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Tag: mystery

Cold Clay: A Murder Mystery by Juneau Black – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Cold Clay: A Murder Mystery by Juneau Black.
Philadelphia, PA, Hammer & Birch, November 2017, trade paperback, $12.95 (198 {+ 1] pages), Kindle $4.99.

This sequel to Shady Hollow: A Murder Mystery, described as “a Murder, She Wrote with animals”, is a worthy followup to it. Again the cast is:

Vera Vixen: This cunning, foxy reporter has a nose for trouble and a desire to find out the truth, no matter where the path leads.

Deputy Orville Braun: This large brown bear is the more hardworking half of the Shady Hollow constabulary. He works by the book. But his book has half the pages ripped out.

Joe Elkin: This genial giant of a moose runs the town coffee shop – the local gathering spot. If gossip is spoken, Joe has heard it, but this time, he is the gossip.”

And too many others to list here. Cold Clay takes place several months after the events in Shady Hollow.   The animal inhabitants of the village of Shady Hollow are settling back into their peaceful routine – newspaper reporter Vera Vixen might call it boring – when the rabbit farm workers of Cold Clay Orchards who are transplanting an apple tree find the skeleton of a moose buried beneath it.

The news soon spreads, and all thoughts turn to the popular moose proprietor of Joe’s Mug, Shady Hollow’s coffee shop. Joe’s wife Julia disappeared eleven years ago. She was flighty and hadn’t wanted to stay in what she considered a nowheresville, so when she vanished, leaving Joe with their baby son, everyone assumed that she had walked out on them. But a moose’s skeleton, which is soon determined to be the missing Julia’s, and that she was murdered, sets all Shady Hollow talking again. There’s not really any evidence against Joe, but there isn’t against anyone else, either.

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Les Ailes du Singe. T.1, Wakanda, by Etienne Willem – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

1969_couvLes Ailes du Singe. T.1, Wakanda, by Étienne Willem.
Geneva, Switzerland, Éditions Paquet, May 2016, hardbound €14,00 (48 pages).

This is another fine entry in Lex Nakashima’s & my project to bring American furry fans the best of new French-language animalière bandes dessinées. We covered Étienne Willem’s previous four-volume L’Épée d’Ardenois, set about the 13th century with knights in armor. Les Ailes du Singe, The Wings of the Monkey, is considerably different. It’s set in New York in 1933, with knights of the skies.

It’s March 1933, in the depths of the Depression. Tens of thousands of people are out of work, eating in soup kitchens and living in Hoovervilles. Harry Faulkner (monkey), a top pilot in the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I, and the owner of his own barnstorming and movie stunt-flying Jenny biplane during the ‘20s, has fallen on hard times; but he’s not so desperate that he’ll take a job as a common mechanic. He complains to his girlfriend, Betty Laverne (deer), a newspaper reporter for the Herald, and to his own mechanic, Lumpy (pig), that he wants a job that will let him fly.

Meanwhile, the mayor of New York (rabbit) is gambling on jump-starting a return to prosperity – and advancing his own political career – by sponsoring a fleet of high-profile dirigibles (which the mayor secretly owns a share of) powered by synthetic helium, that will replace the railroads in crossing America in comfort and speed. The first of them, the Navy dirigible Wakanda, is about to cast off from the Empire State Building on its posh maiden voyage to California. The flight is covered by Betty.

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Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

sixes-echoesSixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun. Illlustrated.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, June 2016, trade paperback $15.95 (155 pages).

This is a mature content book.  Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region.

This short novel is a sequel to O’Kun’s Sixes Wild: Manifest Destiny, an anthropomorphic-animal Western published by Sofawolf Press in June 2011. That won the 2012 Cóyotl Award in the Best Mature Novel category, and was a nominee for the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award in the Best Short Novel category. (For the record, there has also been a promotional 8-page Sixes Wild: The Bluff comic book, illustrated by Sidian.)

Echoes begins where Manifest Destiny ended. The setting is White Rock, Arizona Territory, a stereotypical dusty early 20th-century Western town (they have newfangled electric lights) except that the townsfolk are all anthro animals – sort of. (I still haven’t figured out how a big-winged fruit bat sheriff who flies and hangs by his feet upside town in his sheriff’s office can ride a horse.) The main characters are Jordan Blake, the fruit bat sheriff, and Six Shooter, a rugged hare bounty hunter. What nobody knows (well, they pretty much do by now) is that Six is really a crossdressing female, and she and the sheriff are secret lovers. Very graphic lovers; this is a mature content book.

Manifest Destiny ends with Six going after Tanner Hayes, the arrogant lion mine-owner revealed to be a villain who goes on the run. Echoes begins with Six coming back to town empty-pawed.

“‘Thought you had a lion to run down.’

‘Hayes has gone to ground. Haven’t got mah gun back either.”” (p. 7)

Meanwhile, she’s heard a new rumor that interests her.

“She rests her paws on those revolvers, one a silver heirloom, the other a blue steel substitute. ‘A spot of treasure hunting.’

I look up from my bookkeeping to take account of Six. One never can tell how serious she takes her tomfoolery.

‘Ah’ve been hearin’ rumors.’ She brushes the dust from her fluffy tail. ‘Folk tell of a cliff-house with all manner of lost riches.’

With a sigh, I lean back in my chair, steeple my wings, and put away the pen with one foot. ‘I wouldn’t put much stock in saloon scuttlebutt.’

‘Nor would ah, but ah heard it from an old ‘yote traveling with the circus.’

My wing fingers interlace. I wish I knew her better, and not just because I’d like to know if she’s poking fun at me. ‘If he knew where all this treasure was, why was he traveling with a circus?’

‘He said it was cursed.’ Her dexterous paws dance theatrically. ‘Everybody who went lookin’ met a grisly end.’” (p. 8)

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Cat Crimebusters and Other P.I.’s on Paws, Part 5 – Book Reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Cat Crimebusters, Part 1

Cat Crimebusters, Part 2

Cat Crimebusters, Part 3

Cat Crimebusters, Part 4

As far as I am concerned, all of the other “cat cozy” series with cat detectives are phonies. The only two that “sort of” qualify are (1) the Magical Cats Mysteries by Sofie Kelly.

51lAhNCv3iL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_51PrlAw68UL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_51XL0-l2BkL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_Curiosity Thrilled the Cat. February 2011.

Sleight of Paw. September 2011.

Copycat Killing. May 2012.

Cat Trick. February 2013.

Final Catcall. October 2013.

A Midwinter’s Tail. October 2014.

Faux Paw. October 2015.

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Cat Crimebusters and Other P.I.s on Paws, Part 4 – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Cat Crimebusters, Part 1

Cat Crimebusters, Part 2

Cat Crimebusters, Part 3

UntitledCat Crimebusters and Other P.I.s on Paws, Part 4

Three series that are not “cat cozies” (and one which is), that do feature cat P.I.s who really investigate, are the Manx McCatty Adventures by Christopher Reed, the Sam the Cat Detective novels by Linda Stewart, the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers by Cindy Vincent, and the Cats on the Prowl books by Nancy C. Davis. These are fantasies where the cats do all the detecting, mostly in feline societies. The first two are hard-boiled P.I. pastiches set almost entirely in the feline world.

A Manx McCatty Adventure: The Big Scratch. November 1988.

Manx McCatty, a streetwise San Francisco feline P.I., is hired by “respectable cream-lickers” to break up Gato Nostro crimelord Tabby Tonelli’s racket of snatching gentle, comely female housecats to sell into prostitution abroad.

Reed apparently considered this as the first in a series, but the Ballantine original paperback didn’t sell. A sequel was written, but wasn’t published until October 1996, and then only in Germany as Der Fluch der Weißen Katze: Ein kerniger Katzenkrimi. Translation: The Curse of the White Cat: A Polynuclear Cat Crime. The Big Scratch was translated as Die Katzen-Gang the previous year; both by Bastei Lübbe Verlag.

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Zootopia – movie review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

posters-for-disneys-zootopia-and-pixars-finding-doryZootopia, directed by Bryon Howard and Rich Moore; co-directed by Jared Bush; produced by Walt Disney Motion Pictures. 108 minutes. March 4, 2016.

Zootopia has already been anticipated, seen, and covered more thoroughly than any other anthropomorphic motion picture in furry fandom history.

We know that its theatrical release has stretched from February 10 in Belgium to April 23 in Japan. (Dogpatch Press has covered its furry fandom theater parties throughout the U.S. and in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, and Sweden.) We know that it was originally intended to be released as Zootopia worldwide, but due to various legal reasons it has become Zootropola in Croatia, Zootopie in France, Zoomania in Germany, Zootropolis in Denmark, Spain, and other countries, Zveropolis in Russia, and Zwierzogród in Poland.

It grossed $75,063,401 on its opening weekend in 3,827 theaters in the U.S. and $232,500,000 worldwide, breaking the records for the premiere of a Disney animated feature (Frozen with $67,400,000 in November 2013) and for any March animated feature (Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax; $70,200,000 in March 2012). Its voice cast features Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps, Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde, and numerous others ranging from celebrity actors to professional voice actors, and including directors Howard, Moore, and Bush as minor characters. It debuted with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 92 reviews. Disney reportedly hired at least one marketing agency to promote Zootopia to the furry community.

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Cats on the Prowl, by Nancy C. Davis – book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

cats on the prowl book 1Cats on the Prowl, Book One, by Nancy C. Davis
Melbourne, Victoria, Collins Collective, August 2015, paperback $7.89 (iii + 176 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Cats on the Prowl, Book Two, by Nancy C. Davis
Melbourne, Victoria, Collins Collective, October 2015, paperback $7.98 (iii + 174 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Cats on the Prowl, Book Three, by Nancy C. Davis
Melbourne, Victoria, Collins Collective, November 2015, paperback $7.98 (iii + 170 pages), Kindle $2.99.

All three novels have the subtitle “A Cat Detective Cozy Mystery Series”. They are set in very large type. Make that:

They are set in very large type.

They would probably be less than 100 pages each in normal-sized type. Nevertheless, like most cat cozies, they are presented as adult novels, although they are more suitable for Young Adults.

It also depends upon how you define “cat cozy mysteries”. They are usually light mystery novels with a human young woman amateur detective, who is helped or at least followed in her investigations by her pet cats. The three Cats on the Prowl novels are unusual in having anthropomorphized cat detectives doing all the crime-solving.

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Shady Hollow: A Murder Mystery, by Juneau Black – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

titleShady Hollow: A Murder Mystery, by Juneau Black.
Philadelphia, PA, Hammer & Birch, October 2015, paperback $12.95 ([1] + 197 [+1] pages), Kindle $4.99.

This is a stereotypical murder mystery except for the funny animal cast. Shady Hollow is a small forest animal town where everybody knows everybody else. They’re all friendly, except maybe for grumpy toad Otto Stumpf.  But he’s considered cranky but lovable – until the morning that he’s found floating face down in the mill pond with a knife in his back.

Almost all the reviews call Shady Hollow “a Murder, She Wrote with animals”. The book begins with a Cast of Characters:

Otto Stumpf: The grouchy, taciturn toad of Shady Hollow. Not many folk admit to liking Otto. The better question is who hates him.

Vera Vixen: This cunning, foxy reporter has a nose for trouble and a desire to find out the truth. Can she trust anyone around her?

BW Stone: The cigar-chomping skunk of an editor of the Shady Hollow Herald. BW (“Everything in black and white!”) loves a good headline. Would he kill to create one?” (p. 1)

The Cast goes on to profile thirteen others such as the lazy bear police chief, his bear deputy who does all the work, the hummingbird town gossip, the moose coffee shop owner, the beaver industrialist, and the raccoon small-time thief. Each is described suspiciously. As the popular coffee-shop proprietor, “If gossip is spoken, Joe has heard it. Maybe he heard too much.” As Vera investigates, everyone turns out to have a secret that he or she would rather keep hidden. But are any of the secrets serious enough to lead to murder? And how would a recluse like Otto have learned them?

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Cat Crimebusters and Other P.I.’s On Paws, Part 3 – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Cat Crimebusters, Part 1.

Cat Crimebusters, Part 2.

cat on the edgeThis third animal crime series is what I consider to be the first in which the cats genuinely detect to solve human crimes. No pussyfooting in the background while the human amateur detective solves the crimes. This is the Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Joe and his feline assistants Dulcie and Kit are talking cats fully in the human world. They have their human helpers, but they do all the important detecting. There aren’t as many Joe Grey novels as there are Midnight Louie or Mrs. Murphy novels, but there are eighteen; and there will be a nineteenth next February.

Cat on the Edge. April 1996.

Cat Under Fire. November 1996.

Cat Raise the Dead. May 1997.

Cat in the Dark. January 1999.

Cat to the Dogs. January 2000.

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Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers – Book Reviews by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Case of the Cat ShowThe Case of the Cat Show Princess, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, November 2011, trade paperback $9.97 (162 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, October 2013, trade paperback $9.97 (170 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, September 2014, trade paperback $9.97 (242 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Case of the Clever Secret Code, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, October 2015, trade paperback $10.97 (222 pages), Kindle $2.99.

“Cat cozy” adult mystery series in which talking cats actively detect crimes have become very popular, though arguably more with cat-fanciers and some mystery fans (others revile them) than with furry fans. The Midnight Louie series by Carole Nelson Douglas, the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown, and the Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy have made cat-detective fantasies both popular and respectable. Here, then, is one for the kiddies that should also be called to furry fans’ attention, especially since it is not obvious on the Amazon.com listings that these are juvenile rather than adult novels.

These four Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers by Cindy Vincent are attractive trade paperbacks published by Vincent’s own Whodunit Press, “A Division of Mysteries by Vincent, LLC”. They are talking-cat detective novels recommended for middle-grade readers, ages 8 to 12. Frankly, they are overly cute adventures mostly suitable for the younger end of that range, which is why I described them as for the kiddies rather than as for kids. As is typical with the most banal of this sub-sub-genre, all the cats can understand human language. In this series, they even regularly speak English as well, except when humans are listening.

“Of course, the humans aren’t exactly aware of our detective duties. Probably because us cats always switch to cat language whenever humans are around.” (The Case of the Clever Secret Code, p. 2)

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