I got my first pony, on loan, when I was five. As I grew older there were plenty of horses to ride, I spent much more time with the animals than with other children. Hank: You have written animal mysteries, Young Adult fantasy, as well as books for children. Do you approach the writing for these different audiences differently? Shirley: Each story takes its own shape, first from scenes in my mind.
A picture book, of course, more quickly forms itself into a whole story. Longer books, because they are more involved, wander in their scenes and in the voices and conversations I hear so that in places I will pause, think about the direction the story is going, make notes, move the plot along until the scenes again come alive on their own. Hank: How much planning goes into your mysteries before the actual writing begins? Shirley: My mysteries begin with scenes that most often come out of nowhere, out of that mysterious place in my being that wants story.
When the best scenes have pulled me in, the planning begins with a rough outline, and slowly the scenes and emotions connect into story. Of course Joe Grey leads and directs. These are his stories, it is his voice I hear loud and clear…though as each new cat joins the group, that cat, too, leads me. As do their family of humans. The body of the book, then, is a combination of deliberate planning and of scenes that spring alive on their own out of that subconscious imagination that we all have hidden somewhere in our spirit.
Hank: How does writing from the perspective of a cat change the way the story unfolds for you?
I seldom need wonder what Joe or Dulcie will say, they just say it, I hear them say it. I have to pause sometimes and work out what they can do physically, like unlocking a lock, or Dulcie at the computer.
Shirley Rousseau Murphy Talks About Her 21st Joe Grey Cat Detective Novel “Cat Chase the Moon”
But perhaps I enjoy most the interplay between cat and human—and the change of viewpoint from cat to human and back again. This shift in focus carries the story along nicely for me, in a swift and satisfying manner that I would miss very much when working only with humans. Hank: Your 21st. Joe Grey mystery is now out. How have the characters grown as the stories unfold? Hank: When beginning a new book, what comes to you first? Shirley: The beginning of a new book might be any of the above, but usually a scene is foremost.
And always Joe Grey is beside me, watching with a critical eye. Shirley: My readers tell me so many true, personal things, their deep feelings about their own cats…and, the most heart rending, they tell me how the Joe Grey books have helped them over hard times, helped to ease or cheer them through illness or loss. They tell me they love Joe Grey, and that makes both me and Joe purr. Feline P. Average rating 4.
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Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Ok, so you have probably noticed a trend here. I love this series. It's not really McReading; it's in a better class than that, but I find it incredibly satisfying to have, thanks to old Celtic lore, cats who can talk and read, dream, hope, love and, oh yes, solve crimes. What more could one ask? Rousseau Murphy clearly has a sense of humor and a great love for cats. She doesn't waste your time wandering around on unnecessary backstory, but she also does not plunk a character into the story with Ok, so you have probably noticed a trend here.
She doesn't waste your time wandering around on unnecessary backstory, but she also does not plunk a character into the story without some plausible explanations.
And as the series grows, the explanations for why these cats exist become more clear. I must admit, they make me long to hear my own cats voices. View 1 comment. Shelves: own , series , mystery , hardcover , amateur-sleuth , fiction , cat-related , cozy , fantasy.
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I enjoy this series more and more with each entry. Taking place in the fictional town of Molena Point, California, it is home to a colony of special cats as well as humans in many creative vocations. I love how each book centers on a different family or cat, and we get to know them better. Each character -- human and cat -- grows with each book in this highly recommended series.
This is the 17th Joe Grey mystery, and Shirley Rousseau Murphy has created a tail with many twists and turns. Murphy i I enjoy this series more and more with each entry. Murphy is still discovering new sides of the cats, and she shares that with us — such as Dulcie becoming quite the poet.
Cat Telling Tales (Joe Grey Series #17) by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
These tales have to be the definition of anthropomorphism, but Mrs. Murphy makes it so much fun. Joe Grey and all the special cats we know do not share their abilities with just anyone; they basically keep it secret from all but the humans they live with, and amongst themselves. Unfortunately, Molena Point did not escape the effects of the Great Recession any more than any town in America. Some families who could no longer pay their mortgages disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving their pets behind to fend for themselves. Most pet animals do not remember the instincts needed to hunt and capture food so they rely on the kindness of strangers.
Some of the cats gather by the cliffs where the local veterinarian leaves food every morning and evening. Secretly John Firetti hopes to find one of the special cats among the many cats he has fed for 50 years.
Another result of the Great Recession was the creation of a meth house in one of those empty homes in Molena Point! While Police Chief Max Harper and his excellent staff shut down the operation, they struggle to keep things from starting up again. One Sunday morning Joe smells bacon and Kippurs cooking for breakfast. Did I mention how spoiled the cats are? Even a run down cottage is worth something in Molena Point, but someone is snapping them up before they even hit the paper and then letting them sit.
Ryan has received a letter from Debbie Kraft, an old schoolmate, pleading for a place to stay. Joe is perplexed as to why Ryan is doing nothing about the letter. Debbie and her two children have been evicted from their apartment on which her husband stopped paying.
Review: Cat Telling Tales by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Now she has no place to go and is hoping Ryan will take her in. To Joe, this letter and this family moving in only spell disaster. Days later Joe awakes to see fire burning up by the cliffs. Ryan and Clyde have already left for the day, so he dials Charlie calls Ryan for help, and she returns home for the proper gear. Joe hitches a ride with Ryan, and they all race to the Harper ranch and discover it untouched yet must still minister to the spooked horses. There was a charred body in that shack, still in bed.
Billy Young was frantically peddling his bike up the hill to his burning home when he sees the gurney and must make sense out of the scene laid out for him. Harper also insists that Billy stay with him rather than turn him over to child services. After putting up resistance, Ryan and Clyde open the door and the three push in along with suitcases and assorted junk.
Joe finds a stash of cash in one of them, thousands of dollars.
However, Ryan and Charlie kick them out the next day to live in one of their empty homes that needs work, with them protesting every single step of the way. Emmylou is now living in her car. Torn between keeping it and turning it in, she keeps moving it around to find a safe place for it, so the cats are able to sniff for the ashes and follow her trail. Now things start to really twist and turn and wind back on themselves. Debbie Kraft is looking for a place to live even though her mother lived here, her young nephew is now orphaned, her ex-husband is here, or so his office says, and her sister lives in luxury married to the other partner in the local reality firm.
Neither sister wants Billy.
Debbie Kraft is protesting over the single family home that Ryan and Clyde have offered her to live in for a good cleaning. But the worst part about Debbie comes out when the Molena Point residents learn her daughter once had a cat that they kicked out.