Are you ready for a new adventure?
Camelia Collins, Ocean Cove’s most recent septuagenarian resident, is all set to go to the fair! The smell of the popcorn, the roar of the crowd, the Ferris wheel and the pony shows—things she remembers from childhood and is looking forward to experiencing again.
But something’s up at the Cove County Fair. When Camelia meets the keeper of a rescued tiger, she could not have predicted that keeper will soon be dead, and the tiger gone missing. A rogue band of aggressive animal activists seems the obvious culprits, but they deny the act.
Only one entity knows the truth—the ghost cat Soji, but will the capricious spirit decide to come forward before someone else dies?
I grew up in a time when every county in the state of Oregon had their little summer fair. My mother worked in the art department of our local festival, and when I was old enough, she would take me with her. I was paid a whopping twenty-five cents an hour, but it added up. I was an enthusiastic employee, learning the ins and outs of the fair business. I loved it and was always sad when the two weeks of adventure were over.
As an adult, I’ve continued to go to at least one county fair each summer. Now, because of COVID, it’s been years. Maybe this year I’ll try it again. But times have changed and so has the focus. Once an avenue for amateur artists, craftspeople, photographers, floral designers, 4-H members, and farmers to show off their accomplishments, now you are more likely to see long halls of commercial booths displaying hot tubs and low-cost phone plans.
In designing the Cove County Fair, I took a step back in time. You’ll find horse competitions and prize-winning pigs; home-baked cheesecakes and rows of canned pickles and pears. Food carts, redolent with the smell of fried onions, selling hot dogs with yellow mustard and corn dogs on a stick—no gourmet foodies here. By the way, did you know the corn dog was invented in Oregon? The first time I had one (at the fair) I threw up.
And what would a fair be without the midway and its harrowing rides, screaming teenagers, and barkers, vying for the attention of the passersby? Ellery tries his luck at a baseball game, hoping to win a neon-pink bear for Camelia. Camelia plays Whack-a-Mole for the first time in her seventy-some years.
My mum told me to watch out for the midway boys—the kids who traveled around all summer with the big rides. According to her, they were dangerous, which of course made them all the more attractive in their tight jeans and tee shirts with cigarette packs rolled up in the sleeve. But it’s not the wild boys Camelia must look out for in this mystery story. It’s a murderer… Or maybe murderers… When she sees the ghost cat Soji in the Tiger cage with the body, she knows the killing is more than it seems.
A purr-anormal cozy mystery!
Soji plays the hero in this new cat mystery, but the old tiger Tigre is integral to the story. Camelia’s cat Blaze drops in from time to time, though mostly napping. Camelia, herself, is volunteering at a local cat rescue booth, so be assured there is no shortage of cats.