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Cat Deck the Halls: A Joe Grey Mystery    by Shirley Rousseau Murphy order for
Cat Deck the Halls
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

With boughs of holly decking the shops and restaurants of the charming seaside village of Molena Point, California as it prepares for the Christmas season, it doesn't seem possible that a murder can occur there. But it does! A man is shot in front of the village's decorated tree, while holding his small daughter in his arms.

The local constabulary are combing the area for clues and knocking on doors to ascertain if anyone had seen this man or the one who killed him. Little do the officers of the law realize that the anonymous tip they received came from a talking cat!! I swear, as this book progressed, I looked at my significant other's cat in a different light. I expected her to converse with me, just as the three cats in Shirley Rousseau Murphy's latest offering - in her series starring Joe Grey, Dulcie and Kit - do with their human counterparts.

There's one nasty happening after another as the cats streak off to do damage control where they can. The premise of talking animals is delightful and very well done. The humans act as counterfoils to the cats as well as providing them with special treats. Their welcome at the police station allows them to keep up on village happenings in this case to everyone's benefit except that of the crooks. Cat Deck the Halls is a treat for the holidays both to indulge in oneself and to give to others.

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