I got a message from Dru asking if I’d be interested in sharing a “Day in the life. . .” story with her readers. Of course I was thrilled, but I almost turned her down. In all honesty, I didn’t want to disappoint her, and I’m sure she only asked because, like most people, she just assumes my life is one big fun-filled, action-packed adventure, and that every morning I wake up in a world filled to the brim with danger and mystery and intrigue. Of course, I can’t really blame her. If you’ve read any of the “Cat Sitter” mysteries based on my life, you probably think the exact same thing. But it’s not true.
Here’s the deal: I’m a cat sitter. End of story.
Well, even that’s not true. In reality I’m a whatever-sitter, because I’ll happily take care of whatever you’ve got: cats, dogs, hamsters, chickens, parrots, fish, ferrets, iguanas — all God’s creatures, great and small. Except snakes. That’s true too.
If you’ve got a pet snake that needs looking after, I’ll try to keep my voice at a normal tone while I politely refer you elsewhere. It’s not that I hate snakes. Not much. There’s just something about dropping little squirming mice into a snake’s open mouth that gives me the creeps. Plus, I’m not so sure it was God that came up with the idea of snakes in the first place.
Anyway, in the books, I live on Siesta Key, a tiny island that sits just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida, about midway down the Gulf coast. That’s true. And most of my clients live here too, although in reality I’ll take any client within an hour’s radius, so that’s basically true too. But here’s the thing: Siesta Key is a sleepy little beach community. To read the books, you’d think it’s the crime capital of the world the way I’m always running into thieves and murderers and crime scenes.
Yes, I’ve probably discovered more murder victims than the average Josephine.
Is it nine now? Ten?
I’ve lost count, but in my defense I should point out that it’s true I’m a sheriff’s deputy. . . or at least I was, until the sheriff’s department decided I was too unstable to carry a loaded gun in public, but that’s a whole other story. And yes, I realize all these murders and crimes I’ve uncovered have taken place after I handed in my badge, but I can explain every one of them. And never mind that yes, it does seem to happen with almost frightening regularity. . .
Um. . . I have a confession to make.
Right now, I’m sitting in the backseat of my car, writing this in the notebook where I keep all my client information. I’m parked in Caroline’s driveway. She’s away on vacation, so I’m taking care of her cat, Pansy — a mackerel tabby with beautiful emerald eyes and tawny bands of pale straw running through her coat, like the color of dried grass on a beach dune. I’ve just called 911, and I’m trying not to worry about her while I wait for the police to arrive. Luckily, Pansy’s very shy, so I’m sure she’s hiding somewhere until she feels it’s safe.
When I unlocked Caroline’s front door and went into the kitchen to get Pansy’s food, I found a man lying face up on the cold marble floor in front of the refrigerator. His eyes were frozen in astonishment, and his skin had turned a pale, almost translucent white. Clutched in his left hand was a broken necklace, and scattered on the floor all around him were black pearls, each roughly the size of a green pea.
So maybe Dru knows what she’s doing.
You can read more about Dixie in The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers, the 10th book in the “Dixie Hemingway” mystery series, published by St. Martin’s Press. The first book in the series is Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on April 7 for the chance to win a copy of The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.
About the author
John Clement is the author of the Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series created by his mother, Blaize Clement (1932-2011), and published by St. Martin’s / Minotaur. The latest two books, The Cat Sitter’s Cradle and The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives, received unanimous praise from fans and critics alike, and The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers hits the shelves this March, 2015. John divides his time between Siesta Key, Florida, where the series takes place, and New York City, where he’s currently working on the 11th mystery while his pup snores at his feet under the desk.