Lynne Truss, I implore you never stop writing books about evil talking cats Or ETCs, to use the acronym preferred by retired librarian Alec Charlesworth and would be actor Will Wiggy Caton Pines Some time after the events of Cat Out of Hell, Alec receives a rather odd research request from one Thigmo Taxis he is engaged to find out whether there is any evidence connecting Dr Johnson s famous cat Hodge with the first Tahiti expedition of Captain Cook But, by Alec s own admission, this is not exactly, or not necessarily, where the story begins There are also reports of abominations occurring in a churchyard in Bromley something he refers to as the fracas , which happens in a local branch of Poundland and the appearance of an utterly adorable, and also possibly demonic, kitten named Tetty The story that follows delves into the past of the ETCs who are much less evil this time, with one notable exception via the secret history of the London Lunar Society and the nautical exploits of a certain Mr Timkins Wiggy makes a reappearance as does his awful screenwriting , and Alec s dry, incredulous, terribly British narration is a constant delight In case the rating doesn t indicate this strongly enough, The Lunar Cats is an ABSOLUTE JOY It s possibly even funnier and charming than its predecessor I wonder if that s because Cat Out of Hell was published as part of the Hammer imprint which may not be extant any, I m not sure and was therefore required to contain horror scenes, while this one has freedom to be primarily humour led On the other hand, it does include an application form for a One to One Meeting with Beelzebub If the idea of a hilarious, wonderfully ridiculous adventure involving genius talking cats doesn t immediately appeal to you, I am probably not going to be able to stoke your interest in this If it does, then read it as soon as you can The Lunar Cats made me laugh, lifted my spirits, and genuinely made my weekend better NB you don t need to have read Cat Out of Hell to enjoy this While its events are referenced a few times, everything s explained for those who haven t come across it, or, like me, read it but have a terrible memory But if this interests you, you should totally read it anyway, because it s fantastic TinyLetter Twitter Instagram Tumblr For my full review a brilliant and bizarre imagination Lynne Truss has the world was first introduced to her Evil Talking Cats back in 2014 with Cat Out Of Hell, and to my delight and surprise, she has returned two years later with The Lunar Cats, with some very promising signs of a franchise in the brewing This is that rare kind of book that you never knew you wanted but once you ve read it, you don t know what you did without it I have listened to the Radio 4 adaptation of Cat Out Of Hell repeatedly and have various tracts of the dialogue verbatim I had never expected a sequel and am so glad that when one did arrive, it did not disappoint.One can imagine that the narrator, kindly retired librarian Alec Charlesworth, might be hoping for a quiet life since his last adventure with the ETCs his dim witted ally Wiggy prefers that they use the acronym , but if he was then he was out of luck He and Wiggy have lived on tenterhooks, regularly checking in that the other is alive, each the only one who has any awareness or indeed reason to believe in the ghastly events which saw off the Captain and Roger at the end of the last book But then a series of events begin to unfurl Alec is attacked in Poundland by a woman who smells of stew and an incredibly adorable kitten arrives on his doorstep, melting his heart with her cuteness Suspicious Oh yes.Truss is very much building on the foundations of the already established lore around the ETCs that after a cat has managed to die and survive nine times they are reborn, that there are Cat Masters, that Beelzebub is their line manager, etc, etc The Lunar Cats is probably best enjoyed having already familiarised oneself with the wider story Roger does explain it best even if he is a tad long winded and Alec does tend to skip to the main points This is a sequel rather than a stand alone story and I do hope that the surprise reappearance of a Certain Someone gets explained in full later on down the line obviously I was overjoyed but not so much as to ignore a possible plot hole.The Lunar Cats does also wear its historical context rather heavier than Cat Out Of Hell Alec has to look into the 1773 voyage of HMS Endeavour, and in particular the account given of it by John Hawkesworth, one time friend of Dr Johnson and rising celebrity of his day Hawkesworth was not present on the voyage but public reception of his version of it was so appallingly negative that Hawkesworth died within months Over time, it becomes clear that this is connected to the titular Lunar Cats Society, a non evil band of talking cats who have decided to use their longevity and genius to puzzle out the mysteries of the universe and have been meeting for centuries to discuss their findings Alec shares a typical agenda which covers the chemical content of a furball, the role of yowling in music, and fatally Mr Timkins decision to board HMS Endeavour on Hawkesworth s recommendation in order to prove his theorised solution to the longitude problem.I am ambivalent about attempts to tie in the ETCs to real history this is not a series for people who have difficulties in suspending disbelief Between the journals written by cats, emails, agenda and minuted meetings admittedly the screenplays come courtesy of Wiggy but all the same, it s all quite gloriously silly From the bibliography etc, I can see that Truss had done the legwork in looking into Hawkesworth and HMS Endeavour, but in all honesty, I would have enjoyed it just as much as if she hadn t bothered There is a giddy feel to most of the novel, it s very high spirited and a joy to read it even feels like it just may have been a joy to write As well as poking fun at the horror genre though, it does feel that Truss is having an affectionate dig at the lengths people go to for their pets and, yes, particularly their cats Apparently innocently, Truss notes the parallels between one ETC s control of its owner and gas lighting, with the cat s stereotypical haughtiness and withheld affection being akin to psychological warfare And then, poor Watson the token dog he spends so much of the novel as a supine victim, but he does step in at key junctures to save the day because deep down, Truss is a dog lover at heart.This is one of those rare books that it is almost impossible to explain I can hear myself explaining, So, there are these evil talking cats and they re immortal and they re geniuses and they have powers no, wait, it s good, honest While Cat Out Of Hell was a general send up of cheesy Hammer Horror, The Lunar Cats feels like Truss is putting out the feelers to see if there is an appetite for what adventures might next befall Alex and company What other historical events could they be mixed up in Which other deadly Cat Masters are waiting in the wings Will Beelzebub ever manage to get everyone back in line One of the bonkers reads that you ll ever come across, my only advice is this don t read it on public transport Uncontrollable laughter So many strange looks So many. Sometimes you read a book and when you finish it you think Did I really just read that That s how I feel now I have finished this book, which is partly about ETCs Evil Talking Cats and a retired librarian And yes, it really is mental It reminded me a little bit of Terry Pratchett s books The writing style is whimsical and humorous, sometimes just plain odd It certainly does not take itself seriously and I definitely enjoyed it, but somehow I wish there had been a bit substance to the plot At times it just seemed a little too whimsical and the end did not really work for me However, overall it was a fun read.I would recommend this book if you like fantastically whimsical books and you do not mind talking cats I enjoyed The Lunar Cats Lynne Truss is a very funny writer who has genuine erudition beneath the humour an the combination works well here The Lunar Cats follows on from Cat Out Of Hell, but it works fine as a stand alone book The set up is silly but engaging There are some cats who are highly intelligent and capable of speech Some are plain evil and in league with Beelzebub, others are near immortal and are members of The Lunar Cats, a Learned Society formed in the enlightenment and Truss derives a lot of genuine humour from a bunch of cats conducting themselves like eighteenth century gentlemen The plotis narrated by Alec, a mild mannered retired librarian who gets caught up in all this It is enjoyably silly, involving an evil talking kitten, an evil stolen Tahitian idol, appointments with Beelzebub and so on and the battle by Alec and The Lunar Cats to thwart them It is amiable, readable fun.There is also a good deal here about the voyages of Captain Cook and their subsequent chronicling and publication, which Truss manages to make engaging and very interesting, so there is a solid intellectual core which anchors the absurdity, making it witty rather than just silly I found that a very good aspect of the book which left me with a sense of having read something of substance as well as it just being plain funny.Perhaps this isn t a classic, but it s a very enjoyable and engaging read, underpinned by proper research and learning Recommended I received an ARC via NetGalley. A very entertaining book for those who love quirky librarians, cats and British humour.Loved reading it and I apologise to the neighbours for scaring them with my laughter Not too sure I could explain what I just read but it was enjoyable once I got over the fact that this book was about a whole cat world with evil talking cats and cat scientists making up the lunar society Once I went with it I liked it. So, despite what Goodreads is telling you, this book is a sequel to Cat Out of Hell This book will make a whole lot sense if you read that book first and several plot points will have of an impact on you if you read that book first While this was an enjoyable book, I think it fell just slightly short of the first book in the series In this book, Alec Charlesworth with the most excellent dog, Watson, rescues a helpless stray kitten despite his encounters with Evil Talking Cats ETCs And then he is embroiled in an adventure involving the Lunar Cats, a cat called Timkins and the view spoiler evil plot of a criminal kitten mastermind hide spoiler By The Bestselling Author Of Eats, Shoots Leaves And Cat Out Of Hell, A Nail Biting Tale Of Good Versus Evil Involving One Man, His Dog And A Group Of Th Century Amateur Scientific Pioneers Who Just Happen To Be CatsWhen You Are An Inoffensive Retired Librarian With Bitter Personal Experience Of Evil Talking Cats, Do You Rescue A Kitten From The Cold On A December Night Do You Follow Up News Items About Cats Digging In Graveyards Do You Inquire Into Long Ago Cats Who Voyaged Around The World With Captain Cook Well, Yes If You Are Alec Charlesworth That Is Precisely What You Do With Unexpected And Terrifying Consequences This is the first book I ve read in a day in a while, and I am very glad of it.It s quickly paced, incredibly easy to read, creepy in spots, sad, does an incredible job of juggling multiple timelines, and is simply frankly funny in some very odd spots And it s so correctly written that I can actually feel myself destressing as I read it. I listened to the audiobook Mike Grady did a fine job of narration The story, however, was less enjoyable than the first book, Cat Out Of Hell.
Lynne Truss is a writer and journalist who started out as a literary editor with a blue pencil and then got sidetracked The author of three novels and numerous radio comedy dramas, she spent six years as the television critic of The Times of London, followed by four rather peculiar years as a sports columnist for the same newspaper She won Columnist of the Year for her work for Women s Journal
- 304 pages
- The Lunar Cats
- Lynne Truss
- 02 April 2017 Lynne Truss