The best books that feature talking cats—wait, what?

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written more than sixty novels, and during the writing of most of them I had a cat by my side. I have three—Mousefur, Firefur, and Peanut Butter. They are rescue cats and my daughter named them. I talk to them, but they only reply with meows. I’ve always fantasised about what it would be like to live with a talking cat, and how those conversations would go. I actually did write a science fiction story many years agoDreamer’s Catabout a man whose sanity is guarded by an imaginary bobcat. I have asked my cats if I should write a sequel, but they just say ‘meow’. 

I wrote...

Killing Time

By Stephen Leather,

Book cover of Killing Time

What is my book about?

Serial killers never retire. They just go on hiatus. The urge to kill is always there, bubbling below the surface. Billy and Charlie thought their killing days were behind them. They used to be prolific life-takers, but old age finally caught up with them. Now they are ending their days in a dismal nursing home in Blackpool, with only their memories to keep them going. Memories of murder and mutilation.

When Archie turns up at the home, everything changes. Archie is a breath of fresh air and he puts new life into Billy and Charlie. Before long they realise that it’s time to start killing again. But Archie isn’t what he appears to be. And Billy and Charlie’s lives are about to change forever.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Stephen Leather Why did I love this book?

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is the original talking cat novel, though Carroll wasn’t the first to describe a grinning Cheshire Cat. I read the book as a child and loved it, and was especially taken by the Cheshire Cat who appears and disappears at will, and engages Alice in amusing but perplexing conversations. I never forgot the bit where the cat disappears gradually until nothing is left but its grin.

By Lewis Carroll,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel by English author Lewis Carroll (the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson). It tells of a young girl named Alice, who falls through a rabbit hole into a subterranean fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.

One of the best-known and most popular works of English-language fiction, its narrative, structure, characters and imagery have been enormously…

Book cover of Coraline

Stephen Leather Why did I love this book?

I discovered Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels more than thirty years ago, and loved them, especially The Sandman. I was lucky to hear him give a talk in a Dublin bookstore more than twenty years ago. The guy is a genius. His full-length novel Coraline features a talking cat, and one of the things the cat says has stuck with me forever. "You people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names." The unnamed cat in the story acts as a mentor to young Coraline when she is in the sinister ‘Other World.’ It’s a wonderful book.

By Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Coraline as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

"Sometimes funny, always creepy, genuinely moving, this marvellous spine-chiller will appeal to readers from nine to ninety." - "Books for Keeps". "I was looking forward to "Coraline", and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was enthralled. This is a marvellously strange and scary book." - Philip Pullman, "Guardian". "If any writer can get the guys to read about the girls, it should be Neil Gaiman. His new novel "Coraline" is a dreamlike adventure. For all its gripping nightmare imagery, this is actually a conventional fairy story with a moral." - "Daily Telegraph". Stephen King once called Neil Gaiman 'a treasure-house…

Book cover of The Cat Who Caught a Killer

Stephen Leather Why did I love this book?

This book features a calico cat who reminds me very much of my own cat, Peanut Butter. But Conrad the cat is a very special cat—he talks!  And he helps retired police detective Lulu Lewis solve crimes. Lulu lives on a canal boat in Little Venice, which has always been a dream of mine. I gather this is the first in a series of Conrad the cat cosy crime mysteries, and I can’t wait for the next one!

By L T Shearer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cat Who Caught a Killer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Cat Who Caught a Killer by L T Shearer is a charming cosy crime read for fans of Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club and S. J. Bennett's The Windsor Knot.

'Charming and original. This book is the cat's whiskers' - Anthony Horowitz, author of The Twist of a Knife

Meet Conrad. Conrad is a cat. You've never met a detective like him before.

Neither has Lulu Lewis, until he walks into her life one summer's day. Mourning the recent death of her husband, the former police detective had expected a gentle retirement, quietly enjoying life on her new…

Book cover of Cat on the Edge

Stephen Leather Why did I love this book?

A cat called Joe Grey discovers that he can speak and at the same time he witnesses a murder. But the murderer knows that Joe has seen him, so all of his nine lives are on the line. Joe meets another cat, Dolcie who can also talk. They team up to discover who the killer is. The story is written from the point of view of the cats, which I love! There is a whole series of Joe Grey mysteries, and I love them. The author has won eleven Cat Writers' Association Muse Medallion Awards for best cat novel of the year.

By Shirley Rousseau Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cat on the Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's been quite a week for Joe Grey. First the large, powerfulfeline discovers that, through some strange, inexplicable phenomenon, he now has the ability to understand human language. Then he discovers he can speak it as well! It's a nightmare for a cat who'd prefer to sleep the day away carefree, but Joe can handle it. That is, until he has the misfortune to witness a murder in the alley behind Jolly's Deli -- and worse, to be seen witnessing it. With all of his nine lives suddenly at risk, Joe's got no choice but to get to the bottom…

Book cover of No One Noticed the Cat

Stephen Leather Why did I love this book?

Niffy is a beautiful smoky grey cat, just the right colour to hide in dim and dark places. Niffy guides a young prince through the perils of ruling and loving in this award-winning author’s enchanting and sophisticated fairy tale for adults and intelligent children alike. I first read this book twenty years ago and have reread it several times. I love it. It’s a great story to read with your children.

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked No One Noticed the Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the death of wise old Mangan, the Regent of Esphania, many of the regent's skills and qualities seem to have been transferred to his beautiful and intelligent cat, Niffy, who at once attaches herself to the new ruler, Prince Jamas. When the king of a neighboring kingdom seems keen to forge an alliance with Jamas by allowing the prince to marry his niece, the real danger is Yasmin, the wicked queen wife, who poisons everyone she dislikes or suspects of interfering with her ambitions. Now, Niffy must guide Jamas through a thicket of difficulties to save the Prince Jamas…

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The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

Book cover of The Midnight Man

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

What is my book about?

A historical thriller set in south London just after World War II, as Britain returns to civilian life and the men return home from the fight, causing the women to leave their wartime roles. The South London Hospital for Women and Children is a hospital, (based on a real place) run by women for women and must make adjustments of its own. As austerity bites, the coldest Winter then on record makes life grim. Then a young nurse goes missing.

Days later, her body is found behind a locked door, and two women from the hospital, unimpressed by the police response, decide to investigate. Highly atmospheric and evocative of a distinct period and place.

The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

What is this book about?


Winter 1946

One cold dark night, as a devastated London shivers through the transition to post-war life, a young nurse goes missing from the South London Hospital for Women & Children. Her body is discovered hours later behind a locked door.

Two women from the hospital join forces to investigate the case. Determined not to return to the futures laid out for them before the war, the unlikely sleuths must face their own demons and dilemmas as they pursue - The Midnight Man.

‘A mystery that evokes the period – and a recovering London – in…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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