Sixteen years—sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? But that’s how long it’s been since I’ve seen my Aunt Fran.
I’m Lara Caphart, watercolor artist and cat lover. I was eleven when my folks moved from Whisker Jog, New Hampshire to a suburb of Boston, taking me away from my aunt. For a long, long time, I missed Aunt Fran horribly. And I really missed her cats—she always had at least three adorable felines roaming her Folk Victorian home. The quintessential loving aunt, she cheered me on in my artistic pursuits. Every day after school, I headed to her house. She was a teacher, so she got home from work earlier than my folks did. I couldn’t wait to rush into her fragrant kitchen, where cookies, juice, sketch paper, and colored pencils were soon plopped onto the Formica table for me. I drew pictures to my heart’s content—usually with a cat in my lap—until Dad picked me up after work.
But after we moved, everything changed. For reasons I never understood, Aunt Fran and I became estranged. I wrote her letter after letter, but she never replied. And she didn’t call, either. Didn’t Dad give her our new unlisted number? After a while I stopped asking, but I still missed her like crazy.
Now I’m a real artist, living above an Italian bakery in Boston’s historic North End. Yup. Living the dream, as people say. Truth is, I’m a struggling artist. I work part time in the bakery to help make ends meet. . .and to score free pastries.
I have to admit. . .until a few days ago I was reasonably content. Then I got a call from my childhood bestie, Sherry Bowker. Sherry owns a coffee shop in Whisker Jog with her mom, Daisy. My aunt, she confided, is having serious troubles. Aunt Fran’s knees have gotten so bad she was forced to quit her teaching job. To complicate matters, she’s been taking in rescue cats and is now on overload. A few locals have even dubbed her the “crazy cat lady.” Add to the mix the town bully, who’s been harassing my aunt because he wants to buy her vacant lot. Sounds like one big mess, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why Sherry begged me to intervene.
I want to help my Aunt Fran, honestly, I do—and I definitely want to help with the cats. But will she even want to see me, after all this time? Will she blame me for the falling-out we never really had?
I don’t know the answer to that, but I just knocked on her door. My heart is pumping wildly, and my legs feel like pudding. Even if she answers the door, I’m not sure she’ll invite me in. Maybe you could come along with me. . .you know, for moral support? One thing I can promise—you’ll meet plenty of cats. I only hope I don’t have to deal with that town bully. From Sherry’s description, he sounds dreadful. And I’m not sure why, but I have a sinking feeling he’s going to be one colossal problem. . .
You can read more about Lara and her Aunt Fran in Escape Claws, the first book in the NEW “Cat Lady” mystery series, coming December 26, 2017.
Here, killer, killer, killer . . .
For the first time in sixteen years, Lara Caphart has returned to her hometown of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. She wants to reconnect with her estranged Aunt Fran, who’s having some difficulty looking after herself-and her eleven cats. Taking care of a clowder of kitties is easy, but keeping Fran from being harassed by local bully Theo Barnes is hard. The wealthy builder has his sights set on Fran’s property, and is determined to make her an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.
Then Lara spots a blue-eyed ragdoll cat that she swears is the reincarnation of her beloved Blue, her childhood pet. Pursuing the feline to the edge of Fran’s yard, she stumbles upon the body of Theo Barnes, clearly a victim of foul play. To get her and Fran off the suspect list, Lara finds herself following the cat’s clues in search of a killer. Is Blue’s ghost really trying to help her solve a murder, or has Lara inhaled too much catnip?
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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (Kindle or Nook) of Escape Claws. The giveaway will end December 26, 2017. Good luck everyone!
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About the author
Linda Reilly is the author of the Deep Fried Mysteries published by Berkley Prime Crime, and the Cat Lady Mysteries published in e-book format by Kensington Lyrical. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, she lives with her husband in southern New Hampshire. You can visit her at lindasreilly.com. She loves to hear from readers!
All comments are welcomed.