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The Fontana Duology

by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, coauthored with her husband Pat J. J. Murphy

Shirley Rousseau Murphy, author of the award-winning Joe Grey mystery series--a writer hailed for her "magical whimsy and deft writing" (Cats magazine) who "has raised the stakes of the feline sleuth genre" (Kirkus Reviews)--teams up with her husband to conjure a charming supernatural adventure involving the devil, a thief, a bet, and a spirited phantom cat.

Read Chapter 1

Book One: The Cat, the Devil, and Lee Fontana

To the devil, the span of human life is as brief as spit on the wind. But the challenge of playing with flawed humans, like a cat toying with a mouse, is endlessly amusing. However, if the devil loses a wager, he will harass a person's descendants until he eventually gets his due. Which is why he is tormenting Lee Fontana.

The night before Lee is paroled, Satan terrifies and tempts the thief with the promise of one more successful robbery. But Lee has a secret ally looking out for him. The prison cat, a ghost, will tail the ex-con on his dangerous mission--an adventure that moves across the country and spins far beyond our present world into the vast realms of afterlife, a story in which ghostly Misto revels in his added ethereal powers and expanded freedom.

"Superbly crafted paranormal thriller. . . . The Murphys have spun a yarn that takes the reader on a magical journey filled with mystery, intrigue and the supernatural. . . . Kudos and accolades to the authors for creating such a suspenseful page turner. I venture to say you may have to wait for Hell to freeze over until you encounter a better read." --Lenny Gittleman, Cat Chat with Caren and Cody

"This is a novel thatís most definitely an attention-getter. From the title, to the cover, to the amazing plot and characters, this literary duo captures the imagination and provides a perfect one-day read. . . . A wonderfully written book, readers will love the whole story of this yellow tabby-cat ghost who is, by far, the brains of the outfit. Quill says: Everyone who reads Murphyís feline sleuths will be delighted by this definite Ďmust read.í --Amy Lignor, The Feathered Quill

"This compelling departure from the Joe Grey series will have you flying through the pages, anxious to find out what happens next. . . . The relationships are complex and true-to-life, and the post-World War II landscape is drawn beautifully. . . . This is one mystery not to miss!" --Amy Sikes, ReaderToReader.com

"This whimsical mystery is set in post World War II America. Even those who do not like cats will love Misto. The story is cleverly wound between the lush descriptions to draw the reader deeper. Though it is just a little slow in the beginning, readers will be glad they hung on to the end." --Kaitlin, Coffee Time Romance

Read Chapter 1

Book Two: The Cat, the Devil, the Last Escape

Brad Falon, one of Satanís longtime puppets, orchestrated a deadly robbery and set up his old friend Morgan Blake to take the fall. Now, Morgan has been sentenced to life in prison, and his wife Becky and young daughter Sammie are devastated. Alone and afraid, in need of comfort and a friend, Sammie turns to Misto, the ghost cat.

Behind bars, her father Morgan makes fast friends with an old con named Lee Fontana who knows a few tricks about outwitting evil. They plan a wily escape to bring the real killer to justice and clear Morganís name for good. All it will take is outsmarting the Devil one more time. . . .

"An engrossing story. Darker than a cozy, the plot is intriguing and harsh at times. . . . As the characters get more desperate, they are tested in ways that will ultimately define their true character." --Sandra Martin, RT Book Reviews

"The second soul wars conflict between The Cat and The Devil . . . is a wonderful supernatural thriller due to a fully-developed cast. This time the audience understands why Misto believes enigmatic Fontana is worth saving. Readers will . . . relish the convergence of the past, present and future." --Harriet Klausner, Alternative Worlds II

"One of the best fantasy/mysteries I have ever read. Wonderful characters who keep you in suspense throughout the whole book." --Stephanie Chestler, Amazon.com reader review

"I found it very difficult to put the novel down each night when it was time to go to bed. . . . Many tidbits and details add such an authenticity to the era that makes history fun. I highly recommend this book for those wanting to see evil faced squarely by those with the courage to do so no matter the potential cost." --A. Burgin, Amazon.com reader review

"Shirley and Pat Murphy give us a very accurate look back in history to the court and penal system of the past. Lee Fontana comes through for the family he didn't know he had and the connection with past and present meld to form a strong bond that would last and defeat the dark spirit who stalked him. . . . I loved this book!" --Janet Long, Amazon.com reader review

In addition to her popular Joe Grey mystery novels for adults, which have received eleven national Cat Writers' Association Awards for the best novel of the year, her related fantasy novel The Catswold Portal, and the Fontana duology, Shirley Rousseau Murphy has written over twenty children's and young adult books, for which she has received five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards. Her husband Pat, with whom she collaborated on several books, spent his career as a US federal Probation Officer in California and in Oregon, as the Chief US Probation Officer in Panama, and as Chief US Probation Officer for the Northern District of Georgia. After he retired the Murphys returned to their home in California, settling on the Central California coast with a view of the hills and the sea.