During a fundraiser in their home, veterinarian Savannah Jordan and her aunt Margaret are shocked when the money they collected to help abused horses has been stolen. They are even more stunned when they discover a dead body in one of the bedrooms. Their shock grows even more when their good friend Iris is accused of the crimes.
Savannah is heartbroken as the evidence builds against Iris, and possibly her troubled teenage son Damon. She is determined to prove her friend’s innocence. When she realizes that her cat Rags has been spooked and fearful since the murder, she realizes he might very well be a witness to the murder. Not sure what to do, she agrees to have a pet psychic visit with Rags. The psychic quickly learns that Rags was kicked by the killer. There’s no evidence that will stand up in court but it gives Savannah even more of a reason to want the killer behind bars.
This book picks up right where the first book, Catnapped, left off. Aunt Margaret is now married to Max, who runs the local cat rescue. Savannah is in the middle of planning her wedding to the local vet, while working for his practice. We are introduced to a new detective and we become more involved with the town. I adore these characters, especially Savannah, Michael, Margaret and Max. They come to life on these pages.
The plot has many twists and turns, many good guys and bad guys. There’s no gore or sex, just a very sweet cozy mystery with quite a bit of romance thrown in. I enjoyed this book even more than the first one. The author’s blend of mystery and romance is perfect. I’m so looking forward to the third book in the series and catching up with these characters. They are old friends now.
FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
I would like to welcome author Patricia Fry to Socrates’ Cozy Café and Socrates’ Book Review Blogs. She is the author of the cozy mystery series “A Klepto Cat Mystery”.
Welcome Patricia and let’s begin the interview…
1. Who is the greatest influence in your writing career?
This is not an easy question to answer in the way you probably expect it to be answered. There were no influential teachers, parents or mentors that I can recall. I simply realized I had a deep desire to express myself through writing when I was a young and busy mother and began spending my spare time studying the industry. Unlike most people who catch the writing bug, I dreamed of writing articles for magazines—nonfiction. I was fascinated by the way article writers could gather information, facts and quotes and create interesting and useful articles. That’s what I wanted to do. So I guess you’d say that prolific article writers of the 1960s and 70s were my greatest influence in the beginning.
I started writing articles for magazines in 1973 and earned my living doing this for many years. By June of 2012, I had hundreds (maybe thousands) of published articles to my credit and 38 books. All nonfiction.
Over the years, I thought about writing fiction. Interviewers, my clients and members of my audiences often asked if I wrote or ever considered writing fiction. I told them that maybe when I retire, I’ll try writing fiction. Well, I’m not retired. How does one retire from a career they love—especially one that involves the creative process? But last year during my birthday month, (June of 2012), I gave myself the gift of time and space to write my first novel. I published Catnapped in June of 2013 and Cat-Eye Witness in October.
2. Where did you come up with the idea for this series?
Of course, before I started writing fiction, I had thought long and hard about the kind of fiction I wanted to write. I decided that it should be a genre I enjoy reading and it should involve something I know and love. I do relish light or cozy mysteries and I enjoy cats—particularly quirky and interesting cats and those with unusual uncatlike habits and behavior. But I don’t feel I can take too much credit for the theme for the series—the first book, Catnapped, pretty much wrote itself. I often felt as though I was just following along as the story developed on its own.
3. Is it difficult to include animals in a fiction story?
One thing I realized, once I started fleshing out these stories, is that truth is as important in fiction as in nonfiction. The cats in my stories are cats. They behave like cats. And I do my best to make sure that the cats stay true to their species and that the storyline maintains elements of truth as well. When a novelist wavers from the truth, the reader loses interest—stops trusting that author. By this, I mean if the story takes place in St. Louis, you can’t change to Los Angeles midway through the book. Readers will notice and your credibility goes down the tubes. If a character is tall and has blond hair, you can’t suddenly refer to her as a short redhead—unless, of course, you explain in the story that she got a dye job and had back surgery to remove a few vertebrae.
I do not find it difficult to weave animals into my stories and maybe that’s because I’ve lived so closely with cats, horses and dogs all my life. I’ve also written nonfiction articles for a variety of cat and horse publications over the years. I can imagine the animals in many of the scenes as I write them. Sometimes I work the animals into a scene with the people and sometimes I work the people into a scene with the animals.
4. What type of research goes into your books?
I have told my family, if something were to happen where the FBI has to confiscate my computer, please explain to them that I’m a writer and I sometimes have to research strange things—such as poisons that kill cats (no the cat didn’t die in my story), various types of hunting knives, can animal blood be distinguished from human blood and even more sinister topics. I’ve discovered what I pretty much already knew from editing fiction for my clients, that novels can take every bit as much research as nonfiction. If you want to include an aspect you know little about in your story, you’d better do some research. There are always readers who will notice when you don’t get it right.
Since I wanted to create a cat character with a habit of stealing things, I researched klepto cats that have been in the news over the years.
I think readers might be interested in the fact that Catnapped was based on something that actually happened in a small California town. So I used some of what I knew from that situation and embellished it to create this story. Horses also play a role in all of the stories so far and the most harrowing of the scenes involving horses in Catnapped was also based on something that actually happened.
5. Do you write any other genres?
I’ve been writing nonfiction books and articles for 40 years. Most of my books are designed to help authors through the publishing and marketing process. I’ve also published books on local history, grandparenting, youth mentoring, journal-keeping for teens and how to present a Hawaiian luau on the mainland. My first book was for beginning horse owners, Hints for the Backyard Rider. I also wrote a book of cat stories a few years ago and I’ve put together a small book about my experiences when I traveled to Dubai for a speaking engagement.
6. Do you outline your books? Do you know where you want the book to go or are you as surprised as your readers?
I love this question. I’ve written 3 in Klepto Cat Mystery series so far and have a 4th in the works. And I’ve used a slightly different process for each of them. Although, I’ve used a blend of processes in each case, as well. Catnapped pretty much wrote itself. I watched characters develop before my eyes. What a fun project. Cat-Eye Witness became a slightly different animal. I knew the elements I wanted to include, but I wasn’t sure how to introduce them—in what order, in what context, etc. So I worked from an outline, which I changed several times. And then I wrote the details of the story around those elements I knew I wanted to present. Again, there were aspects of this story that surprised me, but I think I had more control in directing this story.
I do get a kick out of how some of the minor characters show up and develop. Some of these surprise me.
I just finished writing the 3rd in the series: Sleight of Paw. I decided to bring a bit of an eerie element into this story. That was a fun process. I hope readers enjoy it along with the traditional murder mystery that accompanies it.
7. Who are your favorite authors and/or books?
I’ve always love, love, loved books such as those James Herriot wrote (All Animals Great and Small, etc.) and All of My Patients are Under the Bed, by Dr. Louis J. Camuti. Now I read a lot of cozies and especially like those that involve animals.
8. Do you have cats of your own? Are any featured in your books?
I currently have 3 cats—all rescues. The cats in the books are definitely patterned after cats I’ve known. Rags, the main cool cat—the klepto cat—is a blend of my mother’s big boy, Smoky and our sweet Lily. I gave Rags Smoky’s looks and attitude along with Lily’s habit of carrying her toys around in her mouth. She also takes toys she likes out of the grandkids’ toy box and she steals my things, sometimes—a sachet, sock or small bear from my collection, etc. Layla and Buffy are reminiscent of Lily and a Himalayan I loved once in looks and disposition.
9. How long does it take for you to write a book?
I once wrote a 16-chapter book for a client in three weeks. It took me five years to write a comprehensive history of my home town. Generally, I can produce a solid nonfiction book within 6 to 8 months. As for my fiction, I’m completing these books within a 4 to 6 months.
10. Can you tell us anything about any future book releases?
Yes. Thank you for asking. Start watching for the latest book in the Klepto Cat Mystery series, Sleight of Paw. It should debut just about any time. In this story, Michael Ivey, the local veterinarian and Savannah’s new husband, is violently attack by an enraged client and then later accused of this man’s murder. The clues quickly stack up against Michael. Coinciding with the details of this challenge is the discovery that the old house, which the couple purchased from her aunt, is cursed. Is this why the couple has not been blessed with a child?
Savannah’s sister Brianna comes for a visit. She teams up with the Iveys’ vet tech, Bud, to discover how to break the gypsy spell and another romance buds. Of course Rags (the cat) is involved in solving the crime of many twists and turns.
Craig Sledge is working this case, too. And he has also become embedded in Iris’s family. He’s dating Iris and helping with Damon’s rehabilitation in prison.
The 4th in the series is in the works. This story exposes a cat hoarder of the worst kind.
Thank you so much for taking the time visit with us, Patricia. It’s been a pleasure to have you here!