Karin Slaughter and Grace

Editor’s Note: This week, best-selling author Karin Slaughter joins us for a tale about the intelligence, and curiosity, of Grace, her Maine Coon cat.

As Criminal, my twelfth book, came out last month, I started to look back at my career as a whole.  Am I happy with the choices I made?  Was I able to tell the characters’ stories without inserting my own? Did I kill enough men vs. women?

Everyone reaches a point in their lives when they start thinking about their legacy.  Some people wonder if the work they’ve done will be remembered.  Some look to their children to carry on the family name.  For me, I think I’m going to be remembered most for my cat.

My Facebook readers will remember the first time I mentioned Grace, my rascally Maine Coon, back in 2011.  I’d just figured out why my water bill was $600—more than three times the usual—and decided to post about it as a cautionary tale.

For a writer of crime fiction, I have to admit that I’m not that good at figuring out real-life puzzles, but I put it to all who are reading this that the mystery of the $600 bill would’ve eluded Miss Marple herself.

I’d like to say that I had a lightbulb moment where I put the clues together, but that’s not the case.  Mostly, I blame my bladder and a bottle of wine that was meant to be shared but ended up…not so much.  It was around three in the morning.  I got up to go to the restroom and I heard a strange noise.

Now, in one of my books, this sort of set-up is usually a precursor to a violent attack.  Mindful of this, I started to go back to bed.  But then, my blurred brain started to process the noise and I realized that what I was hearing was water running.  And turning off.  And turning on.  And turning off.

Flashback to the previous month: I had a new faucet installed in the kitchen.  As usual, Grace was in the middle of things.  Though she’s not allowed on the counter (because a cat on the counter is disgusting) she is allowed on the ledge above the counter, which she occasionally wheelbarrows into half compliance (anyone who has a cat is familiar with this sort of “catpromise”)

As usual, Grace was intently watching the faucet installation.  She always does this when workmen come to the house.  She’s very curious—no more so than when the plumber explained how the faucet works.

Your last clue: I was feeling a bit flush when I ordered the faucet.  I got one of those touchless numbers where to turn it off or on, you just have to tap it with your elbow or the back of your hand or your nose.


As Philip Marlowe said:  “That early morning bathroom trip was just the break in the case I needed.”

New Faucet:                   $350

Installation:                     $245

De-Installation:                $245

Newer Faucet:                 $275

Water bill:                       $600


Cat:                                  $1,715

CRIMINAL, the most recent in the Will Trent series, came out on July 3rd to critical praise. The Washington Post declared that CRIMINAL “will both delight and surprise even the jaded suspense fan.”