Sep 5 2017 1:00pm

The Great (Cat) Detectives

As a writer who features cats in both of my cozy mystery series—Owen and Hercules in the Magical Cats mysteries and Elvis in the Second Chance Cat mysteries (written as Sofie Ryan)—I admit I have a soft spot for books that feature cats. It’s too hard to decide which furry feline I like best, so instead, here are my five favorite Great Cat Detectives.

Diesel from the Cat in the Stacks series by Miranda James

The Cat in the Stacks series features Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, who live in the fictional town of Athena, Mississippi. Like Kathleen Paulson in my Magical Cats mysteries, Charlie is a kind-hearted librarian who somehow keeps getting tied up in murder. Diesel is a typical cat—no superpowers or talking for him—and while he tends to fall more into the role of a Dr. Watson when it comes to Charlie’s sleuthing, the story wouldn’t be the same without the big lovable fur ball. 

Nick from the Nick and Nora mysteries by T. C. Lotempio

Nick is a stray black-and-white tuxedo cat who shows up one night on Nora Charles’s doorstep. He lived with PI Nick Atkins before the detective went missing. Nora is a former reporter turned sandwich shop owner who can’t seem to stay away from the crime beat entirely. Nick (the cat), who used to be known as Sherlock, has a talent for catching criminals. This furry sleuth is definitely not your typical cat. His fondness for spelling things out with Scrabble tiles proves that.

The author is also human to her own tuxedo cat, Rocco. The fact that Rocco and I are cyber-pals has nothing to do with Nick making this list. I swear.

Eddie from the Bookmobile Mysteries by Laurie Cass

Like Miranda James’s Diesel, rescue cat Eddie is a library cat—to be specific, he’s a bookmobile cat in Chilson, Michigan, riding along with librarian Minnie Hamilton. Minnie and Eddie have a knack for stumbling into murder. 

I love Eddie because while he may be a pretty typical cat day to day in the story—he was inspired by the author’s own cat—he has cattitude. And while he may not have any super powers to help catch the bad guys, Eddie always lends a helping paw in bringing the culprit to justice. 

O’Ryan from the Witch City mysteries by Carol J. Perry

How could I not add O’Ryan to this list? Lee Barrett and her Aunt Ibby inherit the cat after his previous owner, late night TV psychic Ariel Constellation, is killed. It seems that Ariel was a practicing witch, and O’Ryan may have been her familiar. He’s a pretty savvy kitty with some special abilities of his own, and Lee quickly learns to pay attention to what O’Ryan is trying to tell her—even when she’s not sure which way his “clues” are pointing. 

An extra bonus to this series is the setting: Salem, Massachusetts—home of the infamous Salem Witch Trials.

Koko and Yum Yum from the Cat Who mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun

Koko and Yum Yum are Siamese cats that live with Jim “Qwill” Qwilleran. Koko is the primary crime-solving feline in Jackson’s long-running series—there are 29 books. His special skill is his sixth sense about people and situations. Koko has a variety of ways to communicate what he knows to Qwill. Of course, Qwill being human, he doesn’t always understand right away.

While Yum Yum doesn’t seem to have any special abilities, she is very adept with her paws, able to flip a switch or open a drawer easily. Koko has the aristocratic demeanor and bearing often attributed to Siamese cats, which is part of the charm of the books.

It’s been suggested to me that cats, in reality, would make terrible detectives given their independent streak and propensity for long naps in the sunshine. Clearly, that’s the kind of reasoning that would be spread by … well … a dog! 

Read an excerpt from A Tale of Two Kitties!


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Sofie Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author and mixed-media artist who lives on the East Coast with her husband and daughter. She writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Cats Mysteries (Paws and Effect, Faux Paws, A Midwinter’s Tail) and, as Sofie Ryan, writes the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat Mysteries (Telling Tails, A Whisker of Trouble, Buy a Whisker).

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