It’s the 8th of August 2022, International Cat Day, so of course, its time for a catty post! Well, not just a catty post, but a cats and books post (Literary Potpourri is after all home to Keli Cat’s Book Corner). Cats of course have become quite a regular feature in mystery and detective fiction, especially in cosies these days, but today’s post takes a look at a few series and stories where cats are not simply the detective’s pet or sidekick, but the detectives themselves.
The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency Series by Mandy MOrton
And what better place to start than the wonderful and enjoyable series created by author Mandy Morton which plays on literary and popular culture but also gives us very solid and engaging mysteries. Meet Hetty Bagshot and Tilly Jenkins, two tabbies who form the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency located in a typical English village but this one in a cat-world. The cats in this world are anthropomorphic, and the mysteries they are faced with are very much in the human realm involving human motivations too, but the atmosphere is lightened by the lovely cat touches that Morton gives this world. And, yes, there’s plenty for food lovers to enjoy too, for these tabbies are forever eating (human food), and they also happen to live right above the bakery run by the Butter sisters! In their latest outing which I just reviewed a while ago, The Cat and the Pendulum, the two were tasked by none other than Agatha Crispy to retrieve a lost manuscript!
Felidae by Akif Pirinçci
In a series begun in 1989, and written in German by Turkish-German author Akif Pirinçci, the first book, Felidae tells the story of Francis, a house cat who tries to catch the murderers of his feline friends in a German city. His first mystery involves a cult and a computer whizz (feline of course), and also a perceptive Persian! These stories go into ethical and philosophical questions like the relationship between people and animals. There are eight books in the series, but I think not all are available in translation.
This series by Robert J. Smith features two cat detectives, Yoshi and Gatsby who solve cases involving pets. In the first mystery, Petectives (2012), they help a pretty young cat find her missing brother, encountering a gang of criminal pitbulls and the dog police; while their third adventure Under Fire (2014) they face an old enemy and take on a gang of animal criminals while also clearing a dog off a horrible accusation!
Sam the Cat Mystery Series by Linda Stewart
This is not a series I’ve read yet, but this Edgar-nominated set of books appear to play on the hardboiled detective/Sam Spade/Humphrey Bogart template (one of the four books in the series is The Maltese Kitten). A former police detective who is now a PI, in the first book, Sam the Cat Detective, is approached by a pretty young cat who purrs out her unhappy tale and he finds himself hired to look for a missing jade necklace, but is the petty young cat quite so innocent as she looks? In The Big Catnap, he must solve the case of the missing star of cat food commercials, Sandy! This is a children’s series, but a tribute to noir fiction.
The Cat Who Caught a Killer by L.T. Shearer
This is a forthcoming title which I’m yet to read but have waiting on my TBR and in which a cat detective partners with a person to solve the mystery in question. We have Lulu Lewis, a former police detective, who has moved to the country to begin life anew on a boat after her husband’s death. She visits her mother-in-law, Emily, in a nearby care facility. But when Emily dies mysteriously, Lulu is suspicious. Then she meets a detective unlike any she’s met before, Conrad the cat.
Max the Detective Cat by Sarah Todd Taylor
A pampurred cat, chief mouser at the Theatre Royal, Max stumbles upon his first case when the diva, Madame Emerald is acting strangely, afraid to sing while her maid seems terrified. Soon he is drawn into a case which draws him into a complicated web of crime, and across the London rooftops to catch a clever thief. This children’s series has three books and is illustrated by Nicola Kinnear.
Cold Snap: A Viking Cat Mystery by Codi Schneider
Bijou, a Norwegian Forest Cat, whose ancestors were mousers on Viking ships, lives with her human Spencer and Pomeranian Skunk, running the Fox Borrough Pet Inn. Handsome baker Eddy Line arrives to stay with a pot-bellied pig and pit bull pup as he plans to open a bakery in town. Then a murder and dopnapping occur on the night of the bakery’s opening, and Bijou is thrust into a tangled mystery. For this she must channel her inner Viking and fight tooth and claw!
So that was my list of books featuring feline detectives for this International Cat Day. It is by no means an exhaustive one but gives you an idea of the fun books out there. For a full catalogue of books with cats in them (in major roles, and across genres) and other fun cat and book posts, do stop by Keli Cat’s Book Corner.