Tag Archives: Cathy Ace

Another day in the life of Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace – NEED BUY LINK

I’ve been away from my post at the University of Vancouver – where I am a professor of criminal psychology – for several months now, and I hate to admit it, but I’m missing the work! Here I am, sunning myself in the Caribbean, a few steps from a sugary-white beach, my hair tousled by the cooling sea-breeze that carries within it a hint of the turquoise sea’s saltiness. . .and I’m missing grading papers, arguing with students about the marks they’ve received, and avoiding my peers in the warren-like corridors where our offices are located.

Explain that, if you can. I’m a psychologist, for goodness sake, and I can’t even begin to understand it!

Maybe I’m missing it because I know I can’t return to that life for at least another nine months or so, and I don’t like being told what I can or cannot do. That said, I know I have to give myself time; I have to recover fully from the after-effects of a near-fatal run-in I had in Budapest late last year. (No, I can’t tell you about that now. . .that’s a whole different story.)

I’m not missing the work because I’m unhappy; I’m really enjoying spending all my time with Bud – I was a little worried that being with each other 24/7 might become a strain, but it’s all been wonderful. He’s popped back to our comfy little whitewashed bungalow to get some more sun-cream – I need an extra bit on my nose, because I don’t want to burn, but I also don’t want to leave the poolside yet. I’ve moved my lounger so I’m shaded by a palm tree; that will help too – and this drink with a little umbrella in it is keeping my insides cool. I gave in to these lovely Piña Coladas when we got here – I can only manage a couple each day, because even I think they’re a bit rich, but, oh my word, they’re yummy! And the fruit allows me to convince myself they’re good for me. You know what I mean.

To be honest, I can still hardly believe how lucky I am to be married to Bud. Did you know that we almost didn’t meet? Given my eidetic memory, it’s not surprising I can remember the first time I saw him, but if I tell you that my clearest impression of him after that first encounter was of his nose-hairs, you might be intrigued. I suppose you could say we met “online”, because he was on-camera at a crime scene, and I was in a cavernous room at my university, delivering a lecture on victim profiling to a group of law enforcement officers; Bud couldn’t see me, but I could see him. He even “kissed me” that day – weeks before we met in person, and a very long time before our lips met in real life. As I think back, I can see it’s a long story. Or maybe several shorter ones, it’s hard to know.

Once Bud understood my theories about victim profiling, he began to retain my services on the odd case or two – cases encountered by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team he used to run in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. And, then, of course, his poor wife – Jan – was tragically murdered, while I was away in the south of France trying to talk myself out of a murder charge. But there, I’m running ahead of myself…or am I running backwards?

Whichever way around you view it, meeting Bud was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally, because I got the chance to use my theories on real cases. As for Bud becoming a widower? So dreadfully sad, and it’s such a shame our happiness had to have that loss for him at its foundation…but, as he’s said so many times since we got together, we didn’t choose it, but it’s how we had the chance to have this new beginning – for the both of us.

Yes, that was what meeting Bud was for me – even before his wife’s death – a new beginning.

You can read more about Cait’s adventures in Murder Keeps No Calendar, a compilation of short stories and novellas.

In Murder Keeps No Calendar author Cathy Ace finally tells how Cait Morgan met Bud Anderson, and how the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency set up in business together. Eight novellas and four short stories (each connected with one month of the year) also give her the chance to introduce two new recurring characters – Detective Inspector Evan Glover, of the Glamorgan Police Service in South Wales, and his wife Betty – as well as a host of other murderous “one shot wonders”, so to speak.

Buy Link

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About the author
Cathy Ace’s criminal psychologist, overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, Golden Nose, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair, Sapphire Eyes, a Diamond Hand, a Garnet Face and Ruby Lips during her globetrotting. Ace’s WISE Enquiries Agency series features four softly-boiled PIs (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, one English) who solve quintessentially British cases from their stately home-based office in rural Wales. Ace won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery, was shortlisted again in 2017 when she was also a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story. Visit Cathy at cathyace.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Carol Hill by Cathy Ace

the-case-of-the-curious-cookA WISE Woman faces life as a new, still working, mother

Carol Hill knew her body would never be the same, but, as she looked down at her infant son sleeping soundly, she also knew she didn’t care one bit. It wasn’t as though she’d ever been anything but a cuddly girl and a well-rounded woman – not unusual for the Welsh – so she had no ridiculous ideas about losing the baby weight any time soon. Besides, her husband David loved her just the way she was, and now they had Albert too . . . so life was perfect.

Creeping down the wide staircase in the beautifully proportioned Georgian house that overlooked the green at the heart of the village of Anwen-by-Wye, which she and her family now called home, Carol counted her blessings – which were many. She’d enjoyed a wonderful career as the head of a large team of computing specialists in the City of London for years, but now couldn’t imagine that life had ever held any appeal for her. Oh yes, she’d enjoyed besting the men who’d incorrectly imagined a girl raised on a farm in West Wales wouldn’t know her onions when it came to computers, but she’d become bored with winning that game relatively quickly. She’d been almost relieved when the specialist had told her that giving up her stressful career, with its deadlines and long hours, might help her be better able to conceive.

After only a few months in her new role as one of the four women who operated the WISE Enquiries Agency, she and David had been able to spread the good news about the impending arrival of a “Baby Hill”. . . a little joke which had led to her growing belly being referred to as “Bump”.

As Carol settled herself at the scrubbed table in her jolly, yellow kitchen, surrounded by her collection of all sorts of cat-decorated paraphernalia, she acknowledged she’d been taking it easy at work since Albert’s birth; Mavis MacDonald, Annie Parker and Christine Wilson-Smythe – her partners in the business – had made no bones about insisting she should work shorter hours, so she hadn’t argued. But Albert was a couple of months old now, and she felt it was time for her to begin to contribute more than she had been to the business.

Bunty, Carol’s beloved calico cat, stretched lazily on the mat beside the Aga, and made her signature groaning-purring sound which told Carol she was happy, and not about to move for some time. Taking comfort in her surroundings, Carol delighted in the fact that the wonderful thing about her role for the company was that she could be just as effective when working at her dining room table as she could at the office; Carol’s specialty was using her computing skills to collect information from around the world, using the internet, as much modern technology as she could get her hands on and her almost-magical research skills. Carol smiled as she thought about how her colleagues spoke about her; she knew there was no magic involved, just a great deal of experience and some excellent contacts she could call upon when needed, but she liked it when they “Oh-ed” and ‘Ah-ed” at what she’d managed to unearth. Carol told herself it was quite normal to enjoy being admired for one’s skills.

The village green lay peacefully beyond her windows; she could see Sharon Jones opening up the village shop, pulling the racks to display her fruits and vegetables onto the pavement. She’d promised Mavis she’d take Albert into the office later on, which would be fun for everyone. As she pulled her dressing gown around herself and began to walk up the stairs to tend to her son, Carol wondered if there’d be anything interesting to work on during the week. She wouldn’t mind some online research to sink her teeth into. So long as she could have Albert at her side, she’d be fine.

In The Case of The Curious Cook Carol Hill’s research skills are put to the test when a mysterious book turns up at a Hay-on-Wye bookshop run by celebrity TV chef, The Curious Cook. Can Carol’s abilities reveal whether the sketches in the book are by a local artist, recently murdered by her brother? That would make them worth a fortune, and could change the cook’s life. And will Dowager Duchess Althea Twyst’s desperate desire to go undercover on behalf of the agency put their case in jeopardy? This is the third in the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries series by Cathy Ace, and its official publication day in the USA and Canada is March 1st – St. David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales – which is where this book is set.

You can read more about Carol in The Case Of The Curious Cook, the third book in the “WISE Enquiries Agency” mystery series.

A new case for the ladies of the WISE enquiries agency . . .

Henry Devereaux Twyst, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth, is terribly worried about some water damage to the priceless books in his lower library, so retains the services of a local book restorer to tackle much-needed repairs. The antiquarian also runs the Crooks and Cooks bookshop with his daughter – local TV celebrity chef, The Curious Cook. When the book restorer mentions some strange shenanigans going on at the book shop, Dowager Duchess Althea brings the case to her colleagues at the WISE Enquiries Agency.

As the WISE women try to unravel one puzzle from their base at stately Chellingworth Hall, they then get embroiled in another when they come across a valuable book of miniatures which seems to be the work of a local famous artist, murdered by her own brother. Are the cases linked and why do both mysteries lead to a nearby old folks’ home? The WISE women are on the case – and nothing will get in their way . . . Or will it?

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About the author
Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, and worked in marketing communications for decades across Europe. Having migrated to Canada in 2000, she now lives in beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband (and two chocolate Labradors) ensure she’s able to write full-time. Bestselling author Ace writes two series of mystery books: the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. Her fourth Cait Morgan Mystery, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair, won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery. You can find out more about Cathy, her books, and events she’ll be attending, at www.cathyace.com. You can also connect with Cathy on Facebook and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

The Case of the Curious Cook is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

A Day In The Life Of with Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace

the-corpse-with-the-ruby-lipsEmergency surgery is never pleasant – not for the person concerned, nor for those who love them – but I’m pleased to be able to report that Ebba, Bud’s Mum, has come through her operation very well. She took a tumble down some steps about a week ago, and they’ve finally been able to give her the treatment she needed – a replacement hip. Bud’s been brilliant; he’s been with his dad, Leo, at Ebba’s side at the hospital since it happened. The doctors were finally happy enough with her general condition for the surgery to take place yesterday, and they say she’ll be walking about by this evening. Amazing!

I’m delighted she’s looking perkier, and that Bud and Leo have finally been able to sleep in their own beds, but the whole thing has put a bit of a kink in our plans. Bud and I have talked it through and I know he’s right to decide to not accompany me when I leave next week; I’m off to teach for a month at the Hungarian University of Budapest, as part of a “hands across the nations” effort on the part of my school of criminology at the University of Vancouver. Without Bud’s company, I have a feeling it will be a long month.

fishermans_bastion_budapest_amkWe’d planned to do so much: enjoying a trip on the Danube to see all the fabulous architecture, of course; indulging in our favorite pastime of hunting down hole-in-the-wall places to eat and drink, as well as a few swankier spots, too; even taking a bit of time to visit tourist highlights like the Fisherman’s Bastion, which isn’t usually my cup of tea. But now? I dare say I’ll just put my head down and get on with work, and hope Bud’s able to come to join me when my classes are over – just for a week…we think he’ll be able to manage that, so long as Ebba’s recuperation goes well.

I’ve brushed up on my Budapest history – and what a history it is…so bloody and tragic! – so I’m ready for Austro-Hungarian grandeur on the Pest side of the Danube where I’ll be teaching, and the slightly more domestic scale of Buda where the HUB (that’s what they call the Hungarian University of Budapest) has an apartment they retain for visiting professors, which is where I’ll be staying.

I was looking forward to my time there so much more before Ebba’s unfortunate fall. Watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS every week I love seeing the Budapest Parliament Buildings and the Danube they show in those advertisements for Viking River Cruises, and I was excited to think I’d see it all first-hand. But the main thing is that Ebba’s well, and Bud will be the dutiful son for a while supporting his mum and dad when they need hm. I’m sure I’ll be fine on my own – though Bud has mentioned several times that I’m not allowed to go getting myself “mixed up in anything dodgy”. I cannot imagine what he means!

You can find out exactly what Cait Morgan gets mixed up in during her time alone in Budapest, and how Bud has to help her out while he also oversees his mother’s recuperation, when you read The Corpse With The Ruby Lips, due to be published in Canada on October 18th and in the US on November 1st, by TouchWood Editions, and available for pre-order right now.

Quirky criminology professor Cait Morgan is invited to be a guest lecturer at a Budapest university, and although she’s hesitant to go without her husband and trusted sidekick, Bud, who must stay home to care for his aging parents, she decides to make the month-long trip on her own.

Soon after arriving, one of her new students, Zsofia, pleads with Cait to help her uncover any clues about her grandmother’s unsolved murder, which happened decades ago on the campus of Cait’s own home university in Canada. Cait agrees, but when she is repeatedly hassled by an creepy colleague, and as bizarre details about Zsofia’s family members come to light, Cait is beset by uncertainty.

As she gets closer to the truth, Cait’s investigation puts the powers-that-be on high alert, and her instincts tell her she’s in grave danger. Bud races to Budapest to come to Cait’s side, but will it be too late?

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About the author
Cathy Ace’s criminal psychologist, and overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a CathyAceSilver Tongue, a Golden Nose, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair, Sapphire Eyes, a Diamond Hand, a Garnet Face (April 2016) and now Ruby Lips (October 2016) during her globetrotting. Ace’s other series features the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, and one English) who solve quintessentially British cases from their office beside a stately home deep in the Welsh countryside. BC bestselling author Cathy Ace won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery for The Corpse with the Platinum Hair.

You can find out more about Cathy, and Cait, at Cathy’s website: cathyace.com or on Facebook or Twitter: @AceCathy

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Corpse With The Ruby Lips. US and Canadian entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 20, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Perfect Start to a Saturday Morning for Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace

The Corpse with the Garnet FaceI refuse to be categorized as a coffee addict; I think three mugs before being able to function is perfectly normal. Of course, since Bud and I have moved to our new home in an idyllic rural setting, my commute to the University of Vancouver where I’m a professor of criminal psychology (well, I am at the moment. . .though there are some worrying things going on in the department) has increased, so now it’s only really at the weekend that I have the chance to indulge in freshly ground beans and a strong, satisfying mug or three.

Luckily, today is Saturday, so I’m looking forward to the aroma of brewing coffee, the moistness of a lemon poppy seed muffin, and the happily relaxed company of my husband and Marty, our now slightly-less-tubby black Lab. Running around our five acres of heaven is good for Marty. I suppose it could be said to be good for me too – my relationship with the ride-on mower is progressing in leaps and bounds. When it works, that is.

Even though I know I have to head out and cut the grass today, for once I can also feel relaxed about it because we just had the machine serviced. One of the marvelous things about living where we do now is that there’s a less-hurried rhythm to the life out here, and there also seems to be a specialist who can do just about anything. An elderly chap named Greg runs the local “bring it and we’ll fix it” workshop. . .so we took our mower (we bought it second-hand and it’s always made an ominous clunking sound) to be diagnosed and repaired. Now there’s no more clunking, just a regular purring, and an eager response to my pressing the accelerator. Wonderful.

Bud delivered the mower on his own when I was at work, but we went to collect it together. I liked Greg’s barn. It’s a unique place; half workshop and half library, it appears to be the accepted hang-out for a group of about a dozen retired men who live in the area. They make themselves at home in the ramshackle old place that smells of oil and cut grass, and talk about all the equipment they use on their acreages, or else browse the collection of books Greg has piled on wide-plank bookshelves there – all of which are about World War Two aircraft. It was a bit of a shock to my system when I noted the spines on the shelves; my late father had a similar interest, and collection. That meant I was able to speak to Greg about his favorite topic while Bud nattered about chainsaws, weed-whackers and stump grinders to the little group of men who were at ease in the collection of sagging and torn – but apparently comfy – armchairs. I’m guessing the furniture has found its way to Greg’s after having been slung out of basements because some parts of it are more duct tape than upholstery.

It was an odd hour; as I reeled off facts and figures about designers, engines, air speeds and handling capabilities – all of which I’d read about when I used to indulge my Dad and pretend I found his books interesting – I could tell ears were straining to hear what this woman with an odd accent and comfortable girth was talking about to Greg. Bud finally gave up trying to engage the group, and I found myself being quizzed. Bud graciously listened for a while, then made moves to allow us to leave. Yes, he rescued me – again! He’s told me that, when he went back to get some oil, Greg quizzed him too – not about aircraft, but about me. It seems that, sometimes, I let all the facts my largely secret eidetic memory stores about a topic spill out a little too much and a little too quickly. I have to be more careful about that . . . I’d rather listen than be talked about. You never know what you might pick up. Oh, excuse me – there’s the phone. I have a feeling it’ll be Bud’s mother, Ebba. It usually is at this time on a Saturday. I hope it’s not a family crisis; I’ve only had one mug of coffee so far.

The Corpse with the Garnet Face is the seventh book in the Cait Morgan mystery series, published by TouchWood Editions, April 2016.

The seventh book in the Cait Morgan series finds the eccentric Welsh criminologist–sleuth accompanying her husband Bud to Amsterdam to try to unravel a puzzling situation.

To Bud’s surprise, he discovers he has a long-lost uncle, Jonas, who’s met an untimely death. Bud’s mother assures him Jonas was a bad child, but, from beyond the grave, Uncle Jonas begs his nephew to visit the city he adopted as his home to delve into the life he built for himself there, founded on his passion for art.

With an old iron key as their only clue, Cait and Bud travel to Amsterdam to solve the cryptic message left by Jonas—and to honor the final wishes of a long-lost relative.

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About the author
Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, and worked in marketing communications for CathyAcedecades across Europe. Having migrated to Canada in 2000, she now lives in beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband (and two chocolate Labradors) ensure she’s able to write full-time. Bestselling author Ace writes two series of mystery books: the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. Her fourth Cait Morgan Mystery, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair, won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery.

You can find out more about Cathy and her work here: cathyace.com

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Corpse with the Garnet Face. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 13, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

A ‘New Day’ For the Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency by Cathy Ace

The Case of the Missing Morris DancerAnnie Parker couldn’t sleep. Used to the thrum of traffic carving its way through south London at all hours, she was having a problem settling into her new home in picturesque Anwen-by-Wye, Wales. The sixteenth-century thatched cottage overlooked the heart of the village which, at this hour, was as quiet as the graveyard of St David’s Church, just across the green. Wrestling her pillow into submission in the deafening silence, she wondered if her mother Eustelle, who was in the guest bedroom across the landing, was faring any better.

Eustelle had insisted upon coming from London to help her daughter move in, and Annie had been grateful for her company. Until about three weeks ago. Now she could hardly wait for her to leave. Which made her feel guilty.

Sighing, Annie swung herself out of bed, chastised the bedside table for being a bully when she stubbed her toe, then hobbled to the little window. Street-lamps at each of the four corners of the village green did their best to pierce the darkness, with little effect.

Four lights, four women. Annie and her three colleagues at the WISE Enquiries Agency had decamped to the ducal estate of Chellingworth in the rolling countryside of Powys to benefit from free office-space, peppercorn rents for housing and the chance for a continuing future as investigators; their income just wasn’t up to supporting them all in London any longer.

Annie opened the casement just an inch, and enjoyed the chill of the February air; her fifties were turning out to be more sweaty than she’d imagined possible.

She was the only one who’d needed convincing to make the move. Carol Hill, her friend for many years and now her colleague, had jumped at the chance. Born and raised on a Welsh farm, Carol was happily married, enjoying her thirties and blissfully pregnant. She didn’t miss her stellar career as a high-flying computing whizz in the City at all, and had nestled into the substantial Georgian house just across the village green in a matter of weeks. She was the technical genius of the agency who gathered information and passed it to the other three for them to be able to take action.

Mavis MacDonald was thriving too. She and Althea Twyst, the dowager duchess of Chellingworth – now a sort of honorary WISE Woman – were as tight as two ticks living at the Dower House together. Althea was almost eighty and used to the best of the best, whereas Mavis was a Scottish retired army nurse in her early sixties with what Annie always thought of as short arms and long pockets when it came to the agency’s finances. Despite their differences, the two women were as giggly as schoolgirls when they took their walks to Chellingworth Hall with Althea’s little Jack Russell, McFli, yapping ahead of them.

And of course Christine Wilson-Smythe had landed on her feet, snapping up the little apartment above their office in the recently converted barn, where she frequently entertained the dubious Mr. Alexander Bright. She might be the daughter of an Irish viscount, but she can’t half pick ‘em when it comes to men, thought Annie. Got her uses when it comes to contacts though, she mentally, and grudgingly, accepted.

Annie knew she was the only one flapping about like a flounder. She didn’t like the countryside; it was empty, boring and, at this time of year, ridiculously bleak. She wished she was looking out at London’s lights at that moment; it was so full of life. Bustling. Here, in the countryside, almost nothing happened. Well, okay, there’d been the theft and murder that had originally brought the WISE Women to the area . . . and she herself had been kidnapped there too. But that wasn’t usual. Not at all.

Mavis always told Annie off for using the word “gumshoeing”, but she liked it – the word, and doing it. Fat chance she’d have to do any real undercover work close to her new home; her dark skin made her instantly noticeable. Annie admitted to herself she had just finished a nice job in Cardiff where she’d gone largely unnoticed acting as a barmaid, gathering evidence for a case involving a gold-digging girlfriend. But now? She’d go to the office in the morning to see if Mavis had brought in something from any new clients. She usually had – she was good at sniffing out business. Maybe Annie would get another break from her mother, who wasn’t due to leave until after the Big Day next Saturday; at least Annie was going to be a guest at the wedding of a duke to his new duchess, which she supposed wasn’t bad for a girl born to immigrant St. Lucian parents scraping by in the East End of London.

Crawling back under the covers, having told the bedside table to not leap out and give her a thump, she heard a cockerel cry in the distance. A couple of hours and it would start – another uneventful day. At least, that’s what Annie thought . . .

The Case Of The Missing Morris Dancer is the second WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery, published by Severn House Publishers, February 2016.

All comments are welcomed.

About the author
Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, and worked in marketing communications for decades across Europe. Having migrated to Canada in 2000, she now lives in beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband (and two chocolate Labradors) ensure she’s able to write full-time. Bestselling author Ace writes two series of mystery books: the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. Her fourth Cait Morgan Mystery, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair, won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery.

Visit Cathy at cathyace.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Case Of The Missing Morris Dancer. US and Canadian entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 1, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Honeymoon with Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace

The Corpse With The Diamond H andWhat’s better than waking up next to your spouse on your honeymoon? For me, nothing. The fact Bud and I have a sumptuous stateroom on the luxury cruise ship Stellar Sol makes it even better. Oh yes, cruising the Hawaiian Islands has been a thoroughly enjoyable break from redecorating our new home.

My husband’s just dashed to the gym to work off last night’s five-course dinner. I’ve decided those particular delicacies can linger on my hips until we get back home; I expect clambering up ladders with pots of paint will shift the pounds. Or ounces, at least. Meanwhile, I’ll allow myself to lay here for fifteen minutes and let the headache pills work their magic—maybe one less cocktail tonight?

It’s a challenge to not overindulge: restaurants and bars at almost every turn; service levels meaning I have to lift no more than a finger to get anything delivered to my lounge-chair, table, or room, and the weather? Blissfully warm. I can sit and read while I catch some sun, the ocean breezes keeping me cool-ish.

Onboard libraryI’ve enjoyed browsing the ship’s library, but have to admit my love of people-watching often makes me peer beyond the pages of my book. That’s what comes of being a psychologist, I suppose—I always want to know why people do what they do.

It means I build life-stories for folks I stand beside in elevators, or spy across the deck. I can’t help myself. Bud’s indulgently patient about my staring, then telling him about the back-story and current lifestyles I’ve deduced for my targets.

A good example would be our conversation last night about one of the two couples who sit close-by at dinner. We’ve been on the ship for well over a week, and the foursome met at the table the first formal night. Polite conversations have graduated to what appears to be a happy camaraderie. One couple’s young—only in their thirties, which is well below the average age of the guests on the ship, but they are the more experienced cruisers, as evidenced by how relaxed they are in this opulent setting. The other two are in their late sixties, and it’s obvious that they, like us, are enjoying such a vessel for the first time.

Onboard library and card games areaI face the older couple, so I’ve grown more familiar with their ways. As our shared mealtimes have passed I’ve built a mental story for them, largely based on the woman’s engagement ring. It’s not an imposing piece, though its small, dark sapphire surrounded by tiny diamonds speaks volumes. It tells me the couple got engaged in the early 1980s, when Lady Diana Spencer’s choice set a trend that encircled the globe.

They have money now, though they’re still getting used to it—their clothing shows me that much, as do their new, expensive watches and jewelry, and the gold card they use almost apologetically when ordering wine at their table. They’re delighted by the dazzling surroundings, but not quite at ease within them; they’ve lived simply until quite recently. Their body language speaks of them being a complete unit, alone in the world, which leads me to suspect parental deaths have filled their coffers, and they probably don’t have children or pets—they haven’t shown off photos on their phones at their table like many others have.

Onboard library and pool at nightThe ring’s inexpensive stones suggest it didn’t require a substantial budget, and the accompanying narrow wedding band probably means they didn’t have much money when they married. Given the likely age of the ring they didn’t wed until they were in their thirties, and I feel a fair assessment is that neither one of them was ever what might be called good-looking, so a late first, and only marriage.

I have no doubt they could now afford to “trade up” as jewelry salesmen like to say, but she treasures that ring for what it represents. Even now, after wearing it for more than thirty years, she touches it gently on occasion, almost as though she’s making sure it’s still there. She often strokes it, then absently reaches for her husband’s hand. Without a word, their eyes meet briefly, a shadow of a private smile passes from one to the other, then they refocus on the conversation.

Cruise ship in portWhen I told Bud my theories, he confirmed the history I’d worked out for them—her husband is a gym-mate of my husband, it seems. We shared a grim chuckle as we agreed it made a pleasant change that I haven’t had to use my skills to solve a murder on this trip.

As for today? I won’t let a little hangover spoil our penultimate day at sea, so I’m going to haul myself out of bed and pop to the library before joining Bud, later on. He’s going for a session with the chap who teaches card games; watching people play cards can be very dull, so I’ll pick up a thriller to stop myself nodding off—because who knows what I might miss if I did that.

Cruise photos courtesy of Cathy Ace

The sixth Cait Morgan Mystery, The Corpse With The Diamond Hand, is published on October 13th 2015. In it you can find out how Cait’s day progresses.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, October 19 for your chance to win a signed copy of The Corpse With The Diamond Hand. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

About the author
Cathy Ace’s criminal psychologist, foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, a Golden Nose, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair, Sapphire Eyes and, now, a Diamond Hand during her globetrotting. A bestselling author, Cathy won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery for Cait Morgan Mystery #4, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair. Like Cait Morgan, Cathy was born and raised in Wales, but now lives in Beautiful British Columbia.

Visit Cathy at www.cathyace.com, at @AceCathy and on Facebook

Meet the Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency by Cathy Ace

The Case of the Dotty DowagerDuring her journey on the number 19 bus from Finsbury Park to Sloane Square, Mavis MacDonald had a lengthy, silent chat with herself about how she enjoyed the company of her three colleagues, but that she was under no illusions about the fact that the WISE Enquiries Agency was facing a challenging time. She was well aware they needed A Serious Chat about their future, and, by the time she alighted at her bus stop, she’d decided that this would be the day for that discussion.

On this particular morning, the stairs from the street to the office were also proving to be a challenge, and Mavis felt all of her sixty-odd years as she tried to maintain a steady pace upward. She told herself she was thankful that Christine Wilson-Smythe’s father, the viscount, had been allowing them to use the office space for almost nothing, but the income just wasn’t, well. . .coming in. She then told herself that was understandable, because Annie Parker had been laid up for some time after being stabbed while in pursuit of a vicious kidnapper a few months back, and Carol Hill – the woman whose computer skills were quite amazing – was happily pregnant.

Mavis smiled as she recollected Carol’s delight when she’d told them all about the baby – Carol and her husband had been trying for so long, and it seemed that their doctor had been right after all; Carol had given up her stressful, high-powered job in the City to join the team and had fallen pregnant within the year. “Good for you, Carol,” thought Mavis as she approached the door to the office. Having two grown sons and now two grandsons herself, she knew how fulfilling family life could be, though she still mourned the loss of her poor, dear husband.

Before she opened the door, Mavis drew herself up to her full five feet and straightened her serviceable navy blue gabardine. It wouldn’t do for the girls – which was how she thought of them, even though Annie was in her fifties and given to the odd bout of unenviable perspiration – to see her looking anything less than her best. Her decades as an army nurse had taught her that appearance matters; to be taken seriously, first one has to take oneself seriously. She was pretty sure there must be an old Scottish saying along those lines, but she couldn’t recall it at that moment.

She hoped there’d be a pot of tea ready, and was pretty confident that both Carol and Annie would already be at their desks. As for Christine? It was difficult to berate her for her lack of punctuality because she was a delightful wee girl. Ah, to be beautiful, rich, titled and in your twenties. . .Mavis envied her, but she was such a bright, happy, and thoughtful person, she just couldn’t find it in herself to be cross with her. Annie Parker on the other hand – now she was a real handful. Like Pooh’s friend Tigger, that was Annie – always bounding about the place, and tripping over her own feet on many an occasion. But also a good woman, at heart. Sharp tongue on her though, and always running off with that cockney rhyming slang nonsense. Mavis tried to keep her under control, but she just wouldn’t be silenced sometimes. No discipline.

Carol was a delight. Pure and simple, a country girl originally, Mavis had warmed to her the day they’d met. Mavis had known a lot of Welsh men and women in the armed forces, and had always been aware of their often-intense intelligence and quick wits – plus their ability to sing or fight at the drop of a hat. Carol was like that, though much more likely to sing than fight, thought Mavis. But with a wee bairn on the way, she might be off and leaving them before they knew it. Then where would they be?

Sighing heavily, Mavis opened the door, ready to face the day. There was Carol, her head bent over her computer, twirling one of her short blonde curls with a finger, and Annie’s tall, angular frame was jerking about on her chair as she battled with the running shoes she wore for her tube journey every morning. No sign of Christine. Not a surprise; she was probably trying to park her Range Rover somewhere. Mavis hooked her practical, short-bobbed hair behind her ears, then unbelted her coat, placing it carefully on a hanger.

The day had begun. She wondered what it would hold for the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency.

You can read more about Mavis and her friends in The Case of the Dotty Dowager, the first book in the NEW “WISE Enquiries Agency” mystery series, published by Severn House Publishers.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 3 for the chance to win a signed copy of The Case of the Dotty Dowager. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, Cathy Ace is the author of the Cait Morgan Mysteries. Her new series is The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries – featuring four female professional investigators, one of whom is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish and one English (hence the acronym). They tackle quirky British cases from their base at a Welsh stately home – the ancient seat of the Twyst family, the Dukes of Chellingworth, set in the rolling countryside of the Wye Valley in Powys, Wales. Cathy now lives in Beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband and two chocolate Labradors make sure she’s able to work full-time as an author, and enjoy her other passion – gardening.

Visit Cathy at cathyace.com, on Facebook and on Twitter

My Musing ~ The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes by Cathy Ace

The Corpse With The Sapphire EyesThe Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes by Cathy Ace is the fifth book in the “Cait Morgan” mystery series. Publisher: TouchWood Editions, May 2015

It’s Cait and Bud’s wedding weekend and nothing is going as planned. The weather in Wales is terrible, the “romantic” castle they chose for their destination wedding feels creepy, and now there’s a dead man at the foot of the stairs.

Bud assures her that the death of the choirmaster is nothing more than an unfortunate accident, but the bride cannot help but suspect the worst. With the only bridge to the castle washed out by the storm, Cait surmises that the murderer is still in their midst, and sets out to catch the culprit. She knows she has to solve the case before something, or someone, prevents her from finally saying “I do.”

With an eclectic cast of characters and a baffling mystery, the fifth Cait Morgan Mystery will have you stumbling to catch up to Cait’s brilliant mind, and keep you guessing until its shocking conclusion.

I enjoyed the latest adventures with Cait and Bud who are set to marry and of course, what mars this exciting time is Murder. What I like best about this drama is that all the suspects are trapped inside this castle, which puts Cait and Bud on high alert to uncover the killer’s identity. The author did a great job in the telling of this tale placing me in the middle of all the action, as I wanted to know what role every character played in this intriguing and finely tuned whodunit. I liked that we got to know a little more about Cait and her relationship with her sister. The author blew me away with a surprising twist that I did not see coming and wow . . . talk about a chain reaction and its repercussions . . . a story that ended quite satisfactory for this reader.

A very BIG DAY in the Life of Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace

The Corpse With The Sapphire EyesThis should be one of the happiest days of my life; Bud and I are due to fly from Canada to Wales where we’ll get married in a couple of days’ time, so I’m bursting with anticipation, as you can imagine. At least I was when I got up this morning. . .which was fifteen hours ago. . .and we still haven’t left the ground! We’ve been sitting in the airplane for a couple of hours, buckled up and ready for the off, and we’re all getting a bit restive. They finally announced that we should be “wheels up” in about an hour. I think every single passenger groaned, except the ones lucky enough to have fallen asleep already. I tried to catch a nap, but my mind kept whirring through everything that could go wrong. A delayed flight had been one of my worries, which is why we’d planned to have a couple of days to “settle in” before the wedding.

It should all be wonderful – my sister Siân is flying in from her home in Perth, Australia, and the ceremony will take place at a fanciful location named Castell Llwyd on the Gower Peninsular, which is near my home city of Swansea on the south coast of Wales. Bud and I spent a week in Swansea back in October – the rules for people who want to marry in the UK but don’t live there are pretty strict, so we had to prove we had seven days’ of residency to be able to register for our wedding. We had a wonderful time, and I got to show Bud a lot of my old haunts. Even better? There wasn’t a corpse in sight. It’s not often that happens!

Following a frenzy of last-minute packing (and re-packing!), three hours at the lovely-but-still-an-airport YVR, and a couple more on the tarmac, I’d tried to focus on the book I’d stuffed into my carry-on at the last minute. However, I became fascinated by the chap sitting just ahead of me in the aisle seat. Sometimes I can’t help but try to work out all I can about a person just by observing them, and this guy was ripe for observation. Just about my height – believe me, it’s an advantage to be only five-three with the tiny spaces between these seats – he appeared to suffer from some sort of Napoleon complex. Within the first hour of our delay he called for attention three times, and was quite rude to the poor attendant who answered his buzzing. Everyone was annoyed by our delay, but he seemed to be taking it personally. I noticed that his hands were exceptionally pink, gleamingly clean, and he’d recently had a manicure. Quite rotund, his surprisingly slim fingers moved expressively, especially when conducting the music he was listening to on his headphones. His clothes spoke of money, but little taste. No wedding ring suggested no wife, and I heard him speaking—loudly—in a North American accent that I’d pegged as being from somewhere around Boston. I’d plumped for him being some sort of medic and was proved right when a stewardess moved to his side in an urgent, but professional manner. She whispered something to him and he dashed from his seat, following her to the curtained area at the front of the aircraft where the folks with pots of money sit.

They don’t put out a call asking if there’s a doctor on an airplane these days – there’s quite enough for the passengers to worry about as it is. So, when he returned to his seat a little while later, then it was announced that we’d be returning to the gate so that a passenger with a medical condition could receive care, I knew I was right about his occupation. Which was satisfying. But the fact that some poor devil was taken ill means we’re likely to be delayed for even longer than we all thought, and I’m beginning to wonder if planning to get married in a Welsh castle, right between Christmas and the New Year was such a bright idea after all.

However, knowing Bud is by my side means I’m sure everything will turn out fine in the end. So I’ll try to read my book, and doze, and convince myself that things won’t get any worse before we say “I do.” Maybe the fact that someone was taken ill on the airplane means there won’t be a corpse at the castle. Fingers crossed!

You can read more about Cait in The Corpse With The Sapphire Eyes, the fifth book in the “Cait Morgan” mystery series, published by Touchwood Editions and released on May 5, 2015. The first book in the series is The Corpse with the Silver Tongue.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 21 for the chance to win a print copy of THE CORPSE WITH THE SAPPHIRE EYES. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
Welsh Canadian mystery author Cathy Ace is the creator of the Cait Morgan Mysteries, which include The Corpse with the Silver Tongue, The Corpse with the Golden Nose, The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, The Corpse with the CathyAcePlatinum Hair, and The Corpse With The Sapphire Eyes. Born, raised, and educated in Wales, Cathy enjoyed a successful career in marketing and training across Europe, before immigrating to Vancouver, Canada, where she taught on MBA and undergraduate marketing programs at various universities. Her eclectic tastes in art, music, food, and drink have been developed during her decades of extensive travel, which she continues whenever possible. Now a full-time author, Cathy’s short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, as well as on BBC Radio 4. She and her husband are keen gardeners, who enjoy being helped out around their acreage by their green-pawed Labradors.

You can find out more about Cathy Ace, and Cait Morgan, at www.cathyace.com. Follow her on Twitter, or on Facebook.