cover image The Company of Cats

The Company of Cats

Marian Babson / Author Minotaur Books $20.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0

Annabel Hinchly-Smythe, who makes a living selling hot items to gossip columns, is worrying about money during a particularly dry social season when a chance encounter with wealthy computer magnate Arthur Arbuthnot leads to the promise of a lucrative job. Arbuthnot, mistaking Annabel's profession, wants her to redecorate his dreary flat, and Annabel, though more accustomed to collecting tidbits of scandal than swatches of fabric, decides to give it a go. Meeting the ghastly assortment of staff and family surrounding Arbuthnot, Annabel observes that only the tycoon's cat, Sally, seems genuinely fond of him. When Arbuthnot meets an apparently accidental death, it looks as if Annabel will have to go back to the columns. But then the tycoon's officious secretary attempts to lure Sally to her death, and Annabel sneaks the feline safely off the premises and is drawn into dastardly doings. After Arbuthnot's will truly puts the pigeon among the cats--by naming Sally as his chief heir--Annabel must sniff out the truth behind his death in order to keep Sally from using up her nine lives. The humor is playful rather than clawed in this slinky feline extravaganza from veteran author Babson (Canapes for the Kitties, etc.). (Mar.)