t’s the mark of a true reader when, one day between books, you browse your shelves and find a hardback you simply cannot remember buying. So it was when I spotted Cat Crimes I,II,and III down below the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Yeah, it’s that sort of bookshelf.
These three books evidently reflect individually released collections, now sealed up together in one big hardback. All involve crimes. All involve cats. Overall, I find most of them to be very diabolically clever. I guess the only ones I can’t really “let my hair down” for are the stories where cats can actually understand human language. You’d think if that were true, that if they were clever enough to understand our thoughts, they’d be clever enough to cork up when their owner says, “If you cry for food one more time, I’m taking the squirt bottle to you”. My own Mookie never does.
So, a quick roundup of the more notable shorties…
Ginger’s Waterloo: It’s hard to see the crime in this, and you don’t even see the cat in question, not until the horrifying end pounces on you like a, well, a cat on a mouse. Bravo!
Tea and ‘Biscuit: A clever little mystery, set in the world of high-stakes horse racing. What if a cat could calm a horse, and someone didn’t want that horse calmed? It’s a case of catoside!
Blindsided: A moody little piece about a ball player who’s been mugged and lost eyesight in one of his eyes. Now retired to his tiny home town, he rebuilds the crumbling movie theater as his own personal palace. But crime can come to little towns, as it does here. Lots of delicious atmosphere.
Buster: Cat ladies – spooky in their horde-stuffed falling-down Victorians, surrounded by loads of cats. And there are always people who what the diamond in their roughs.,,
Catnap: I always like a little gumshoe, and any story that starts with the PI growing “I don’t do divorces” has buckets of noir. Loved this one!
Last Kiss: Alright, all you Dexter fans, here’s one from a serial killer’s POV. And after knocking off another victim, he decides he’s going to do the cat too. I felt myself leaning forward on this one. “Look out, little kitty! Look out!” Wonderful!
Little Cat Feet: Another gumshoe one, which rather felt like it had been modified to fit the book requirements – the only cat was in passing. But still, a nice mystery. More noir!
The Duel: Some people should do divorces. It’s a grim and grubby tale that doesn’t end well for anyone. Well, anyone but that cat. And that’s what matters.
There are some other shorts in these series, some good and some as boneless as only a relaxing cat can be. Still, I enjoyed the first of the set and will return to it eventually. Perhaps, in ten years time, I’ll find this on my shelf and think, “Hello. Where did this come from…?”
Note: Watch for books II and III to be reviewed in this space. Same cat time! Same cat channel!