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Publisher's Summary

First the large, powerful feline discovers that, through some strange, inexplicable phenomenon, he now has the ability to understand human language. Then he discovers he can speak it as well! It’s a nightmare for a cat who’d prefer to sleep the day away carefree, but Joe can handle it. That is, until he has the misfortune to witness a murder in the alley behind Jolly’s Deli - and worse, to be seen witnessing it. With all of his nine lives suddenly at risk, Joe’s got no choice but to get to the bottom of the heinous crime - because his mouse-hunting days are over for good unless he can help bring a killer to justice.

©1996 Shirley Rousseau Murphy (P)2013 AudioGO

What listeners say about Cat on the Edge

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love this series

Would you listen to Cat on the Edge again? Why?

I have read all the books in this series and going back to listen to them is a delight.

Have you listened to any of Susan Boyce’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

She does a good job with the various voices.

Any additional comments?

This series keeps me coming back. I feel I know the people in the village and care about how they are growing and changing. Of course the cats are the stars and they re believable along with their ancient magical heritage. There are many layers going on here that are interesting.

8 people found this helpful

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Great book for cat lovers and mystery lovers alike

Would you listen to Cat on the Edge again? Why?

Yes, it is so entertaining;I laugh every time I think about some of the scenes.

What did you like best about this story?

Jo Grey and his relationship with his human staff was the best part about the story.

What about Susan Boyce’s performance did you like?

She did a remarkable job portraying all the characters.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It's no epic novel such as The Kite Runners or The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, but certain scenes still make me laugh outloud when I recall them.

Any additional comments?

Fun and kept me listening!

7 people found this helpful

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First in an enchanting new series

Enchanting. I didn't recall how charming the first book in this long running series was. I've read the print book, and now I've read it on audio. Susan Boyce has brought characters to life using her voice and the words of Joe Grey and his human companion Clyde Damon, as well as Wilma Getz and her feline, the lovely Dulcie.

As the book opens, a man named Samuel Beckwhite is killed when a cloaked figure cracks his skull with a wrench while Joe Grey and Dulcie both watched in the alley behind Jolly's restaurant. Not only did they see the murder, the murderer saw Joe and Dulcie watching him and chased Joe all over town while the murderer’s partner chased Dulcie. Why would an "ordinary" man chase a common house cat as if he could relay the facts to the police or his human owner?

Both Joe and Dulcie were followed home. Joe runs away so Clyde and his animal housemates are not harmed. Dulcie has a harder time leaving Wilma who lives alone. When Wilma goes out she leaves Dulcie's dinner just outside the door, only the murderer has sprinkled it with poison that Dulcie detects. With a rumbling tummy, she turns to leave and runs smack into the bad man. Another chase ensues with Dulcie afraid for her life. Finally Joe Grey meets up with her, and they escape together. They take to the trees and rooftops.

Once Joe and Dulcie are safe, they discover that they have new abilities – that is, they can understand the human language. They can speak it, they can read it, and they can write it! How did they all of a sudden become sentient? They guess that the shock of watching a murder pushed them over the edge to this new state.

Joe is concerned about Clyde worrying about him so he decides to call Clyde. As Clyde answers, Joe Grey blurts out that it is Joe Grey, Clyde’s cat. Clyde is sure this is all a joke. He simply can’t accept it. Clyde knows just who to visit who will understand his conundrum … Wilma. Wilma relates that the two cats had been home for a short period because they’d pulled various foods out of the refrigerator (who does that?) plus seeing the shape an afghan has been pawed into, Dulcie and Joe Grey had cuddled in it. While shaking her head in disbelief, Wilma is even more surprised by Clyde’s story.

The man who killed Beckwhite had a Welsh partner. When he nears Kate Osborne, wife of one of Clyde’s auto mechanics, he whispers a Welsh saying, and suddenly Kate begins to shrink. Kate is now viewing the world from the level of shoes and skirts and swishing between legs. How is it that she’s so small? How is it that she has turned into a cat? The Welshman knows where Kate lives and goes there to wait for her. She makes it inside and begins to gather her belongings so she can leave town. It is then that she finds the foreign bank books behind her own on the desk. She takes them to the police the next day all while gathering together money and paperwork she’ll need. She also discovers that her husband has been having an affair, so she simply must leave. Kate knows the words to say to change back and forth into a cat, and she uses this to her advantage.

Kate and Clyde had been lovers and now friends for many years. Kate goes to him to share all that has happened. Clyde can’t believe it even though he’s just seen it with his own eyes. Kate begins to put together many facts and clues, and things begin to make sense. She even finds Joe and Dulcie to come up with a plan to get back at the murderer and his Welsh partner.

Does all this sound too unbelievable? This is a serious mystery novel in which some of the characters happen to be cats that can read and speak. It makes for some interesting sleuthing and clever ways to report in to the police without losing their anonymity. They just want to continue living their lives in Molena Point with the many residents we come to know over the upcoming books. And they want to help their friends whenever possible. This and the upcoming novels are all captivating stories of friends and neighbors and the lives they live side by side. They are a true example of community.

2 people found this helpful

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Just Not My Kind Of Mystery

Would you ever listen to anything by Shirley Rousseau Murphy again?

Maybe, but it would have to be something out of this arena altogether.

Any additional comments?

It was just too creepy. Cats understanding us and vice versa is fine. But, when people turn into cats and the frequent in depth descriptions of what cats find wonderful about killing and eating other animals was just too much for me.

6 people found this helpful

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A little confusing at first.

I just finished this book. It was so strange & confusing! I almost didn’t finish it because I thought maybe I had read this out of sequence and missed the first book. So I started reading everything I could find about this book. Apparently the author has another book written in 1992 called “The catswold portal” about cats that can turn from human to cat and back. It is not part of this series and not available in audio but just reading about that book helped me understand this book so I was able to finish it. I also read that this first book is meant to introduce you to all the characters fir the future books in the series. The last half of this book was much more interesting and fun to listen to after I finally understood what I was listening to. Now I am looking forward to the rest of the series. And I wish I could listen to that book from 1992 on audio!

1 person found this helpful

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A great find

This book was not exactly what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it. It's not a genre I normally would read much, I tend to prefer straight mysteries when I read them, without any "gimmicks" but I will definitely be picking up more books in this series.

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Cat on the Edge

Loved it. Looking forward to number 2 in the series. I love cats, am retired and have nothing but time on my hands and a new book series to look forward to!

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  • CL
  • 10-31-20

Great series!

The problem with this series is that it’s hard to stop listening so I can get other work done. It is very well written . . . One of those stories where your brain starts thinking that it is all real. I am a cat person but greatly appreciate that these books are not ‘cutesy’. Undoubtedly I will listen to these books again and again. And the narration is perfect.

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me - wow

loved it as a cat lover it hit home can't wait to read the next one

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A cat turns detective

Joe Grey is a cat who has been through a lot of changes in the last week or two. He can suddenly understand human language. Sitting with his human, Clyde, while Clyde reads out loud to him, he finds he can even read the words on the page. That's unsettling enough. Then he discovers he can speak human language. Joe does not regard this as a Great Step Forward. It's very upsetting to him. He likes being a cat. Clyde's human friends are a lot more annoying, now that he can understand their conversation--entirely focused on things cats consider trivial. But he might have found ways to appreciate these changes, with some time. Instead, he and one of his cat friends, Dulcie, who has experienced the same changes, witness the murder of a business associate of Clyde's. And the killer sees them. Not only sees them, but apparently realizes that they can tell what they've seen--that they are witnesses who matter. They each go home, Joe to Clyde and Dulcie to Wilma, but it's not long before they both realize the killer knows where they live. They're on the run, and they need to solve the crime if they are ever going to be able to be safe again. They start investigating, and discover the human world is ridiculously complicated. Clyde runs a service garage in space he rents from a car dealership, and part of the deal is providing service to the dealership's cars. He connected with the owner of the dealership originally through an old school acquaintance, Jimmy Osborn, who is employed as the manager. Jimmy is married to Kate, whom Clyde really likes, and is friendlier with than Jimmy, but, you know, married to Jimmy. The owner of the dealership, Samuel Beckwhite, is the man who was murdered. He was married to Sheril, who has been having an affair with Jimmy. Jimmy has a connection with Lee whose last name I won't even guess at the spelling of. (I listened to the audiobook.) Lee is Welsh, and he grew up listening to all sorts of Welsh stories about cats, which, yes, is highly relevant to events. This book was first published in 1996, and in some respects it shows its age. It's trivial that this is set some years before cellphones were everywhere, and this piece of tech we take for granted comes up only in passing, near the end, as something the mayor thinks is too fancy and expensive for the police, who could really use them. More annoying for the current reader will be he fact that there's some lazy stereotyping, the slut-shaming of Sheril, and the Latino waiter who doesn't speak English too good. Kate is a housewife, making Jimmy's home beautiful and a good showplace for his success.This was still pretty normal for the time, and Wilma, for instance, has a very different background. It's still a bit jarring for today's readers, though. I will say, in Kate's and Murphy's defense, when push comes to shove, she proves to be no spineless pushover. I enjoyed this. It's a lot of fun. It does have some flaws, though, and won't be for everyone. I bought this audiobook.

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  • Pam Clingan
  • 08-01-19

Shame about the accent

Loved this but clearly the narrator has no clue as to the difference between an Irish and Welsh accent!!!