Guest post by Lucy Burdette
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If you have read any of the ten previous Key West food critic mysteries, you know that right from the beginning, there have always been cats. In the previous book, The Key Lime Crime, T-bone the ginger cat whom I rescued from Key West SPCA made his debut. He was very proud to be featured on that cover – and annoyed that he didn’t make it onto the new book. (And he also believes that he rescued me, not the other way around.) I tried to explain that the characters in Scone of Contention were traveling to Scotland and couldn’t reasonably be expected to take their cats along. And I promised he would have a cameo on Facetime when Hayley called home to Key West. He only glared.
I love supporting the Key West animal shelter and offered a “name the pet” item for their 2020 event. I’d done this several times in the past and always enjoyed the challenge of working the new animals into the next book.
My friend Bunnie, who is a huge supporter of the shelter and helped me identify T-bone amongst a pack of adoptable cats, was very interested when I explained what I was doing for the auction. Sadly, the event was scheduled for March of 2020, and Covid cancelled it along with everything else on the island. I saw Bunnie at the gym on one of the last days it was open pre-pandemic and told her what was happening. “I would love to have my cats in the next book,” she said, and promptly made a generous contribution in honor of her two cats, Archie and Louise. She sent me photos and descriptions of them as requested:
Archie is from Stock Island (the next island north of Key West)
Loves me and no one else
None of Louise’s sophistication
For many, a grey streak out of the room or out of the house
Just learning how to play
Louise is 18 1/2
Talks to everyone
“The first sergeant of our compound”
She’s a city girl from DC
Archie and Louise don’t have huge roles in A Scone of Contention, but I tried to make sure they were distinctive. In the following scene, regular characters Miss Gloria and Hayley have just arrived at Nathan’s in-laws’ home in St. Andrews, Scotland. Nathan’s sister Vera is welcoming them…
“This room is for Gloria,” said Vera, leading us into a small bedroom with a blue-flowered quilt on the four-poster bed. At the end of the bed, two glossy gray tiger cats were sleeping on a pale blue afghan, making me feel instantly homesick for Evinrude. One of them opened his green eyes and blinked, then bolted off the bed and disappeared down the hallway.
“That was Archie,” Vera said with a fond smile. “He loves me and only me, I’m afraid.” The second cat jumped off the bed and began to wind around Miss Gloria’s legs, talking loudly in secret cat chirps.
“This is Louise,” said Vera. “She’s highly opinionated, so my advice is do what she says.”
Miss Gloria scooped up the big cat and rubbed her cheek on the distinctive black M on her forehead. “I don’t know if you believe in signs from the universe,” she said to Vera. “But I sure do. And cats on the bed are speaking to me. You take the first shower,” she told me. “I’ll stretch out with this lovely Scottish kitty for a few minutes.”
With Louise draped over her shoulder, she headed for the bed.
Who would you want immortalized in a book if you had the chance, and how would you describe them?
About A Scone of Contention
A Scone of Contention is the 11th book in the Key West food critic mystery series.
Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow and her groom, police detective Nathan Bransford, chose Scotland for their long-delayed honeymoon, hoping to sight see and enjoy prize-winning scones. But their romantic duo swells to a crowd when they’re joined by Nathan’s family as well as octogenarian Miss Gloria.
Nathan’s sister Vera takes the women on a whirlwind tour of some of Scotland’s iconic mystic places as research for a looming book project. But the trip takes a deadly tartan turn when a dinner party guest falls ill and claims she was poisoned. And then the group watches in horror as a mysterious tourist tumbles to his death from the famous Falkirk Wheel, high above the Forth & Clyde canal.
Vera and her friends deny knowing the dead man, but after observing their reactions to the fall, Hayley is not convinced. With one person dead, a second possibly poisoned, and the tension among Vera’s friends as thick as farmhouse cheese, Hayley fears her long-awaited honeymoon might end with another murder.
Far away from home, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, eccentric characters, and a forbiddingly gorgeous setting, Hayley must call on all her savvy to keep a killer from striking again and then escaping Scot free.
About Lucy Burdette
Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 19 mysteries. The Key Lime Crime won the bronze medal for popular fiction in the Florida Book Awards. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime, and currently serving as president of the Friends of the Key West Library. Read more at http://www.lucyburdette.com. You can also find Lucy on Facebook and Instagram.
A Scone of Contention is available from Amazon.
*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves. I received this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.