Christmastime is here and cat detectives Yoshi and Gatsby are back in this holiday whodunnit! Someone not filled with the holiday spirit is trying to kill an obnoxious dog and the Petectives are on the case. While conducting their latest investigation, Gatsby’s also planning a Christmas Eve blowout for the neighborhood animals. Yoshi is dead set against the party but he may be able to use the festivities to unmask a would be killer and teach Gatsby what Christmas is all about. Throw in a canine love triangle and a cute orphan kitten and you’ve got the recipe for one riveting Yuletide affair. The Petectives are throwing a Christmas party and you don’t want to miss it!
Targeted Age Group:: All ages
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This was inspired by both classic, old school mysteries and TV Christmas specials.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters were inspired by my wife's real life cats, Yoshi and Gatsby.
It was late December and the sounds of jingle bells filled the air. The bells weren’t coming from any horse drawn sleighs but from the stupid bell on the collar that the little girl that I lived with had put on me last night. The collar was a red and green striped nylon strap with a black plastic clasp and a brass bell on the front directly under my chin. I didn’t mind the people putting a collar around my neck, but what was the point of the bell?
I found the ringing from the bell to be highly annoying as I walked along the suburban sidewalks on my way to an appointment. It was an extremely cold night that made me grateful that I’d been born with a thick, orange striped coat. A severe ice storm had hit earlier that day and everything looked like it was coated with thick, clear glass. It was as if the houses and trees were glazed donuts and it made everything outside look beautiful, especially the houses that had Christmas lights. The ice seemed to heighten the effect of the colorful lights, making them even brighter and cheerier against the dark winter night. Despite all of the beauty, the ice had caused some damage and every so often I had to walk around a fallen tree branch or even a downed tree. The power had gone out at my house for a couple of hours, but since my people had left town to visit relatives for the Christmas holiday, nobody had really been inconvenienced.
Actually the atmosphere inside my house had gotten pretty icy as well. Our people had gone to visit relatives and wouldn’t be back until after Christmas. The house was just occupied by me and my housemate Yoshi, which gave me the idea that we should throw a big Christmas party for all of the neighborhood animals.
“Absolutely not.” Yoshi had said when I’d presented the idea to him a couple of hours ago. “I won’t have every filthy dog and cat in the area wreaking havoc on my house.”
This seemed a little strident to me since I lived there too, but he was older which made him the alpha cat and therefore what he says goes. Or so he thought. “Oh, come on,” I replied, “Every pet left behind by their family wants to throw a huge party. Let’s live the dream.”
“C’mon, where’s your Christmas spirit?”
At that point he rolled his eyes at me and said, “What do you know about Christmas spirit? What do you know about Christmas?”
“What don’t I know? I’ve watched about fifty gazillion Christmas specials with the kids. I know everything about Christmas.”
“I doubt that,” he answered. “Christmas means a bit more than what you’re likely to absorb from the pabulum fed to you from children’s television. In any event we will not be having a party in this house. ”
I kept trying and he kept denying and the end result was that when I left the house for my appointment, he and I were barely on speaking terms. Hopefully my meeting would lead to an interesting case which would ease some of the tension between the two of us.
My meeting was on the corner of Fillmore and Pershing, in front of a house with a lit-up seven foot tall inflated snowman. Classy. I was about a block away and I could see a cat standing in the snow about five feet in front of the decoration.
As I got closer, I got a better look at her. She was a bit older than me, but the years were treating her very well. She was a medium sized brown cat with black patches on her back and belly. Although her fur was heavier than mine, she looked like she was freezing.
“Penelope?” I called as I trotted across the lawn towards her. The footing was much better on the lawn than it had been on the iced over sidewalks.
She nodded. “Please call me Penny. You must be the cat who works for Yoshi.”
“I work with Yoshi,” I corrected her, “It’s not like he pays me.”
She raised her eye whiskers. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”
I smiled at her to show her that we were friends. “You didn’t. Now what did you want to see me about?”
She hesitated for a second and then said, “I hate to say it, but I was kind of hoping that Yoshi would show up with you.”
I laughed. “Lady, the only appointments Yoshi shows up for are mealtimes and naptimes. And he wouldn’t show up for those if they were outside of our house.”
“That doesn’t sound like the Yoshi I used to know.” She said doubtfully, as if she thought that I was lying. I might have taken offense at that, if I hadn’t been so intrigued by the last four words of her sentence.
“You used to know Yoshi?” I asked. “When?”
“Oh, I used to live in this neighborhood.” She said. “My girl went to college about five years ago and I went with her. She hasn’t been able to find a job since she graduated so we moved back in with her parents a couple of weeks ago.”
“Well, welcome back. So can I help you with something? Or did you just want to talk about old times with Yoshi?”
“No, I’ve got a problem. I think that someone is trying to kill my friend. About a week ago –“. She stopped talking and gave me an odd look. I realized that I had a big grin on my face.
“Sorry,” I said, “I’m not happy that someone’s trying to kill your friend. It’s just that my life’s been kind of boring for the last couple of months. The prospect of stopping someone from doing away with someone else makes me a little enthusiastic.”
She looked doubtful. “Doesn’t that mean that you are in fact happy that someone’s trying to kill my friend?”
I started to reply but before the words came out of my mouth she said, “Never mind. I suppose that it’s good that you’re enthusiastic about your work. Can I continue?”
I saw no point in saying anything so I nodded.
She continued. “About a week ago, Thor, the dog that I live with got sick. Violently ill. He would’ve died if our people hadn’t gotten him to the vet in time.”
“It was, they had to pump his stomach.”
“Is he okay?” I asked.
“He is now. He spent a couple of days at the animal hospital but he seems alright now.”
“How did the poison get into him?”
“There was a piece of bologna on the ground in the backyard. He said that it smelled funny but he ate it anyway. Apparently it had been soaked in some kind of liquid fertilizer.”
She was interrupted when a harsh wind blew at us. When things had quieted down, I asked, “Why would he eat the bologna if it smelled funny?”
She shrugged. “It was a piece of bologna. He’s on a special diet so he doesn’t get to eat anything other than dry dog food. He jumps at any treat that he sees.” Then she cocked her head and said, “Listen.”
The wind had died down and the night was very still. All I could hear was a couple of dogs a couple of blocks away, loudly barking. One dog was much louder than the other. They seemed to be debating the merits of drinking water from a hose versus gulping it out of the toilet.
“Is he one of the dogs engaged in the philosophy discussion?” I asked.
“Yep. Loud, isn’t he?”
“A little. You must get a lot of noise complaints – from Russia.”
She smiled. “He can be loud and opinionated. Even obnoxious. But he’s the most loyal friend you could ever have.” The smile went away. “Somebody tried to hurt him. I want to know who.”
“I think we can help you.”
“Great!” she perked up again, “Come with me and I’ll introduce you to Thor.”
“Whoa, I can’t tonight. I have a previous engagement. How about I drop by your house tomorrow morning around ten?”
“That would be great! Maybe Yoshi could come and – “
“I doubt that,” I interrupted. “I don’t know what he was like five years ago but like I said before, Yoshi is strictly an indoor cat. He wouldn’t leave our house unless it was on fire and even then it would be under protest.”
“He sounds so different. Maybe I’ll come around sometime and see him.”
“Sure, you do that. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“That’s fine.” She smiled again. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She winked at me and strolled off in the direction of the dog barking.
I watched her for a minute and then took off in the opposite direction.
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