give away their secret--that a few select cats can not only talk, but read--and even use the telephone. (Where does Harper think those anonymous tips are coming from after all?) But Joe is not about to give up the chase. Not until the "ghost" of Hellhag Hill is tracked down and brought to justice.

Mice are nice, but what cat can resist the chance to stalk a real killer?

Author Notes

Fiction author Shirley Rousseau Murphy grew up in Long Beach, California and majored in fine and commercial art at the San Francisco Art Institute. She has worked as a commercial artist and has exhibited paintings and sculptures extensively on the West Coast. She has also been a designer and an interior designer, as well as in a library in the Panama Canal Zone. Murphy has written several children's books, plus the fantasy novel The Catswold Portal, the Dragonbards trilogy, and the popular Joe Grey mystery series, for which she has won eight Muse Medallion awards from the Cat Writers' Association. She and her husband live in Carmel, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Recommended only for dedicated cat lovers, this lackluster tale is the latest outing (after Cat in the Dark) featuring the feline Sherlock Holmes named Joe Grey and his companion, Dulcie. As usual, the cats not only outsmart most humans, but also make telephone calls, order take-out and speak perfect English, although only to each other and a few favored people. Hunting in Hellhag Canyon, Joe witnesses a fatal car accident that appears to be murder. While local police search for the victim's identity, Dulcie is keeping an eye on neighbor Lucinda Greenlaw's house. Just widowed, Lucinda, who's waiting for the funeral and a possible inheritance, has been surrounded by her husband's unsavory relatives. Joe and Dulcie suspect that Shamas Greenlaw's death while boating was no accident, especially when his black market business dealings come to light. Now it remains for the feline duo to lead human investigators to connect the suspicious car accident to some of the Greenlaw clan and to prove that the two deaths are related. Murphy's fifth novel moves at a snail's pace and the humans involved, such as Joe's housemate, Clyde, are mere window dressing. Cat fans may fancy the story in any case, but others won't enjoy the plot digressions into the history and mythology of felines. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Joe Grey, the talking cat (Cat in the Dark), and friend Dulcie help police solve a suspicious fatal car accident. A special treat for cat mystery fans who like a little more feline participation. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Cat to the Dogs A Joe Grey Mystery Chapter One Fog lay so thick in Hellhag Canyon that Joe Grey couldn't see his paws, could barely see the dead wood rat he carried dangling from his sharp teeth. Moving steeply down the wall of the ravine, the tomcat was aware of a boulder or willow scrub only when his whiskers touched something foreign, sending an electrifying jolt through his sleek gray body. The predawn fog was so dense that a human would have barged straight into those obstacles--one more example, Joe Grey thought smugly, of feline senses far keener than human, of the superiority of cat over man. The fog-shrouded canyon was silent, too, save for the muted hushing of the sea farther down and the occasional whisper from high above of wet tires along the twisting two-lane, where some early-morning driver crept blindly. Joe had no idea why humans drove in this stuff; swift cars and fog were bad news. As he searched for a soft bit of ground on which to enjoy his breakfast, another car approached, moving way too fast toward the wickeddouble curve, sending a jolt of alarm stabbing through Joe. The scream of tires filled the canyon. The skidding car hit the cliff so hard, Joe felt the earth shake. He dropped the wood rat and leaped clear as the car rolled thundering over the edge, its lights exploding against the fog, its bulk falling straight at him, as big as a hunk of the cliff, a mass of hurtling metal that sent him streaking up the canyon wall. It hurtled past, dropping into the ravine exactly where he'd been crouching. The car lay upside down beneath a dozen young oak trees broken off and fallen across its spinning wheels. The roof and those tons of metal had likely flattened his wood rat into a bloody pancake--so much for his nice warm breakfast. Where the careening car had disturbed the fog, and the rising wind swirled the mist, he could make out the gigantic form easing deeper into the detritus of the canyon, the car's metal parts groaning like a dying beast, its death-stink not of escaping body fluids, but the reek of leaking gasoline. This baby's going to explode, he thought as he prepared to run. Going to blow sky-high, roast me among these boulders like a rabbit in a stone oven. But when, after a long wait, no explosion occurred, when the vehicle continued only to creak and moan, he crept warily down the cliff again to have a look. Hunched beneath the wreck's vast, dark body--its ticking, grease-stinking, hot-breathed body--he looked up at the huge black wheels spinning above him and listened to the bits of glass raining down from the broken windows that were half-hidden among the dry ferns, listened to the big metal carcass settle into its last sleep. He could hear, from within, no human utterance. No groan, no scream of pain or of terror, only the voice of the sea pounding against the cliffs to an accident victim. Was no one alive in there? He studied the overturned car, listening for a desperate and anguished cry--and wondering what he was going to do about it. Wondering how a poor simple tomcat was going to render any kind of useful assistance. He had been hunting Hellhag Canyon since midnight, first at the shore, dodging the rolling breakers, and then, when the fog thickened, moving on up the ravine. He had tracked the wood rat blindly, following only the sound of its scrabbling, had struck and killed it before the creature was ever aware of him. But all night he'd been edgy, too, still nervous from the quakes of the last week; the first instant the skidding car hit the hill and shook the earth he'd shivered as if another jolt were rocking the cliffs, rattling the central California coast. The original temblor, two days earlier, at 5.2 on the Richter scale, had sent the more timid human residents of Molena Point fleeing from their cottages, to creep back hours later hauling out mattresses and camp stoves and setting up housekeeping in their gardens. All week, as the village of Molena Point experienced aftershocks, people were tense and excited, waiting for the big one, for the earth to crack open, for their homes to topple and giant seas to flood the land. Well, it was only an earthquake, a natural, God-given part of life--a cat might be wary, but a cat didn't lose perspective. Humans, on the other hand, were hopelessly amusing. Facing a natural phenomenon, the poor, gullible bipeds invariably overreacted. The earthquake had brought two reporters down from San Francisco, searching for anything sensational, seeking out the displaced and injured, running their cameras in a feeding frenzy, their hunger for alarming news as voracious as the hunger of seagulls attacking a handful of fish innards tossed from the Molena Point pier. But the quake had disturbed the burrowing wild creatures, the mice and wood rats and moles, driving them from their holes, disorienting the little beasts so they were incredibly easy prey. All week, Joe Grey and Dulcie had gorged themselves. Though Dulcie refused to hunt down Hellhag Canyon. She had lectured him on the dangers of high, rogue waves after an earthquake, and, when he laughed at her fears, she had turned away disgusted, growling and lashing her tabby-stripped tail at what she called tomcat stupidity. Cat to the Dogs A Joe Grey Mystery . Copyright © by Shirley Murphy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Cat to the Dogs by Shirley Rousseau Murphy All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.