The Author says the main viewpoint of this book/series is a cat. Wait, what? (Re-reading the Author’s words, you can, too, if you keep on readin’). Yes, a cat. I see. Sold! Not that I’m particularly into cats, but a cat’s is the main POV, people. I can’t, in good conscience, skip this.
The book is the first in the Witch Cats of Cambridge Series: A Spell of Murder by Clea Simon, a Cozy Mystery.
fault. It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it.” So begins A Spell
of Murder: A Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, the first in a new cozy series
that mixes feline fiction with a touch of the paranormal, and a little romance
Becca, newly single and newly unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time – and a desire for empowerment – she’s studying to become a witch. What she doesn’t know is that her three cats – Harriet, Laurel, and Clara – are the ones with the real power. And when Harriet – “a cream-colored longhair with more fur than commonsense” – conjures a pillow for her own comfort, Becca believes her spells are finally working. Could that be why Trent, the coven’s devilishly handsome leader, has been showing her special attention? Or why Suzanne, a longtime coven member, draws her aside to share a secret – a confidence that may lead to murder?
“It was Harriet’s fault.
It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it. ”
That was Clara’s first thought as she tried to settle on the sofa, flicking her long, grey tail with annoyance. As a cat, Clara wouldn’t usually have any trouble getting comfortable. That’s one special skill that all felines share. But even as she tried to calm her restive tail, curling it neatly around her snowy front paws, Clara, a petite, if plump calico, couldn’t stop fretting.
Harriet was her oldest sister, a creamsicle-colored longhair with more fur than common sense. Still, despite the fluffy feline’s typical self-absorption, she and Clara and their middle sister, Laurel, had cohabited with a nice enough human for almost two years without any problems, until now. Until Harriet.
Yes, Becca, their human, had begun to believe she had psychic powers. Becca, who at twenty-six usually had more sense, was training to be a witch, as if that were something one could learn from books. But to the calico cat who now fumed quietly on the sofa, the petite brunette had always seemed a harmless soul–good with a can opener. Warm. Generous with her lap. And then, last week, Harriet–who cared only for her own comfort–conjured up a pillow.
“I was tired,” Harriet said, in that petulant mew that Clara knew so well, when asked why in the name of Bast she’d be so stupid. “Becca wasn’t even looking.”
“You could have moved!” her younger sibling hissed back, the grey whorls on her sides heaving with annoyance. “And she was!”
Chatting with the Author.
Clea Simon is the author of “A Spell of Murder,” the first in her new “Witch Cats of Cambridge” series. She is also the author of “World Enough,” a rock ‘n’ roll noir, as well as the Blackie and Care series (most recently “Cross My Path”) chronicling the adventures of the pink-haired Care and the black feral cat who loves her. In addition to these darker books, she is also the author of the Dulcie Schwartz feline mysteries, the Pru Marlowe pet noir mysteries, and the Theda Krakow mysteries, as well as three nonfiction books, including The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats.
The recipient of multiple honors, including the Cat Writers Associations Presidents Award, she lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jon Garelick, and their cat, Musetta, and today, she’s here to answer one question:
Is she cozy?
Readers sometimes ask me: Are my books cozy? And the honest answer is, I’m not sure. Yes, I can promise you that in my new A Spell of Murder, the story is gentle. There is no sex or foul language and, while there is a murder, the blood (as the old saying goes) is dry before it hits the page. Plus, there are cats – three of them – and cats always make a story cozier, don’t you agree?
But more and more these days, I find myself telling readers that my books aren’t strictly “cozies,” per se. They’ve got a few too many twists, a couple of extra characters, and even a few extra felines, all designed to make the book a little more challenging than some cozy readers might expect.
For example, although Becca, the human at the center of A Spell of Murder, is a perfectly likable young woman, she’s not the point of view character. Her youngest cat, Clara, is. And although Clara wishes she could spend all her time focusing on Becca, especially as Becca gets involved with some shady characters (and a murder), she also has to deal with her two litter-mates, Harriet and Laurel. While they love their human too, they have a bit less respect for Clara, their youngest, and they act as sisters often do.
So if you ask me how I would describe this book, I would say it is whimsical and fun and warm, but a bit challenging as well, since it deals with personalities as well as a caper, cats as well as crime. But if you can stick with it, I promise you a happy ending – because who doesn’t like a happy ending? Does that make it cozy? In its own way, I guess it does!
Keep in touch with Clea here:
- Paperback copy of Parrots Prove Deadly by Clea Simon
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