In just 10 days, Cat Conundrum will take it’s place among the other 6 Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries! I try to make each story different, while featuring the familiar characters and settings readers have come to enjoy. Conundrum varies a bit from the usual theme in that it takes place in a new town. Long Beach, Washington is an area I know well, and it’s a thrill to bring this lovely spot to the forefront.
But it wouldn’t be a murder mystery without murders. Here’s a excerpt:
I got to Bristol’s on the dot of two, but Tabby had not yet arrived. I told the server I was expecting another person, so she seated me at a little table by the front window. After bringing me coffee, she dropped a pair of paper menus, two waters, and a complimentary plate of homemade bread with butter.
The view was lovely, the bay side of the Peninsula with its oyster beds and gently rolling waves. Beyond, the mainland was a green-gray strip of forested hills on the horizon. This time of year, the deli’s little back garden was mostly spent, a skeleton of dry, black stems and stalks, but a few hardy rose blossoms persisted, their pink and mauve bright as paint splashes on a Paynes-gray canvas.
For a while, I watched a boat scudding between the oyster traps to pick up their catch. I surveyed the seagulls soaring in the clouded sky. I examined the artwork on the walls of the restaurant and the sweet little carvings of fishermen and -women that lined the windowsills. I even unpacked some of the gifts I’d bought on my morning shopping spree. But as the minute hand on the antique wall clock advanced—two-ten, two-twenty-five—I started getting restless. There was only so much water to be sipped, forks to straighten, scenery to be admired before my thoughts came around again to Tabby. Why was she late? Rude? Detained? Or something else, something darker and more destructive?
I’d tried her number, but my call went straight to voicemail. I decided to give her another ten minutes; then if she hadn’t made it and I hadn’t heard back, I would head home. Since Frannie and her convenient automobile had returned to Portland, I was on foot, and it would be a bit of a hike to the guesthouse. So far, the rain had held off, but now that dark sky promised showers if not an all-out squall. I’d assumed Tabby would give me a ride home, but I’d also assumed Tabby would honor her promise to meet. Now it looked as if I would have to change my plans.
I called her number once again, with the same results. This time, I didn’t bother to leave a message—what could I say beyond my original “Where the heck are you?” She could see with her own eyes I’d already tried multiple times.
I looked at the clock—two-fifty. In my mind, nearly an hour late was officially a no-show. Whether it was by her own whim or she had met with circumstances beyond her control, my occupying a prime table in the little restaurant was of no benefit whatsoever. It was time to give up and begin the trek home, hoping the rain would delay its arrival for a little longer and knowing it probably wouldn’t.
I got up, took a last sip of cold coffee, and put on my coat. I pulled a five out of my wallet and left it on the table, apologizing to the server as I passed by.
“Oh, that’s fine, ma’am,” she said politely. “Stuff happens. Come back for a meal sometime when it’s more… convenient.”
“I’ll do that,” I promised.
I was on my way out. My hand was on the knob, turning, when the big door flew open, knocking me to the side. As I recovered my equilibrium, I saw the culprit, Creepy Guy himself—déjà vu all over again!
He stumbled in, looked around madly, and dashed up to the counter.
“Jean! Jean!” he cried.
The server ran out from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel.
“Carter, what is it? Keep your voice down,” she cautioned. “You want me to lose my job?”
“Jean!” the young man panted, pulling off his ball cap to reveal a mop of dark brown hair. “Jean! Listen to me!”
The woman slumped and sighed. “Okay then. Quit whimpering and talk.”
Carter glanced around at the audience his outburst had attracted. His face was as white as the linen tablecloths. In a hiss of horror, he announced, “There’s been another murder!”
Cat Conundrum is available for preorder. Tyler suggests you order now, so your ebook copy will arrive on National Cat Day, October 29th, 2020.
One More Day to Enter the Contest!
This week I’m offering a cute iSuperb Pack of 4 Canvas Coin Purse Wallets. The purses are lightweight and durable, perfect to hold your little belongings, coins, cash, credit card, USB charger, cable headset, keys, lipstick, cat treat, or ???
For a chance to win, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put Contest, Coin Purse in the subject line. Tyler the cat will choose the winner at random from the entries received. Sorry, U.S. addresses only. Drawing tomorrow, Sunday, October 25, 2020.