Talking cats once again run rings around their human detective counterparts in this latest return to Molina Point, California.
As if he’d just been waiting for his cancer-stricken mother to die, Nevin Luther has followed his brothers, Varney and DeWayne, in abandoning his father, recently widowed farmer Zebulon Luther. His son is no great loss, Zeb reflects ruefully; the heartbreak is that Nevin and his wife, Thelma, have taken their 12-year-old daughter, Mindy, who really loved the old man and wanted to stay with him. No one can feel the depth of Zeb’s loss like sleuthing tomcat Joe Grey, whose own daughter, Courtney, is kidnapped (catnapped?) from a street a few blocks away from the spot where Joe had found an unidentified woman beaten and half-buried. After Joe, taking advantage of his speaking and dialing abilities, phones in his discovery to 911, Police Chief Max Harper and his force assume that both Maurita, the victim of the beach attack, and a suspiciously gloved library patron Joe Grey alertly spotted are connected to a daring rash of robberies whose most recent victim is restaurateur Jon Jaarel. But how long will they take to realize that Nevin Luther’s bank balance has reached over $1 million? And how can they possibly find time in the middle of such a crime wave to search for Courtney? Never fear: As usual in this venerable series (Cat Shining Bright, 2017, etc.), the well-meaning human professionals are utterly outclassed by Joe Grey and his feline cohort, the most activist and competent among the current bevy of fictional detecting cats.
The ambitious serial-robbery scheme is mainly a pretext for an endless series of chases involving cats, people, or cats and people, climaxing in some teary-eyed reflections on the power of love involving—well, you know who.