Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 2, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Pru Marlowe is back, and she’s better than ever! In Panthers Play for Keeps, the fourth book in Clea Simon’s Pet Noir series featuring pet behaviorist and psychic Pru Marlow, Pru has to solve her most challenging case yet: while taking a dog for a walk, she finds the body of a young woman, who seems to have been mauled by a wild cat. Pru knows there have been no cougars in the Berkshires for years, and not much about this death makes sense. As Pru starts looking into the murder, a cougar of another kind has her eyes set on Pru’s on again, off again boyfriend, detective Jim Creighton. When Pru’s rival disappears, Pru is forced to set aside her own problems to solve the mystery.

Pru Marlow can hear what animals are thinking, and even though the communications she receives aren’t always clear, they always lead her in the right direction. With the help of a service dog names Spot, who is a central character of this book, a Bichon who calls himself Growler, and a ferret named Frank, Pru is led closer and closer to resolving the mystery. But it’s Pru’s curmudgeonly tabby Wallis, who knows Pru better than Pru knows herself at times (and isn’t that just like cat?) who plays the most significant role in helping Pru find the killer.

As was the case with previous books in this series, there’s something for everyone: you will love this book if you love animals, fast paced mysteries, and there’s even a little romance thrown in. One aspect I particularly enjoyed in this book was how the animals, especially Wallis, admonish Pru that even though she can communicate with animals, she’s not always listening – something that often frustrated Wallis.

Some readers may find that they have to suspend belief when it comes to Pru’s ability to communicate with animals, but Simon handles this topic so well, it makes you want to believe even if you may be a skeptic.

I found this fast-paced and well-plotted book hard to put down, and I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

The author provides enough back story so that this book can be read as a stand-alone, but why not treat yourself to the whole series. One of my favorite parts about reading a series novel is the development of the central character, and nobody does this better than Clea Simon.

Enter to win an autographed copy of Panthers Play for Keeps

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment letting me know why you’d like to win this book. For an additional chance to win, share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest, and leave a separate comment for each social network, letting me know that you shared. No need to post the link to your share. This giveaway is open to readers in the United States only. This giveaway ends Friday, April 11. Winners will be chosen by random drawing*.

Clea Simon is the author of 12 mysteries and three non-fiction books, including The Feline Mystique – On the Mysterious Connection Between Cats and Their Women as well as several other nonfiction books. For more information about Clea, please visit her website.

*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Winners will be notified via e-mail. The Prize winner must provide The Conscious Cat with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed within 72 hours. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.

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32 Comments on Review and Giveaway: Panthers Play for Keeps by Clea Simon

  1. Hi folks,
    I’ve been away for the weekend, but just wanted to pop up and say thanks to all of you for your interest – and especially thanks to Ingrid for the lovely review and for engineering this giveaway. I wish I had more copies to give out! Thanks for reading and supporting authors. And remember, if you don’t win, my books and many others are usually available at your local library, too!
    purrs to all,

  2. This is a new series to me. I love a good mystery and if it has a cat or two even better. Thanks for the giveaway and review.

  3. I would love to win this book! I already have and love Grey Dawn, and am sure that this one would be no different. Thank you for the great giveaway! 🙂

    • Thank you, Kyle! You should know that this is a different series – and if you want to keep up with Dulcie, “Grey Howl” is also out now.

  4. I’ve been reading Clea’s mysteries ever since I met her at a bookstore in Madison, WI. She and other authors were there for Bouchercon? Clea has made it very high on my top 10 Author list! Not only that, but this is my favorite series of hers as I can relate to the way the characters communicate. I will share this on facebook!

  5. Thanks so much, Ingrid and all of you readers. And, Vickster, I would love to visit Michigan! Sadly, my publisher can’t at this point pay for tours, so I’d have to figure out another way…. maybe if you had a big mystery conference there…hm…..

  6. Are you kidding?!? I’ve been reading all of Clea Simon’s cat book series as soon as they come out (I miss Theda Krakow!), and can’t wait for the next two. I so enjoy Pru Marlowe and her cat Willis’s unique cat-itude, and Dulcie with her boyfriend and ‘two’ cat family…heh heh heh. Wish Miss Simon would visit Michigan for book signings…hint hint.

  7. I would like to become more familiar with this series of books (by reading them) now that I know of their existence. I was vaguely aware of the possibility that some people possessed the ability to communicate with animals. And would love to read a series of mystery stories where that communication is presented as a normal and sustained occurrence. I am sharing this to my facebook timeline for the benefit of all my facebook friends who might like to do the same.

  8. Well the summary does make the book sound intriguing and an
    interesting read for more than the niche of cat fanatics. I’d like to
    read for enjoyment again. I’m very weary of a steady diet of technical

    • Both my partner and I enjoy reading your books. We can both relate to your writings, because our cat, Tommy who our organization is named after had the ability to sense seizures. Also many of our animals have the uncanny ability to understand and sense our feelings. My partner can’t put your book down once she starts reading it. She loves your style of mystery writing.

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