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1001 Stories Collection

Macavity the Mystery Cat

1001 Macavity The Mystery Cat
Added on 08th August 2020

Poet T S Eliot
First published 1939 in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

Animals Funny
1001

The story of the notorious Macavity, a feline master criminal.

Story

Macavity the Mystery cat, also known as the ‘Hidden Paw’ has committed many crimes but has never been caught – for whenever the authorities arrive ‘Macavity’s not there’.

Why we chose it

Great to read aloud, the poem features an arch villain who combines cat like behavior (stealing the milk) with the kind of thefts (jewellery, admiralty plans) that are found in classic detective fiction.

Where it came from

The name is taken from both the highway man MacHeath in John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera and Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Napoleon of Crime’ Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Where it went next

Macavity is one of the characters in Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats which was based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. In 2019 a film adaptation of the musical was released. In 2014 Faber and Faber brought out a picture book version with illustrations by Arthur Robins celebrating Old Possum’s 75th anniversary.

Associated stories

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was T S Eliot’s only collection for children. Eliot was one of the major poets of the 20th century. His most famous works include The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock (1915) Four Quartets (1943) and The Wasteland (1922).

Added on 08th August 2020

Poet T S Eliot
First published 1939 in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

Animals Funny
1001