Atticus Claw Lends a Paw by Jennifer Gray

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Atticus Claw Lends a Paw by Jennifer Gray

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The third book in this series about an ex-con moggy is full of the unlikely – but its success from being just entertainment could be no surprise.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 9780571284474

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Things are quiet in Littleton-on-Sea, now that Atticus is no longer the world's greatest cat burglar. All he has to contend with is a mischievous bunch of kittens that might cause trouble for the male in the human family he lives with, him being a policeman and all. But nothing breaks the quiet like an old noise, and when people learn that the previous owner of the local mansion discovered the remains of the ancient city of the Cat Pharaoh and left his secrets locally, many ears are pricked, both for good and bad. But what does buried treasure protected by curses have to do with a spate of guerrilla knitting?

Coming to this third book in the series after missing the second, you might think the shark had well and truly been jumped. The first had some great common sense to it – the cat burglar was a good character, who was not intending to adopt a human family of carers, the thieving magpies were suitable baddies. Here we've got enemies being collected from Siberia, secrets hidden in ancient lost scripts, possession… and creative uses of camel farts. With one of the human characters certainly adding a witty bit of the fantastical to it, any sense of this being just about an anthropomorphised cat who knows how to break and enter is long gone.

But that's not to the book's detriment at all. With the peculiar balance of humans involved (it's notable just how little the human children, who you might think would be the easy way in to the story for the target audience, have to do and say) and the increase in the bizarre, we're on very different ground. In the end, as well, there is almost a pastiche side to things, which brings a greater edge to proceedings, serving to make the book more amusing perhaps for the curious older reader.

Not too old, I would suggest, for there is a side to the author's style which will exclude the more literate and discerning. Nobody says anything – instead they vocalise in the most dramatic way possible. The bickering magpies aren't that great fun, even when using a book of spells, and the human/cat relationship is almost cloying in its use of hugging and complete understanding. But I do think this series has some oomph and panache to it. The second book, concerning the Crown Jewels and the Tower of London, was but a stepping-stone to ancient Egypt, it seems – who knows where Atticus might end up in the future? These are books designed purely for entertainment, and at that they're very successful, so I assume we will get as many as Ms Gray can find rhyming titles for.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

A very different feline frolic can be had with Magnificat by Marilyn Edwards.

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Buy Atticus Claw Lends a Paw by Jennifer Gray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Atticus Claw Lends a Paw by Jennifer Gray at


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