Hamlet the Cat from DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH, the first in the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series by Ali Brandon
Meow! I am Hamlet, the VIC (Very Important Cat) of Pettistone’s Fine Books. Some people call me the store mascot, but they don’t know any better. I’m actually the one who supervises everything while the store employees do what you humans call the grunt work (we cats call it the mouse work). For some strange reason, though, my new human caretaker, Darla Pettistone, thinks she’s in charge. That’s just because she inherited the store and building from my old caretaker, who was her great-aunt.
Well, the store and building might be Darla’s, but she’s not the boss of me! Now that you understand that, let’s get down to business. If you read my book, you might already know about my life at the bookstore these days, but here’s what you humans readers call the back story.
I was born ten years ago in an alley in Brooklyn. My mother was a beautiful Siamese. I never met my father, but Mama told me he was a handsome black cat just like me. Unfortunately, the people who were my mother’s caretakers weren’t very good humans. They tossed Mama into the street right before my two brothers and I were born. Growl! And because Mama was a house cat, she didn’t know how to hunt or hide or do anything a proper street cat can do.
Now, don’t start mewling. You humans are so sentimental. Hiss! I’ll have you know that everything worked out fine. Mama might have been as scared as a mouse, but she pretended to be a tiger and managed to take care of us boys. Just about the time our eyes were finally open, someone from what you humans call “rescue” found us in the alley. I overheard them say they were going to take us to a place called “foster” and then find inside homes for all of us.
Mama was happy—all she ever wanted to do was sit in some human’s lap—but I had already decided that I’d rather be on my own. So while the rescue people went to get a cage to put us in, I gave Mama and my brothers a lick good-bye. Then I ran and hid so they wouldn’t take me, too.
I spent the next few days alone in the alley. I found food in the garbage cans, but it wasn’t as nice as milk. I even ate a mouse, but it was all bony. And sleeping behind trash got my fur dirty, which meant I needed at least one bath an hour to maintain my looks. So I decided that living in an alley was not for a classy feline like me, after all. But by then it was too late to follow Mama to foster, so I decided to pick my own human from someone in the neighborhood.
Since it’s almost time for my next nap, I’ll have to tell you later about all my adventures before I found the right caretaker. But I finally chose the old female named Dee who had a store filled with those big flat things you humans call books. It turned out that people who hunt books usually are quiet, which I liked. It meant that my naps wouldn’t be disturbed. And the books are kept on tall wooden stacks which are perfect for climbing on. And best of all, Dee understood cat language, so we got along just fine.
Yawn! What, you’re still here? All right, to make you go away, I guess I have to bribe you like a mouse. And so I--okay, Ali Brandon--will give away a copy of DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH to one of you humans who writes a comment to me here on this blog. But don’t wait too long to post. You’ve only got a week before the drawing. Now let me sleep! Hiss!
(The draw is open to U.S. and Canadian readers.)
DIANE A.S. STUCKART is the national bestselling author (writing as Ali Brandon) of DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH, the first in her new Black Cat Bookshop mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. She’s also the author of the popular Leonardo da Vinci mysteries, which have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as a Florida Book Award Silver medal. Writing as Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard, she published several critically-acclaimed historical romances from Pinnacle Books. A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Diane now lives in South Florida. Visit her at www.dianestuckart.com or www.alibrandon.com .