There’s a new Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery about to hit the shelves.

Cat’s Play, #9 in the series takes Lynley into a dead millionaire’s mansion to care for his cat Winnie. If you’ve read other of my books, you’ll know I get quite involved with the cat characters, and Winnie (Winter Orange) is no different.

Winnie is a calico with an attitude, but she also has a gift. She can communicate with humans. Without Winnie, Lynley might not have made it through the…

But that would be telling.

As I worked with the imaginary Winnie, I began to notice real calico cats all around me. I’d love to see more, and to hear your calico stories! I know you can’t put photos in the comments, but you can describe them. Does your calico have catitude or are they sweet? A little of both? Winnie is a “diva.” What about yours? Have you read other fiction involving a calico? I can think of a few right now, such as Patricia Fry’s new Calico Cat Mysteries.

Cat’s Play launches on National Cat Day, October 29th. Pre-order Cat’s Play now, and it will be auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle on October 29, 2022. Paperback versions will also be available. 

Here’s an excerpt where Lynley meets Winnie for the first time…

“Hi, Lynley,” said Kerry, the foster department director. “You’re here to see Winnie, right?”

I nodded.

As she leaned over the computer and pulled up a page on the monitor, her ponytail bobbed in rhythm to the music coming from the shelter’s speaker system. I truly appreciated the young foster coordinator who had the energy and boundless enthusiasm to keep her optimistic in the face of a tough job.

“We’ll be glad to get Winnie back home, believe me. She’s been unhappy ever since she was brought in when Mr. Payne passed away. It took a while for the retrieval team to get her out of the house, which I’m sure didn’t help her attitude. We’re hoping that once she’s back in a familiar environment she’ll settle down.”

I stood, stretched my foot, which had begun to fall asleep, and came over to the computer. “Tell me about her.”

Kerry scrolled through the pages on her screen. “She’s a seven-year-old calico. Her full name is Winter Orange Blossom Güzel.”


“The note says it’s Turkish for beauty.” Kerry glanced at me and chuckled. “Payne had her DNA tested. It turns out she has Turkish Van roots. I’ll include the results with her paperwork. It doesn’t tell much. Ninety-nine percent of Felis sylvestris are basically mutts, but it’s interesting all the same.”

Kerry tapped another key, and the printer began to clack.

“The behavior department has been working with her since she came, but they haven’t been able to make much headway. They tried to figure out whether her symptoms of extreme stress were from being in a new place or if there was more to it. According to her biography, she’s never been off the Payne property, not even for vet visits. Doctors always visited her! But she was with Mr. Payne in the garden when he died. She stayed with him all night until the gardener found them the next morning. An experience like that could have affected her deeply.”

Kerry sighed. “The only thing that’s helped soothe her at all was putting her in the Tranquility Room by herself and leaving her alone, but that’s not a solution—according to Payne’s notes, she is very loving and craves human companionship. I guess we just haven’t found the right human. Hopefully you’ll have better luck.”

I took a deep breath. “Anything else, besides that she’s a diva?”

Kerry looked up in surprise. “Where did you hear that?”

“From everywhere. And that’s all I’ve heard. Please, tell me something good.”

“Well, she has no medical issues, no special diet or picky food preferences, though Mr. Payne left arrangements for her to be given some fancy noms made in the Netherlands. She doesn’t claw the furniture, and she’s one hundred percent fastidious—no litterbox issues. According to Mr. Payne, she’s the sweetest, gentlest, friendliest kitty on this Earth. And here’s a funny thing—Mr. Payne claims she’s clairvoyant, that she communicated with him all the time.” Kerry gathered the papers from the printer tray, tamped them even, and clipped them together with a glittery pink paperclip. “I’ll let you be the judge of that one.”

She placed the document in a file folder and handed it to me. “You might want to run through this before you pick her up tomorrow. Forewarned is forearmed, so they say.”

I stuffed the file in my tote beside the one I’d collected from Helen. “That bad?”

“Yes and no. If anyone can tame the savage beast, it’ll be you, Lynley. Now, please follow me.”

Kerry led me through the door marked employees only and into the back of the foster department with its kennels of cats going into or coming out of their temporary homes. I stopped to say hello to a little gray whom I recognized from her intake exam. She seemed rested and happy, all signs of her upper respiratory infection resolved. She could go up for adoption now, the potential adopter assured she was healthy and ready to start a life with a new family.

Kerry continued down a side hallway, then stopped.

“Hear it?”

I listened, and sure enough, coming from a room at the end of the corridor was the scream of a cat in distress. Or maybe it was a cat in frustration, or a cat in rage. Whatever the reason, this cat was upset and didn’t care who knew it.

“Is that her?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

Kerry nodded. “Now you see why we’d like to get her out of here. She’s upsetting the other cats, to say nothing of staff and volunteers who have to listen to that while they work.”

“I’m sure it’s not much fun for her either,” I suggested.

Kerry harrumphed, then conceded, “Of course, you’re right. She’s obviously having a terrible time here.”

We continued down the hall to a door with a plaque that read Tranquility Room. Underneath was taped a handwritten note, Enter at your own risk! From there I could pick out every screeching nuance of Winnie’s protestation.

“Well, I’ve got to get back to the office. Go ahead and say hi, but don’t expect too much. She’s been singularly unresponsive to everyone so far. I really do think she’ll come around once she gets back home,” Kerry added apologetically.

“And if she doesn’t?”

“Let’s cross that bridge if we have to,” she shot over her shoulder. With a flip of her ponytail, she was gone.

I hesitated on the threshold of Tranquility listening to the uproar inside. The cat sounded like she was in dire straits, but they were of her own making. I needed to remember that. I needed to be cool, calm, and most of all, confident. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door and stepped inside.

In a very large kennel was a cat unlike any I’d ever seen before. Her calico colors veritably glowed with brilliance—glossy black, pumpkin orange, and a white so bright it was almost blue. Her fur was medium length and looked silky as cashmere. I wanted to run my fingers through that luxurious coat but caught myself. Such an intrusion on her personal space would be anything but welcome.

I inched toward the kennel, making soft sounds and giving love blinks. She just stared at me—no love there. At least not yet, I told myself. Still, there was something about her eyes, something odd…

I gasped, realizing those round, wide pupil-filled orbs were of two different colors—one amber and one bright blue. With her color-splotched face, the effect was kaleidoscopic. What a wonder, I couldn’t help but think to myself.

Winnie stopped her crying for a few moments while she studied me, then she took up again full force. I was shocked by the intensity of the sounds. More than mere unhappiness, there was an urgency behind them, a need.

“Me-oooutttt nnooowww!” she shrieked into my ears and into my mind.

Was it my imagination or had Winter Orange just spoken to me?


About Mollie Hunt

Loves cats. Writes books.
This entry was posted in Cats, Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries, My Cat Cozies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Brian says:

    We all wish you a most successful launch!

  2. Leah says:

    Many hopes for a successful launch! We have a talkative calico/tortie named Shelley, whose person can no longer care for her. She is so intelligent that sometimes we could swear, she understands what we say.

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