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 each 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.