Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why Mystery Writers Love Cats

by Mary Kennedy
In honor of National Cat Month, I decided to run a piece I wrote for USA Today a couple of years ago. Many of you will remember these charming mysteries with cats and you'll be happy to know that these same authors continue to feature cats in their current novels.
So here goes, a look back at some delightful cat mysteries from 2012.
Jugs, a chubby feline based on the author's adored cat, Boomerang.
 Miss Marple, a savvy cat who enjoys napping in the Haven't Got a Clue bookstore.                                                          
Merlot, Chablis and Syrah, three delightful felines who star in the Cats in Trouble series.                                 
Cats featured prominently in the 2012 crop of cozies. Clever, alert and intuitive, they often provided assistance in solving crimes and always offered a serene, comforting presence to their owners. 
In WHAT THE CAT SAW, by Carolyn Hart, Nela Farley makes an interesting discovery when she agrees to care for a highly intelligent cat named Jugs. Whenever she look into the cat's beautiful eyes, she "moves into his mind," and immediately receives messages about a murder he witnessed.                                                       
In THE CAT, THE WIFE and THE WEAPON by Leann Sweeny, heroine Jillian Hart creates cat quilts. She has three constant companions, Merlot, a red Maine coon cat, Chablis, a seal point Himalayan, and Syrah, an Amber Abyssinian. She refers to as her cats as her "four-legged assistants," and she's convinced that they sense her feelings. She's adept at reading their body language and she trusts their intuitions about people.
In Murder on the Half Shelf, Lorna Barrett delivers another exciting release in the Booktown Mysteries. Tricia Miles, the owner of the Haven't Got a Clue bookstore in Stoneham, N.H., owns a lovely feline named Miss Marple. Miss Marple can nudge Tricia's attention to a clue by merely gazing steadily at it and her interest in a cocktail napkin proves to be relevant to the case.
In Murder of the Cat's Meow, Denise Swanson based the feline character, Bingo, on her lovely real-life cat, Boomerang. In the 15th release in the popular Scumble River series, Skye Denison, school psychologist, investigates the murder of a judge at a cat show. The behind-the-scenes details about cat shows and cat fanciers are exciting and will appeal to anyone who loves felines. And the murder method is unique--death by catnip mouse!
Why are cats so popular in mysteries? Why do people rely on their intuitive responses? As Carolyn Hart says, "No one can fool a cat. A cat always knows exactly what someone thinks and feels."
In my own Dream Club series, I feature two cats, Barney and Scout, but I have to admit that they have no magical powers, no amazing insights and no detective skills. They are just lovable lap cats, the kind that Gallagher describes as "pillows that eat." I hope you'll share some of your own favorite mysteries featuring cats. I know a lot of you know and love cats and I always enjoy hearing about your delightful fur babies.
Mary Kennedy
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