cover image The Cat, the Devil, and Lee Fontana

The Cat, the Devil, and Lee Fontana

Shirley Rousseau Murphy and Pat J.J. Murphy. Morrow, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-226878-5

Fans of Murphy's long-running mystery series featuring talking tomcat Joe Grey (Cat Bearing Gifts, etc.) will welcome this offbeat prequel, a supernatural thriller written with her husband, Pat. An initial author's note, which refers to an "interval" between the earthly lives of a yellow tomcat named Misto, serves as a useful stage-setter. In his spirit form, Misto "sees more clearly through time and space and observes more sharply the temptations of evil that haunt" Lee Fontana, a bank robber paroled from prison in 1947. The authors don't mess around. The devil himself is the force whispering in Fontana's ear, hoping to add Fontana to his ranks of lost souls. Misto, who knew Fontana as a child, is determined to protect him from Satan. Newcomers should be prepared for some heavy-handed plotting. Agent: Martha Millard, Martha Millard Literary. (Feb.)