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Pet Spotlight: Connie Knight

ck1Two Cats and a Plot

 

When I’m working on a book, I stay at home where my cats are my only company. I wander through the house, thinking about things, and looking for my cup of coffee. I might end up in the kitchen to make a fresh cup.

My current book introduces a new character in my mystery series. She’s returning to her mother’s home town, but she’s not used to the country. As she drives down old dirt roads, things take her by surprise. She saw…um, something I saw once…a furniture van in a pasture, with two guys herding some cattle in its direction. My young character might realize that a furniture van isn’t right for cattle. Might call the cops, like I did.

But the cats interrupted my train of thought. I turned around with my fresh cup of coffee and faced both cats, Morris and Bianca. They blocked my path through the doorway, sitting near their dishes and looking at me hopefully.

Oh. I forgot to feed them earlier. “Sorry, cats.” I took the kibble canister and spooned each of them a small heap of food. Gave them fresh water, too.

I watched them eat. They’ve been with me ten years or more. Morris, a striped orange cat, and Bianca, a fat white cat, expect my attention. If I watch TV, they sit on my lap; if I go to the store, they meet me at the door when I return. Mister Mo and Miss B. follow me around. At night, at bedtime, they scamper ahead of me and jump into their places in bed before I find mine.

Now where was I? What was I thinking? The furniture van and the cattle…I stepped over the cats and headed for my office. I wanted to make some notes about the new girl, and find a good name for her too. Betty? Betsy? Bianca? No, not Bianca. Already taken.

So suppose Miss Blank noticed the probable cattle theft but drove on past and soon came to a small town where she stopped at a gas station and asked how to talk to the police. She called them and they were interested in her observations. They had barely said goodbye when a police car passed the gas station and headed down the old dirt road.

ck2Then what? Beryl, or Bettina, wasn’t in a hurry. She could go to the little restaurant across the street, have a late lunch, and watch for the return of the police car. Would they be towing the furniture van? No, probably not. Would the two guys be in the back seat of the police car? If so, then what? What significance? Well, she’s the curious daughter of an amateur sleuth, so she might just want to find out about the furniture van and the cattle. Maybe she’ll just find out and then drive on.

Or maybe—well, maybe the police man could be young, attractive, and not too far away from where she was going. She had just broken up with her old boyfriend, right? Would a new one be a good thing?

I pondered the plot. Miss B. slid into my office and climbed into her large basket holding a fluffy pillow. She curled up and went to sleep. I picked up my empty coffee cup and headed for the kitchen, thinking about the girl and the cop. I didn’t see Morris as he ran across the living room and right in front of me.

“Morris!” I tripped on him, almost fell down, but gained my balance just in time. So typical of him! I have a fat quiet cat and a rambunctious rambler. Sometimes he picks on her until I yell “Morris!” and make him run away.

Now what had I been thinking? The girl and the cop. Mmm. Maybe she’s like Morris. Lively, curious. Red-headed. Her name could be Rusty, a nickname for Rosemary. And the cop? If he was a fat lazy cat like Bianca, she’d choose to keep on driving.

Connie Knight

Connie Knight’s interest in Texas history is reflected in Cemetery Whites. Murders in 1875 and 2010 are solved, with the detective’s family history unraveling to reveal information. Knight’s hobby of gardening produced the title Cemetery Whites. The victim’s body is found sprawled in a patch of white irises in an old family cemetery. The flowers with that name still exist today, at old homesteads and in current gardens, including Connie Knight’s.

Connie Knight now lives in Houston and has just finished a second mystery, Chances Choices Changes Death, a sequel to Cemetery Whites. She is now working on her third mystery novel in the Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery series. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.