Leann Sweeney is here today!!
The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim
by Leann Sweeney
I always begin plotting a mystery with a “what if this happened?” question and my latest book is no exception. I believe I was reading a news story about a cat who traveled hundreds of miles to get back to its owner. So, I asked myself, what would happen if the owner had been found dead before the cat could reach his longtime friend? And what if that person had been murdered?
I often see pets on shows like Today and Good Morning America with their smiling owners, thrilled by the reunion, and anxious to tell the world how far their pet traveled and how the story began. But mysteries do not always begin with happy endings. They begin with things going wrong and getting worse before that happy ending. My books are no different.
This is the 6th book in the series and I have tried to populate my stories with cats as characters. They don’t talk or think. They simply act like cats—but cats are very smart–and the perfect companions to lead my heroine, Jillian Hart, in the right direction. Clyde, my vagabond cat, is a special guy. He’s a giant orange tabby and wears a “perpetual smile.” But don’t let that smile fool you. He is one determined boy. Of course, he is helped along by Jillian’s three cats, the ones who appear in every book—Chablis, Merlot and Syrah.
This was one of the toughest books I have written because, for the first time in almost 20 years, I didn’t have the guidance of my wonderful critique group in Houston, Texas. We moved to South Carolina in 2012 and for this book, I was flying solo. I was also living in a rental house with very little room to move around (I walk the halls to think or spend time taking long showers to come up with ideas). Needless to say, when my editor got back to me after reading my first draft, she had plenty to say about what needed to be fixed. In the end, after all the rewrites and edits, I loved this book and I absolute fell in love with Vagabond Clyde. He seemed so real to me, so wonderful.
The suspects in this book are different than I have created before. See, I’ve met plenty of folks in South Carolina in the last two years and I drew on what I was learning about the people here in the Upstate. These newest characters are more “over the top” dysfunctional, that’s for sure. I hope this is fun for readers because they were fun to write. I needed to amuse myself as I wrote, seeing as how the rent house where we lived was built in 1963 and had never been renovated. The oven, the stove, the vanities, the tile in the bathrooms were fifty years old. I am happy to say we are now in the home we built on the lake. I never plan to move again. And I certainly never plan to take a 200 mile journey on foot like Clyde did. I don’t have to. I am home at last. If I told you Clyde’s ending, well … that would be a spoiler of major proportions.
About Leann Sweeney
Leann Sweeney was born and raised in Niagara Falls and educated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Lemoyne College in Syracuse, NY. She also has a degree from the University of Houston in behavioral science and worked for many years in psychiatry and as a school nurse; she now writes full time.
She began crafting fiction in 1980, fulfilling her lifelong dream. After perfecting her skills with classes and a small fortune in writing books, she joined MWA and Sisters in Crime. Now she’s the creator of two NAL/Obsidian mystery series: The Yellow Rose Mysteries and the Cats in Trouble Mysteries. The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse, first in the Cats in Trouble Mysteries was the #1 bestseller on the Independent Mystery Bookseller’s List when it debuted and made several top twenty lists for 2009 at bookstores across the country. Since then, The Cat, The Lady and The Liar and The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon climbed all the way to the NY Times bestseller list for mass market paperbacks.
Leann is married with two fabulous grown children, a wonderful son-in-law and a beautiful daughter-in-law–not to mention three amazing granddaughters: Maddison Grace (Maddie), Morgan Elizabeth and Meika Elise. She lived in Texas from 1974 to 2012 and now lives in South Carolina with husband Mike, her two cats Wexford and Marlowe, and Rosie–the smart, retrieving, golf-ball chasing, busy-busy-busy mini-labradoodle.
The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim:
A Cats in Trouble Mystery
6th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (August 5, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book File Size: 1861 KB
Heir of the cat…
When Clyde the cat travels two hundred miles back home only to find his former owner dead, the story makes national news. While everyone seems eager to tell Clyde’s incredible tale, someone needs to step up to care for him. Because the media attention is creating chaos at the local shelter, cat quilter Jillian Hart agrees to foster the loyal orange tabby, hoping his location is kept secret.
But while the media circus around Clyde continues, Jillian learns the real story behind his owner’s death—he was murdered. Why would an elderly man already dying from a serious illness become a murder victim? As the local police search for an answer, Clyde makes another escape. Jillian is drawn into the case when she finds Clyde has returned to his home again—and he’s found another body. When the motive behind these murders is finally revealed, Jillian understands Clyde is in danger of becoming the next victim, and she must help find the killer before the claws really come out.…
Jillian, Tom, Syrah, Merlot and Chablis are back and they have been joined by the cat with a constant smile on his face, Clyde. In this tale Clyde is the star and more than the media hounds are after him.
Leann Sweeney has really taken us to a new level with this one. I have to say the new characters/suspects are way off the normal quirky character chart. They are family and they don’t even get along with each other. A certain family feud has been going on for years and now that Norm has passed away poor Clyde is right in the middle which means Jillian is right in the middle. She may have her friends on the police force and Tom consulting with them, but that doesn’t mean they can keep her butt out of trouble, literally.
What a fun read!! This whodunit was a puzzler, just when I thought I had it figured out there was a twist to prove me wrong and that happened more than once. Sweeney knows how to keep the reader on their toes.
A great mystery, interesting characters and those wonderful felines. A perfect book to escape right into!! I loved it!!
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”