Guest post by Lucy Burdette
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I’ve had a cat in my life ever since the year I turned 13. I wanted two things for my birthday that year–Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees, and a kitten. My mother was wise enough to agree to the kitten. It was January, though, and not the kitten season. She found one who’d been returned to the pound by his adoptive family. We called him Tigger, and I still have the receipt stamped “No Refund.”

Both of our furry family members died this past summer and I have missed them terribly. I worried I’d never find animal friends so wonderful. And I needed time to grieve, and negotiate what would be next with my husband.

But in January my birthday came around again (a frightening number of years past 13) and I decided, with much encouragement, to go take a look at the Florida Keys animal shelter.


The old shelter was located out on Stock Island, and it was tiny and bursting with animals. (The volunteers and workers were thrilled to get to the new building in February.) This was the office and waiting room–on the other end was a gray cat in a cage named “Saucy,” a gila monster, hamsters, an enormous snake, and many birds. And this being Key West, there was a rooster behind a gate.

My friend Stan went with me–I can’t begin to describe how overwhelming it was to see 60 cats in four tiny rooms…How to choose? I was thinking of a tiger, either yellow like Tigger, or gray like Evinrude in the Key West mysteries.

We met T-bone, who’d been spotted by a friend from the gym…


And then along came Ramp, a very frisky kitten who launched himself onto my chest and clung there purring…


I said to Stan, “I guess I’ve been chosen.” So we went back to the office and told them I’d sign on for Ramp.

“Oh,” said Del, the administrative assistant, “Ramp has a lot of heat around him.” (Cat-shelter speak for he’s hot.) “We’ve got four applications already on him.”

“Ok, what about T-bone?”

“He has a hold application on him, too.”

So I went back home, disappointed and unable to choose another. Two days later, my gym friend emailed again with photos of T-bone:


He greeted me at the door
Played and purred
Followed me to the other rooms

The people with the hold are not ‘this cat specific’

Go adopt him

And so I did. He spent the first couple hours in the laundry room while I read in the hall and chatted with him.


At the end of his first day…(gotta love the two-toned paw…)


And here’s the next morning…


I admit to being completely besotted. And I’m figuring out how he’ll figure in the new mystery, coming in 2020. Meanwhile, all the usual cast of feline characters play their role in A Deadly Feast, the ninth Key West food critic mystery published this week by Crooked Lane Books!


About A Deadly Feast

Before Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow’s family descends on the island for Thanksgiving and her wedding to heart throb Detective Nathan Bransford, she has one last assignment–a review of a seafood tasting tour conducted by her friend Analise Smith. But when one of the tourists collapses on the last stop, Analise begs her to investigate before the police destroy her business and shut down the local Key West eateries on her tour. Pressure mounts when Analise calls a second time to request that Hayley meet with Chef Martha Hubbard, who prepared key lime pies for the tasting tour and is terrified that someone poisoned her pies to ruin her reputation. Chefs all around town are preparing their versions of a Thanksgiving feast, but with a murderer on the loose, will Hayley and her friends have anything left to be thankful for?


About Lucy Burdette

Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 17 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, A Deadly Feast (Crooked Lane Books, May 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at You can also find Lucy on Facebook and Instagram.

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6 Comments on Choosing T-Bone

  1. Roberta is a friend that I met at Metropolitan Community Church in Key West several years ago. I am from Mississippi but winter in Key West. She is a wonderful person as well as a wonderful writer. I have read all her books. I am looking forward to one that includes beautiful T-bone. I received her latest book today. Looking forward to reading. Also looking forward to her future books.

  2. T-bone is so adorable. I hope he gets to star in one of your books.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  3. Being one with long lifetime pets, I know the grief of losing a beloved family member. Our daughter died at 17 and her Haunky was our still living connection to her. He lived to ripe age of 15 before crossing the rainbow bridge. After his passing it was like grieving not only his death but our daughters again as well. It took some time (few years) for the pain to ease. One day we woke up and both thought that we needed some little bundle of fur to give our love and attention to. That’s when Snickerdoodle came into our lives. He is now 14 and definitely the apple of our eye even though he doesn’t see well any more, has a heart murmur and on insulin twice a day. The love of our furry family members is deep in our hearts for sure!

    Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “A Deadly Feast”!

    • Kay, I can’t imagine How much losing your daughter hurt. Thank goodness you had it for a friend to help with the grief. Our very best wishes to you and snickerdoodle!

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