Tag Archive: cozy

Death Light Moon


Death by the Light of the Moon by Joan Hess was something I picked up from a Friends of the Library sale, a paperback mystery marking itself as A Claire Malloy Mystery. I’d never heard of the series, but the description was interesting. An eccentric, rich elderly lady dies the evening of a party that was meant to reveal her heirs. The protagonist is there by virtue of being a daughter-in-law, and barely knows the family.

The basic plot is grounded in the “cozy” style of mystery– the murder takes place in a somewhat remote area, limiting the suspects mostly to the family, with a few hints about something more being afoot. The protagonist is not a professional detective, just someone with a knack for coming across trouble and ask questions. As the story goes on, it becomes a bit less cozy in both the genre and descriptive sense, as more bodies turn up and the protagonist becomes a target, giving a bit more of a thriller vibe at times.

I found this to be not only satisfying as a mystery. The author has a sense of humor and a way with words. The prose makes for a light, easy read, and yet there are digs, gentle in some cases, hard in others, at real ways in which worse aspects of human nature tend to surface, reminiscent of Jane Austen, or perhaps P.G. Wodehouse. From the self-absorbed digressions of a teen, to the small-town police who almost prioritize getting along over getting answers (but who do change their approach appropriately as events unfurl), to the sexism and racism causing real, secret problems for a family of Southern aristocrats, the foibles are observed with wit and honesty. The protagonist even has her own failings

It would have definitely been worth buying at full price, and I look forward to finding more of the series.

Cat Playing CupidMy Rating: 5 STARS

This fourteenth outing for the Joe Grey Mystery Series was both fun and intriguing for me. While I haven’t read the full series yet, I did read the earliest books and was quickly drawn into this wonderful world where some cats can speak and think on par with humans, while others cannot.

Miss Murphy keeps each story building on this mystery either slightly or heavily. In this case it was more heavily focused on while at the same time dealing with a classic whodunnit.  What is the connection between a body, dead 10 years, up in Oregon to the mysterious disappearance of a local man who was going on a hike locally? And when a second body, also dead some 10 years is discovered in an unmarked grave, the big questions arises to this person’s identity. Could this one be the missing local man? If not, then who is it?  And why were they buried with a book that frightens the cats, because it contains hints about them?

These are just a few of the questions that arise in this book.  We also get to see a bit more of the lives of some of these intelligent/talking cats.  Not all wish to live among humans.  Many are feral and distrustful of humans.  Yet they understand that there are some they can reach out to for help in a major crisis.  The scenes where the ferals reach out to those they believe they can trust can be quite touching and moving.  We see their point of view of their world, as well as the humans viewpoint.  We may not entirely agree with either side but the author gives us food for thought.  She makes us take a look at some of the relationships we’ve had over time with people in our own lives who had very different ideas about themselves and the world.

Another nice touch to these books is that they do not focus solely on the cats themselves but the people in their lives. It is an ensemble piece that keeps growing and evolving, along with the characters themselves. We are slowly introduced to more and more of the many residents of Molena Point (which is modeled upon Carmel California where the author resides).

This is an excellent series that keeps you coming back for more. You’ll find yourself cheering for the cats and their people, as well as a number of the secondary characters who keep the series growing. One of the more feel-good mystery series you want to curl up with on a quiet day and maybe make you wonder about any four-footed friends in your life.

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