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Read 20 years ago so hazy on details. 90s book, female protagonist on a spaceship, where big cats are killing people (or framed for it).

Man-Kzin is not the story I’m looking for. I believe it was a standalone novel rather than a series. And perhaps the big cats were supposed to be confined on the ship, almost like pets or zoo animals?

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    Might be a Man Kzin Wars story. I feel like there was one with a plot like that. Oct 1, 2019 at 22:44
  • Welcome to Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange! If should consider reading our guidelines for how to ask a good story ID question in order to determine how you could edit this question to find better answers. scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/a/9337/110291 Oct 4, 2019 at 3:34

4 Answers 4

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Perhaps Legacy by James H. Schmitz. The lead character is Trigger Argee there are murders on a spaceship and I believe when Trigger sees the murderer briefly she thinks it's a big cat.

From the book:

Trigger said, "I thought that catassin planet was being guarded."

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    Full text available at Project Gutenberg. The murders are made to appear as though they were done by "catassins": "True," said Quillan. "But not murders that look like catassin killings." One of the characters refers to the suspected catassin as "pussy cat": "So pussy cat couldn't finish the job that time."
    – DavidW
    Oct 7, 2019 at 19:25
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I upvoted @cycad for suggesting Schmitz, but I believe that the story cited (Legacy or A Tale of Two Clocks) is the wrong Schmitz.

I believe the story is Schmitz's "Lion Loose". (Downloadable at Project Gutenberg.) The main character is Heslet Quillian (who Trigger Argee meets in A Tale of Two Clocks). The woman involved is probably Reetal Destone, a secondary character.

It's also possible that the story is "The Lion Game" (August 1971, Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact) where Telzey Amberdon has to deal with some dangerous lion-like aliens.

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  • Maybe put "The Lion Game" into its own answer? In case one of them is correct, it's less confusing.
    – DavidW
    Oct 7, 2019 at 19:40
  • Notable in this case is that it's not set in a spaceship, rather a space station, and the Hlat isn't described at all as cat-like: "It's like a barn door with dirty fur on it!" Not saying you're wrong, just that it's not a perfect match either. :)
    – DavidW
    Oct 7, 2019 at 19:48
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If they are blue cats with psychic powers, then Katherine Kurtz' The Legacy of Lehr (1986).

Book cover from The Legacy of Lehr

The cats have been captured and a luxury liner is commandeered to transport them to interplanetary diplomatic negotiations on behalf of the Emperor. After they arrive on the liner, people start dying and blue fur is found implicating the cats. The cats however are still locked up in their holds, and their handlers insist they could not possibly have been out. The Captain must solve this interstellar murder mystery.

The captain is male, and it's slightly earlier from 1986... but it's a murder mystery with big cats murdering/framed for murdering people on a spaceship.

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Man Kzin IX
look it up, it has four stories
I think it was "Windows of the World" by Paul Chafe.

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    You should edit in some details in case the link stops working.
    – DavidW
    Oct 2, 2019 at 6:22
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    This is much too terse. You should edit in some details about the specific story and why you think this is the one the question asks about.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 2, 2019 at 11:09

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