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Book reviews for "Babson,_Marian" sorted by average review score:

Murder at the Cat Show
Published in Paperback by Strategic Planning Management (October, 2002)
Author: Marian Babson
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Murder most feline
MURDER AT THE CAT SHOW is the ultimate cat mystery. It may not be for everyone, but cat lovers should adore it. This novel caters well to its target audience and anyone who fails to see the fun in it must either hate cats or be humor-challenged.

Douglas Perkins is a public relations official for London's prestigious Cats Through the Ages Exhibition. He is indifferent towards the critters, but has every intention of doing his best for his client, the overbearing Rose Chesne-Malvern. Perkins watches the exhibitors as they set up their booths, including those of a kitty litter marketer, the "court" of a TV commercial cat, and a display of two live adult Sumatran tigers. He notices the different ways they each interact with their animals and other exhibitors. Things run rather smoothly at the show until one of its more valuable exhibits is stolen. He then finds this is one job where his agency is really going to work hard for its public relations fee.

It is absolutely brilliant how well Author Marian Babson renders the personalities of all the different cats in her 1972 novel. Among some of the more illustrious feline characters are Pandora the Endearing, Precious Black Jade the Vicious, and Silver Fur the Stupid. Even the tigers are convincingly portrayed. This is obviously someone who has had a lot of experience around cats and shows incredible talent for distinguishing them in fiction.

The protagonist's character growth is stronger here than demonstrated in many other stories of the genre, which comes out through its love story subplot. After Perkins spends one night with his new lover, he is incredibly protective of her. When he's at a point of losing her, we see a life-changing moment.

Babson's prose is crisp and keeps interest. Her style is "sensuous" and without any waste. If criticism must be made, this reviewer noticed Perkins initiates very little of the action until the climax. He's more of an observer watching the conflicts unravel instead of actively investigating himself. On the other hand, the sequence comes together well and with good humor. If the novel is entertaining regardless, is this really a big deal?

MURDER AT THE CAT SHOW makes no pretensions at being a "serious" mystery genre story, but Babson's crafting is nonetheless superb. Readers who like cats will find this short novel a warm and fuzzy high.

Nine Lives to Murder
Published in Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (October, 2002)
Author: Marian Babson
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A funny book
I read this book because it looked interesting, a man and a cat switching bodies, I kind of figured it would be fun. It was. Some parts of this book are very funny and had me laughing out loud. You can tell Marian Babson really got into the cat's mind and it seemed like some parts really were written by a cat. That evil stagehand Woody was really mean and I'm glad he got what he deserved in the end. Also it's good that Winstanley Fortsecue and the Monty got their old bodies back . . . the ending was a happy one . . . that's always good. It was a great mystery and a really fun book to read.

Ultra Cosy
This is a book in the ultra-cosy mystery genre. The feline capers are well-written and it is clear that the author has made careful observations of cat behaviour. The human characters and their motivations, and the situations they find themselves in, are somewhat two dimensional and predictable but that pretty much goes with the cosy territory.

It is a delightful, undemanding read and I look forward to reading more cat mysteries written by this author.

Purrfect little mystery
I admit it. I'm a smart woman who is a sucker for cat mysteries. I can't help it.

I just started reading Babson's books, picking them up here and there, and I very much enjoy them. I like having different characters in every book (rathering than wondering which character in the little town of Catville is going to get murdered this year).

Babson's books are a joy to read. They do not insult your intelligence (as much as other books in this genre), the characters are developed, the stories are interesting.

If you like cat mysteries and have never given Babson a try, please do. You will be very pleasantly surprised. She's quite a good writer, her stories are fun...and you can always be sure the cats never get seriously hurt. ;-)

The Diamond Cat
Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (June, 1996)
Author: Marian Babson
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Cats and diamonds lead to mayhem and murder.
A glittering object drops to the floor. What's a hungry cat to do? Swallow it of course. That is part of the premise of THE DIAMOND CAT by Marian Babson. When a major storm hits a London suburb, a carrier pigeon is the victim. Needless to say, the four felines being boarded by a downtrodden spinster and her demanding mother are more than mildly interested. The bird is carrying a fortune in diamonds, mysterious begin to strangers haunt the neighborhood, and two murders ensue. This fast-paced book by American expatriot Babson will delight readers of traditional British mysteries and cat lovers alike.

Babson Does It Again
No matter how much you may happen to have an aversion to either mysteries and/or cats, one can't help but laugh out loud when the person telling the story is Ms. Babson.

This particular murder mystery is done just as straight-forwarded and written with the dry humor we've come to expect.

No one gives a more accurate picture of the English countryside and the people who live there than Marian Babson: her characters are well defined but she never gets wordy or preachy about it. It is the same with the deaths that take place in her novels: no gruesome details, just facts and good reading.

Do yourself a big favor and pick up this, or any of Ms. Babson's novels: you won't regret it.

Canapes for the Kitties
Published in Audio Cassette by Blackstone Audiobooks (May, 1999)
Authors: Marian Babson and Nadia May
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A cozy village adventure.
CANAPES FOR THE KITTIES starts rather slowly, but it never drags. This light and easy-to-read cozy reminded me a bit of Christie in the atmosphere it built up. About a third of the way into the book, it turns creepy and more interesting. Good premise, nice structure, likeable characters (mostly mystery writers!) -- and I love the cats! I wasn't too happy with the outcome -- I thought MY theory of who did it would have been more interesting! But still worthwhile for the nice, fun visit to a friendly village of eccentrics. Nicely done. This is my first Babson. Now I'll look for more!

Playing Cat-and-Mouse With Mystery Authors
Although feline references play a dominant role on the cover and title of Marian Babson's latest cozy, it is a gallery of mystery writers who do the catting about when they move into the same English neighborhood occupied by a collection of rivals.

The kitties do play a supporting role, a duo named Had-I and But-Known, owned by cozy writer Lucinda Lucas, and Roscoe, by Macho Magee (formerly known as Lancelot Dalrymple). But they act as cats, not as characters on a par with their owners, as seen in Rita Mae Brown's series, nor do they offer hints as to who done it, as in Lillian Jackson Braun.

No, like the cats, Babson wants to play with the English literary scene, so her authors are beset by the neighborhood's new arrivals: the venomous critic Plantagenet Sutton, a college professor who collects writers like some collect butterflies, and a husband-and-wife duo seeking to record in camera and prose a year in the life of a charming English village. Not only that, but the characters in Lucinda and Macho's books seem to be acting up as well, resenting their creators' plans to replace them with other series.

Babson is a writer with a long track record, and she capably serves up in "Canapes for the Kitties" a charming, breezy cozy laced with some tart darts thrown at some tempting targets.

Purrr. . . fect
Dick Francis has his horses, Sue Grafton has her alphabet.

Babson has her cats and they figure in some way (generally quite funny)in each of her mysteries.

This book, like all of Ms. Babson's, is short, a fast read, excellently written and quite funny. She draws her characters quite well and describes the surroundings with such broad strokes that you can almost see it.

While others fall down on the job, with each new title Marian Babson holds onto the title of champion.

To Catch a Cat
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Minotaur (November, 2000)
Author: Marian Babson
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Another Winner from Marian Babson
I have read several, but not all, of the books by Marian Babson. They follow the same pattern in that the police rarely play a major role and the reader usually knows "whodunnit" from the beginning. This book follows in the same manner. What makes Ms. Babson's writing so enjoyable is that no matter who the main character is, in this case an 11-year-old boy, she is able to make him/her believable. She knows exactly what the reactions would be appropriate for the profile of the character. I particularly enjoyed this book because I liked the main character, Robin. The way in which he protects the cat, going so far as to dye and cut its fur among other things, made me want to root for him. Looking forward to the next book from this imaginative author.

Number 36!
They knew he was afraid of heights, and that's why they set this up. If he wanted to be part of the gang he had to climb the tree, get in the house, grab Mrs. Nordling's show cat, and get out. He wants to belong somewhere so he takes his chances. What Robin experiences, no child should. During the unpleasant scene he rescues the cat, but ends up a witness to murder. He doesn't go to the police, but he does hide the cat. He deals with some unsavory people, including relatives. The murderer knows there was a witness; he chased him out of the house. Through the storyline he deals with covering the murder, finding the cat and the witness, and keeping a nosy neighbor at bay.

Readers will know who the murderer is so there is no sleuth or mystery to solve; in fact the police don't play an active part in it, although they are mentioned. Being only 189 pages, it reads as a quick suspenseful story where the author takes the reader back and forth between Robin with his family and the murderer. Robin's life is heart wrenching, and although the path to which he got the cat was not good, having her in his life just might be.

To Catch A Cat
Another gem from Marian Babson! The synopsis for this book is rather accurate so I'll stick to why I liked this mystery novel so much -- it was a really good read. "To Catah A Cat" is a very well written novel that deals, primarily, with kids who feel like outsiders, not quite belonging to any group or anyone; and who have to behave with a level of maturity that they shouldn't have to but which circumstances have forced upon them.

And Marian Babson does a marvellous job at depicting the world of 11 year old Robin: a world in which he has been unceremoniously unloaded onto his young aunt, Mags, while his mother and her new husband have an extended honeymoon; a world in which he has, currently, very few friends, and in which he is very much resented by his aunt's live-in lover, Josh; and a world in which he is presently in trouble up to his eyeballs because he broke into the Nordling house in order to steal a valueable cat so that he could be part of a gang, and instead stumbled onto a murder scene. Robin doesn't have much faith in adults. From his outlook he has been severely let down by every adult in his life and he doesn't feel as if he could trust either Mags or Josh with the truth of what happened at the Nordling house. And so Robin soldiers on, trying to take care of the cat he rescued while he keeps an eye out, in case the murderer comes around looking for him.

Babson also does a wonderful job at depicting the murderous rage and the cold bloodedness of the killer who tries to cover up what has occurrerd and who then sets about to try and track Robin and the cat.

This is may not be a tension filled thriller, although there were some tense moments when it looked as if the murderer would give in to the rage and kill again, but this is definitely a well written book and a really enjoyable read.

Break a Leg, Darlings
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (March, 1997)
Author: Marian Babson
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Two eldely actresses look for a role, but find murder.
Trixie Dolan and Evangeline Sinclair refuse to accept the fact that they are aging, former screen star greats. They reject all offers of roles that are closer to their age because they are all poor, stereotypical parts. So what do two former superstars do when they cannot find the roles they feel is fitting for them? Simple, they make the rounds of the English pub theaters seeking the perfect part. Each night, the duo suffers horrendous indignities as they deal with the theatrical fringe who for the most part have no talent. Trixie and Evangeline must cope with horrendous colloquy, even worse acting, and the slummiest of locales and productions. ......As the search continues for a budding Shaw to star the pair in the next great English play, Trixie and Evangeline are unaware of the danger that they are in from an unknown stalker. Even one of their rivals was recently killed and Trixie was shoved down a set of stairs. If the duo is not more careful where they go for the nirvana of acting roles, they may find themselves starring in the wrong production: the double murder of two aging actresses by an unknown assailant. ......BREAK A LEG, DARLINGS is a humorous English cozy that fans of the sub-genre will appreciate due to the constant bickering and droll antics of the two female pals. However, in spite of the charm and the crazy situations that Trixie and Evangeline always seem to find themselves starring in, the novel is a classic cozy: limited action and suspense, making it not everyone's cup of tea. ......Harriet Klausner

The Cat Next Door
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Minotaur (April, 2002)
Author: Marian Babson
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not much of a mystery, but still a good read
I'm an avid Marian Babson fan, and cannot think of a single novel that she's written that I did not enjoy to some degree or another. Having admitted to that, I must own that while I enjoyed reading "The Cat Next Door," this novel, unlike previous Babson books, was not that much of a mystery novel. It was not one of her lighthearted works either. Essentially, the plot is as follows: about a year ago, Claudia (wife of rising member of parliament, Kingsley) was found stabbed in her parent's garden. Standing over her with a knife in her hand, was her twin sister, Chloe Morton. Now, Chloe's trial is about to begin, and family members have descended from all corners of the world in order to give support to shell-shocked family.

Margot (cousin to Chloe and Claudia), a professional photographer, returns home to her childhood home, in order to lend support to the uncle and aunt who helped raise her (Chloe and Claudia's parents). Tired and depressed, she is appalled to find that her uncle and aunt have more or less fallen apart at the seams: her Aunt Milly has retreated into the world of Regency romance novels, and her Uncle Wilfred has taken to overeating. And then there is Claudia's teenage daughter, Lynette, who has barricaded herself in her grandparents's bedroom and refuses to leave... As the date of the trial draws near, the tense atmosphere in the house mounts, as Margot tries to make sense of what happened and of Chloe's refusal to cooperate with the police or her counsel (Chloe has refused to talk to anyone about Claudia's murder). Kingsley wants the family to pressure Chloe to plead guilty so that she will never have to face a trial, and so that Lynette will not have to testify. But Margot cannot help but wonder if Chloe is actually guilty of having killed Claudia, or if she is covering up for someone else?

"The Cat Next Door" is not really a murder mystery novel at all (there are no cunning plot twists or red herring suspects), but a study of the psychological study of how a slightly eccentric family copes with a crisis. The novel unfolded a little slowly but flowed effortlessly, thus making it a really easy read. I must admit however that the manner in which everything was finally resolved did beggar belief! For the Claudia's murderer to calmly admit all, esp when no one suspected this character of any wrongdoing was not very probable. I think it would have been more likely for this character to have carried on the course (s)he had decided on and let everyone else stew! However the book was a nice read, and if you're looking for something to curl up with before falling asleep, you can't really go wrong with this novel.

Murder Murder Little Star
Published in Hardcover by Black Dagger Crime (January, 2003)
Author: Marian Babson
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Read and Re-read
I think that tis is the first book by Marion Babson that I read. I know that it's the first book I ever re-read immediately after reading it for the first time! And it's definitely the one that made me a Babson fan.

Murder on a Mystery Tour
Published in Paperback by Bantam Books (December, 1988)
Author: Marian Babson
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A wonderful cozy to enjoy again and again
The story takes place in an english manor house turned hotel near Salisbury. Midge and her husband Reggie have turned the manor into a hotel in an attempt to save the family home. They are hosting a series of muder weekends for people from the states. All seems to be going well until an unscripted murder occurs with a plethora of suspects. A very entertaining read if you enjoy english country home mysteries.

The Company of Cats
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (April, 1999)
Authors: Marian Babson and Marion Babson
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Amusing but forgettable
This is a light entertaining story good for reading when you don't want to think a whole lot and just want something to occupy your thoughts. Its nice and short which is good because if the book had been much longer it would have become tiresome. As it is the book is amusing while you're reading it but there's nothing remarkable enough about it to make you remember it once you've put it down.

Great fun. Solid cozy plot.
THE COMPANY OF CATS is just the right length for a very enjoyable quick-reading cozy. Her style reminds me of Lydia Adamson's. So, if you like this one, check out Adamson's "cat" books. This one is all plot -- it has almost no sense of place. In fact, a couple of times I lost track of where everybody was. And the many characters were rather cartoonish and not too deeply drawn. But that's O.K. It was still a lot of fun. Babson's books are NOT a series -- each stands alone, so you can start with any one of them. I'm really enjoying them.

Cat Lover's Book
This is a very good book. I couldn't put it down. The writing is fast, the characters interesting, the cats most lovable. I enjoyed the main character, Annabel. She was clever and a push over for a cat (cats) in distress. I will add this writer to my list of favorite mystery writers.

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