It is almost time for The Wrecker's Ball, an annual charitable affair in Crozet, Virginia that everybody, except for cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Corgi Tee Tucker, attends. Even their person, Mary "Harry" Haristeen is going to attend with her ex-husband, Fair, who is constantly trying to get back in her good graces.

The ball is a smash but not in the way they hoped, for one of the organizers is discovered there, no longer alive. Within days of the ball, another body is found in the woods. The animals know who is behind the dastardly deeds but they're not able to communicate this information to Harry.

When the new body's identification proves to be bogus, it's as much of a mystery who he is as why and how he died. When a small fortune in cash turns up, it is Harry, with the help of her cats and dog, who finally offers a solution to the crime spree.

CATCH AS CAT CAN is a delightful read, made all the more so by the interaction of the pets with each other and their humans. Although the plot strains credulity in parts, the charm of the animals overcomes this. (Mar., 320 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg