Cat Mysteries — Something New?

More favorite mystery reads

I’ve heard it said, a pic­ture of a cat on a book cov­er is a sure win­ner. And a mys­tery with cats solv­ing the mys­tery? Yum. Or, per­haps I should just purr!

New read­ers might think mys­ter­ies with cats are a new thing. Nope. Long before the dig­i­tal boom and even before Ama­zon, there were cat mys­ter­ies. I’m quite sure I bought every paper­back of ‘The Cat Who’ mys­ter­ies. The two Siamese and their human, Quiller­an, kept me read­ing episode after episode.

More recent­ly, I’ve become acquaint­ed with oth­er mys­tery solv­ing cats. Janet Cantrell (a woman with almost as many names as she has mys­tery series) intro­duced me to the Fat Cat. (Rates anoth­er purr.)

But I’m always on the look­out for some­thing new. The last cov­er is a book I haven’t yet read. The series sounds inter­est­ing — A cat in the stack mys­tery — library stacks, I believe. Could this be my next favorite read?

Or, maybe you have anoth­er sug­ges­tion. There’s the mag­i­cal cats, cats most every­where. I’d like to hear more!

 

Five Stars for Death By A Dark Horse

8-17 Death by a Dark HorseWhen Thea’s miss­ing horse, Black­ie, is found in the pas­ture with a dead woman, the first thought was that crushed head was caused by Black­ie. Thea knows that’s not true, but how did Valerie die?

Was it mur­der? Who did it? And why? Soon Thea is ask­ing all those ques­tions, but so are the police, and they have more clout.

Death by a Dark Horse is the first in Susan Schreyer’s Thea Camp­bell series. Black­ie is a promi­nent char­ac­ter in each one. (For a horse lover, how can that be bad?) And, since Thea has a habit of find­ing dan­ger, and her horse seems to real­ize that—how can that be bad for a mys­tery lover?

Let me share some oth­er reviews from Goodreads. “The clev­er­ly titled Death By A Dark Horse has all the trap­pings of an engag­ing mur­der mys­tery: high stakes, an inde­pen­dent hero­ine, intim­i­dat­ing goons and a clever vil­lain. All of this is set upon a back­drop of horse-rid­ing and dres­sage, so right off the bat I can eas­i­ly rec­om­mend this sto­ry to horse lovers.”

Anoth­er one: “This mys­tery has enough twists, turns, and inter­est­ing char­ac­ters to keep me reach­ing for my Kin­dle every free moment.

I enjoyed learn­ing inter­est­ing tid­bits about hors­es and their care while try­ing to fig­ure out “who­dunit” and why. The protagonist’s char­ac­ter­is­tics make her some­one I will fol­low into the next book of the series: Lev­els Of Decep­tion.”

I, too, found this mys­tery a cap­ti­vat­ing read. Rec­om­mend­ed for horse lovers, mys­tery lovers, heck, let’s just say for all read­ers and be done with it! And, I just dis­cov­ered, right now it’s a free ebook at Ama­zon.

Dressed for Summer Fun

7-23 PicnicThere’s noth­ing bet­ter than a sum­mer pic­nic, along with a few sum­mer games. It’s time to look in my “many years ago” file. I found a pic­ture from a Sun­day School pic­nic with chil­dren dressed to enjoy a lot of fun.

Umm, real­ly? The year was 1908. The chil­dren gath­ered at the church, then marched to the pic­nic grounds, accom­pa­nied by a band. A dec­o­rat­ed wag­on car­ried those too young to walk. The activ­i­ties includ­ed a pro­gram with drills, music, and address­es by promi­nent speak­ers. Final­ly, a free sup­per wrapped up the event. But not before the accom­pa­ny­ing pho­to was tak­en.

Where were the children’s games, the splash­ing in water, Where7-23 sack race
were the races? I remem­ber those— three-legged race, wheel­bar­row race, all num­ber of ways to give the lit­tle ones a fun time. And, don’t for­get the gun­ny sack race. (Got­ta be dressed just right for that one.)

7-23-Goat race 2Speak­ing of being dressed just right, and races as well—how about a goat race? Twen­ty-five years ago, that was on the sum­mer pic­nic agen­da. And of course, the goat had to be dressed for the occa­sion. (Don’t know if this was the win­ner, the los­er, or just the most pho­to­genic.)

Do you remem­ber school pic­nics in your past? Maybe there are some in your present and future. (Or, do they still have them?)

5 Stars for An Error In Judgment

An Error In Judgment-coverThis is the third in the Thea Camp­bell Mys­tery series, but one I espe­cial­ly like.

As one review said, “OK, I was already a fan, so I bought An Error in Judg­ment expect­ing an enter­tain­ing read. I already knew and liked the char­ac­ters and I knew Schrey­er deliv­ered a well craft­ed, well plot­ted mys­tery with lots of twists and turns. No sur­prise that An Error in Judg­ment deliv­ers all of that. What blew me away and made this a must read book is that with this third offer­ing in the Thea Camp­bell series Schrey­er deft­ly moves from tra­di­tion­al mys­tery to roman­tic thriller and blows the doors off the genre while keep­ing her sto­ry real with gen­tly comedic and com­plete­ly real­isic moments between her lead char­ac­ters.”

I summed it up this way. “Mys­tery writ­ing and show­ing hors­es have a lot to do with pac­ing, and this mys­tery with Thea com­bines her busi­ness, her horse Black­ie, her boyfriend Paul, and mur­der with unmatched pac­ing. There are moments of ter­ror, moments of ten­der­ness, moments of doubt, and moments of fulfillment—all com­bined to keep the read­er eager­ly turn­ing the pages.”

Is it pos­si­ble to have a favorite book in a series? Yes, it is. And one reader’s favorite may not be everyone’s favorite, just as no one book or type of book appeals to every read­er. I say, “Thank good­ness for that!”

Five Star Read — THE ANTEATER OF DEATH

Anteater coverNow, you have to admit—The Anteater of Death is an unusu­al name for a mys­tery sto­ry. Okay—crazy! But I tru­ly like it. It’s got a lot going for it.

A. The name attracts atten­tion. (Always good.)

B. The sto­ry lives up to the title. (Also good.)

C. The anteater (in a zoo, thank­ful­ly) is not only a sus­pect in mur­der, but has a devot­ed advo­cate in the hero­ine of the story—Teddy, the ama­teur detec­tive.

This was how I put it a cou­ple of months ago when I read The Anteater of Death:

The plot is full of unex­pect­ed twists, the char­ac­ters are most­ly known to eah oth­er (for gen­er­a­tions) and quite indi­vid­ual. The sus­pense is right up there, along with enough humor to fit the title. But there is also sus­pense to keep the read­er on the edge of her (or his) seat. The book starts and ends with a chap­ter in the anteater’s viewpoint—quite a bit dif­fer­ent than a human view­point. In between it’s Teddy’s sto­ry. She’s relat­ed to the wealthy zoo donors and work­ing at the zoo. And yes, there is death. Great sto­ry for those look­ing for the unusu­al sub­ject. Spiced with zoo and ani­mal infor­ma­tion.

Right now the Kin­dle ebook is $.99. Bet­ty Webb is the author. She has two oth­er zoo books, and a desert series of mys­ter­ies.

The Eagle Has Hatched!

I must take a pass on shar­ing my War of 1812 research. Over a month ago I blogged about a pair of eagles on their nest of two eggs. Then we had snow on the first day of spring. How were the eagles far­ing?

Yes, you see an eagle head.

Yes, you see an eagle head.

This pic­ture might give you a clue. They were keep­ing those eggs warm. (An author­i­ty answered wor­ried watch­ers, “Notice the snow doesn’t melt over the par­ent. That means his or her feath­ers are keep­ing the body well insu­lat­ed.”)

Now, this morn­ing our paper had the news—the first egg had hatched! Byeagle feeds baby the time I sat down at my com­put­er to write this blog, the sec­ond egg had hatched and the first eaglet had already had its first meal. Fish bits, yum, yum. Mam­ma (or Papa) had to keep try­ing to con­nect with the tiny wob­bling beak.

Here’s some inter­est­ing arti­cles to read and videos to watch: Arti­cle in this morning’s news­pa­per. Video-first egg hatch­es. Video-sec­ond egg hatch­es. A first meal.

Eagles on the Nest

The tem­per­a­ture is about to hit zero in my part of Penn­syl­va­nia. Who knew it is eagle nest­ing time? Not me, until I noticed an arti­cle about a near­by eagle nest with an eagle cam mount­ed to see all the eagle’s inti­mate moments. Lay­ing egg one? Got that. Egg two? You bet. I just checked the eagle cam and saw one of the eagles stand­ing by, watch­ing the eggs, before she (or he—they take turns) set­tled back down.

I also learned a lit­tle bit about eagles and their eggs. Cold as it is, it evi­dent­ly doesn’t hurt the eggs to be uncov­ered for ten or so min­utes. In fact, that keeps them from being over­heat­ed. Anoth­er fact—it takes thir­ty-five days for an egg to hatch.

Here’s a few links to fol­low our local eagles, named Lib­er­ty and Free­dom by news­pa­per read­ers. That’s unof­fi­cial, since the Penn­syl­va­nia Game Com­mis­sion, whose cam­era is livestream­ing these eagles and their nest, does not “per­son­i­fy wildlife.” (I should imag­ine the eagles are unaware of these names as well.)

The Valentine’s Day love sto­ry.

The first egg. The sec­ond egg.

And, since every sto­ry should have a bit of con­tro­ver­sy—were the eagles scared off the nest?

And here’s the eagle cam, so you can watch at any time. Plan on view­ing on March 21, the esti­mat­ed time for the first hatch­ing.

Are there any eagle cams near you? Are there any oth­er ani­mals watched by cam­era?

Saving Dogs

Dogs on a plane. A mer­cy flight for ani­mals fac­ing death in over­crowd­ed shel­ters.

Recent­ly our news­pa­per told the sto­ry of the Pitts­burgh Avi­a­tion Ani­mal Res­cue Team when they brought fif­teen dogs to the Lan­cast­er Coun­ty SPCA shel­ter. The PAART began when a cou­ple of new pilots want­ed a mis­sion oth­er than just fly­ing around Pitts­burgh. After one trans­port­ed a dog for a friend, the idea took hold. When the group hears of an over­crowd­ed shel­ter about to euth­a­nize dogs, they fly in and col­lect up to one thou­sand pounds of ani­mals and take them to a shel­ter that has room and peo­ple who want to adopt dogs.

Since 2006, they’ve moved more than 600 dogs. They’ve also shift­ed cats, ducks, even pigs and a python. Some­times the dogs are in crates, oth­er times they are loose. The alti­tude makes them sleepy. The only prob­lem has been when an affec­tion­ate dog wants to sit on the pilot’s lap. (The only dam­age to a plane was when one Great Dane chewed up the co-pilot’s seat.) Many of the dogs are pup­pies.

The team of pilots has gone out near­ly every week­end for the last two years. On occa­sion a pilot will adopt one of the dogs. But they know the dogs face a bright future. Local­ly, the Lan­cast­er shel­ter had pre­vi­ous­ly tak­en twen­ty-eight dogs from the same over­crowd­ed shel­ter in anoth­er state, but these were the first that came by plane. All of those those tak­en ear­li­er have been adopt­ed.

Our turnover has been phe­nom­e­nal,” said Lancaster’s Susan Mar­tin. “We live in such a great coun­ty. There are so many dog lovers.”

The full arti­cle with pic­tures is here.