(Disclaimer: Some spoilers for A Stone’s Throw are included in this post but not for its upcoming sequel)
My name is Sneaky, and I’m the Siamese library cat at the Cobble Cove Library. I live in a room upstairs where the director sometimes stays when the weather is bad. There was another lady also staying here once, a young woman named Tina who I heard left under odd circumstances. Then a woman named Alicia came to town and strange happenings accompanied her. I believe she was a librarian, also because I saw her working downstairs and helped her find some clues to a mystery. Unfortunately, Fido, a golden retriever belonging to the town newspaper publisher and his father, got all the credit for solving the crime. I hated the smirk that dog gave me when it was all over. He also boasts that he’s the one that got Alicia and John together, but I was the one who was kicked off the bed when the two of them became friendly.
I still live over the library, but I was moved to the storage room when the bedroom was made into a staff lounge. I can’t complain because my bed that used to be under the stack of the local history collection is now there along with a nice cat tree.
I wake up this Sunday morning to church bells. I’m used to their tolling because the Cobble Cove church is not far. Mac, John’s dad, always says that everything in this town is just a “stone’s throw” away whatever that means.
Sheila, the director, hired some new people including a children’s librarian who staffs the new children’s room. Her name is Laura, and, lucky for me, she’s a cat lover. After church, she comes by to feed me because the library is closed on Sundays.
I expect Laura as usual today, but it’s Alicia I hear padding up the stairway. Too bad humans can’t muffle their treads. I recognize those steps. They’re not the soft taps Laura’s heels make nor the loud shuffle of Sheila’s boots. Alicia wears what they call ballet flats. She told Sheila she found them comfortable while she was expecting and still wears them after the twins were born.
“Sneaky,” she calls as she enters my abode. Although I can come and go through the cat flap between the storage room and the lounge, she has to use the doorknob.
I greet her with a purr because I see the cat food can in her hand. Even if she’d forgotten my food, I still would’ve rubbed against her legs to mark her because she’s a good friend now. Besides Laura, she’s another cat lover, although she doesn’t have one at the moment. I go home with her, John, and the babies occasionally for the holidays and long library closings. It’s nice to have a change of scene sometimes.
Alicia puts down my food and uses the sink to replenish and freshen my water bowls. She pets my head, and I continue to purr as I chow down.
“I never thanked you, Sneaky, for your help discovering those letters,” she says. “I also have some good news for you.”
I quirk my left ear back to listen attentively, although my hearing is quite sensitive and humans talk so loud even when they whisper. What good news? Did she have some tuna treats for me? Are there mice in the library? Has she brought me catnip?
“Sheila has asked Laura to do a special story time this week,” Alicia continues. “It will be a Sneaky story time, and you will be the guest. The kids will be able to pet you afterwards. I think they will love it, and you, too.”
“It’s nothing to meow over,” I think, but then Alicia adds, “I also got you a little something from Irene’s gift shop. She’s starting to stock pet items. She withdraws a felt mouse that I can smell catnip emanating from a foot away. It’s got to be the strong stuff and not the bland kind that Dora grows in the inn garden and brings over to me every so often. I let her think I’m crazy over it so as not to hurt the lady’s feelings.
Alicia tosses the catnip mouse in front of me, and I jump for joy and pounce on it. She laughs as I lick and roll over on it. “I guess Irene got the high octave stuff. Enjoy, kitty. I have to get back to my children. I’ll see you at the library tomorrow.”
After Alicia leaves, I finish playing with the toy. I managed to rip a small hole in it and chewed out some of the delicious leaves. It was a great after-dinner dessert. Feeling satiated, I head over to my cat bed and lay down. Before I know it, my eyelids are heavy, and I feel myself ready for a prolonged catnap. Life is good here in Cobble Cove. Yet somehow I feel that another mystery may be brewing. Perhaps it’s my seventh sense at work.
A Stone’s Throw is the first book in the Cobble Cove mystery series, published by Limitless Publishing, LLC, November 2015.
Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers
After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.
Secrets stretch decades into the past
Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.
Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered
When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident.
The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears
Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?
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Meet the author
Debbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. Her mystery romance novel, “A Stone’s Throw” was published November 2015 by Limitless Publishing. Her first novel, “Cloudy Rainbow” received an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest self-published awards. She was awarded the Lawrence C. Lobaugh Memorial Award in Journalism from Long Island University/C.W. Post where she earned a B.A. in English and a M.L.S. in Library Science. A member of the Cat Writer’s Association, she has published articles in Cats Magazine, Catnip (Tufts University Veterinary Newsletter), and Catster. Her short mystery, “Stitches in Time” was published in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats and is currently working on a second Cobble Cove mystery.
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All comments are welcomed.