cattery row
Someone is stealing show cats, and when a kindly breeder is implicated, Theda Krakow determines to uncover the truth. But when Theda is attacked and her pals start acting strange, the feline-friendly freelance writer realizes that more than pedigree pusses are at stake - and that not all the competition is in the ring.
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Tough times have hit Theda Krakow, a freelance journalist. She had a blowup with Tim, an editor of The Boston Morning Mail, which means she isn’t writing for them any more. Plus she’s not sure about her relationship with Bill, a Boston homicide detective.

Her friends are having their own problems. Rose has received a blackmail phone call. She doesn’t have the money they asked for. If she doesn’t pay, they will kill her cats. Violet has had some sick kittens stolen from her shelter.

Theda gets hired to write a follow up about 4 women. Her friend Rose is one of those women. When Theda goes to interview her, she finds Rose murdered. She figures the blackmailer killed her. The police figure she was involved in the string of robberies of purebred cats.

To muddy the waters even more, her ex-boyfriend returns. Should Theda get back with him or work on her relationship with Bill?

Can Theda figure out who the killer is and what is really going on without using up her one life?

I really enjoy Theda. She’s such a fun character. I love the Boston setting as well. I like this series with cats. The author really knows cats. That comes through in the way she has them interact with the humans. Yet, she doesn’t feel a need to make them “talk.”

I felt this was even better than her debut novel in this series. I can’t wait for the next one to be published. I highly recommend this book.

Dawn Dowdle

In Simon's satisfying second kitty cozy (after 2005's Mew Is for Murder ), spunky Boston journalist Theda Krakow and her feline friend, Musetta, are plunged into a crazy quilt of cat-related crime. In recent months, eight catteries near Beantown have been broken into, and expensive show cats stolen. Theda is puzzled over these thefts-without documents of their lineage, the cats are practically worthless, so why would anyone steal them- Then, one of Theda's friends, eccentric cat-breeder Rose Keller, lets on that she's received some threatening phone calls. A few days later, Rose turns up dead. Meanwhile, a blues singer called Cool tells Theda that she's being blackmailed. Someone has evidence that Cool has been drinking and using prescription drugs. (This is the weakest strand in the plot - would a celebrity musician shell out big bucks to keep a little pill-popping secret.) With its well-developed cast of characters and a multilayered plot, this feline mystery is the cat's meow.

Publishers Weekly, Copyright 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Clea Simon ensnares you immediately in her latest mystery, "Cattery Row" (Poisoned Pen Press, $29.95). Don't expect a cutesy-pie story with kitties romping around. Simon's sleuth, Theda Krakow, hunts down cat-napped show cats. An established newspaper woman (like Simon) with a solid background in punk rock music and a cool cat herself with a coterie of hip friends, Theda is determined to collect the cats and solve the murder of a breeder among a colorful group of suspects. She held me captive, only stopping for food and drink, until the final denouement.

At the recent Cat Writers Association conference in California, Simon won the prestigious Muse Medallion (the Oscar for cat writers) in the fiction book category and then snagged the coveted President's Award, chosen among all Muse Medallion winners (30 this time) for her last mystery, “Mew Is for Murder.” I can hardly wait for the next in the Theda series. . . .

Joan Lowell Smith, Newark Star-Ledger Season's readings for pet lovers Sunday, December 10, 2006

Someone is stealing the show cats of Boston. And Theda Krakow, freelance journalist and cat lover, wants to know why.

Cattery Row is Clea Simon's second entry in the series, and it finds Theda caught up in murder and extortion, as well as the cat thefts. The mystery's a winner, but the real appeal of Simon's work is Theda herself -- torn between two lovers, trying to make her freelance career work, balancing her eccentric friends, trying to stay active in the rock-club scene.

Cat-themed mysteries are often classified as "cozies," but "Cattery Row" is, if not hard-boiled, nowhere near cute -- except, of course, for the cats. Simon writes with grit, and in Theda, she has created a flawed and sometimes infuriating protagonist, one readers will want to see for many more lives. . . .

Jay Strafford, Richmond Times Dispatch