A Day in the Life with Hamlet by Ali Brandon

twice-told-tailMeow! This is Hamlet the Cat. Yes, that Hamlet. . .feline mascot extraordinaire of Pettistone’s Fine Books in Brooklyn. I am in charge of making sure that the bookstore operates properly, and that our customers behave themselves. Of course, my caretaker, Darla Pettistone, thinks she is the boss. But that’s just because she inherited the store a couple of years ago from my previous caretaker, who happened to be her Great-Aunt Dee. Everyone else besides Darla knows who really runs things around here.

I’ve been asked to talk about my usual day. I have to admit that my routine has changed somewhat since Darla took over the bookstore. Once, I spent most of my time catching up on my naps. It was hard work, but I still managed eighteen hours of sleep out of every twenty-four, even with all my management duties. Why so little sleep? Well, when you have customers who read the magazines without paying, and who hide their empty drink cups on the back shelves, it is imperative that the feline in charge keep one eye open at all times.

But things changed after Darla arrived. It was quite strange, but suddenly humans all around us began to meet untimely ends…and with no nine lives to allow for what humans call a “do over”. And since I am the star of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series, that meant that in addition to my bookstore duties, I now had to solve murders. Growl!

I let Darla and her friend Jake do all the paw work, but it takes a feline brain to achieve superior mental sleuthing. It was always obvious to me from the start who the true murderer was in each story. Unfortunately, Darla and her friends are not as clever as felines. No matter how hard I tried to share my clues—usually, titles of books that I pulled from the shelf—they didn’t always understand what I was trying to say. Sometimes, I had to lead them right to the bad human before they figured out whodunit. That is especially true in my new book, Twice Told Tail. Hisssss!

hamlet-headshotBut I have to tell you that my daily routine will be changing yet again. You see, Ali Brandon has informed me that Twice Told Tail will be the final book in the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series. She said something about the vagaries of publishing. I am not sure what that means, except that it made her—and me—very sad. But then she reminded me that just because I’m not having adventures in books anymore doesn’t mean that I’m going away.

Ali Brandon says that Darla and Jake and Robert and James and Reese and Mary Ann and I will still be at Pettistone’s Fine Books solving mysteries in a place that humans call The Imagination. She said that all book characters go to live in that place when their series end. But that is not bad, because readers can always find them—and us!—there anytime.

And, in real life, I am still hanging out with Ali Brandon on my Facebook page talking to my human friends and their felines. I plan to be there for some time to come, though perhaps I will be introducing you to some new fictional felines in what Ali Brandon calls the near future. We shall see. In the meantime, I hope you will read my new book, Twice Told Tail, which has a few sad endings but which also hints at some happy new beginnings. Finally, Ali Brandon and I wish to thank all of you who have read and enjoyed our books over the years. We greatly appreciate you and think that you are all very clever humans, indeed. Purrrrrrrrrrrrr. . .


Twice Told Tail is the sixth book in the Black Cat Bookshop mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, November 2016.

The New York Times bestselling author of Plot Boiler takes us back to Pettistone’s Fine Books, where Hamlet the cat isn’t the only shadowy figure lurking around the Brooklyn brownstone.

As Thanksgiving approaches, Darla Pettistone is preparing for the busiest shopping season of the year. They’ve recently launched their online store, where one anonymous bidder is offering a suspiciously high price for an antique book—and Darla doesn’t need Hamlet’s special senses to know that something isn’t quite right.

However, there’s no time to think about that after Darla’s roped into helping bridezilla Connie Capello get ready for her big day. After looking at wedding dresses, Darla and Connie head to an antique store to find her “something old”—but they find someone dead instead. When Darla learns that the shop carried a copy of the book that her mysterious bidder is after, she suspects she’ll need Hamlet’s help to discover who penned the poor soul’s final chapter, before someone else is read their last rites.

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About the author
Ali Brandon is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. This popular cozy series features Hamlet the cat and his transplanted-Texan caretaker, Darla Pettistone. ali-brandonTogether, the pair work and sleuth out of Darla’s Brooklyn-based independent bookstore. Whenever a murderer is on the prowl, Hamlet and Darla are ready to pounce—and they always manage to collar the killer! The sixth and final book in the series, Twice Told Tail, hits the shelves November 1. But Ali promises that more cat fiction of some sort is on the horizon.

A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Ali now lives in South Florida with her hubby, four dogs, and four very spoiled cats. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, a former board member of the MWA Florida Chapter, and a member of the Cat Writers’ Association. You can find her and Hamlet at alibrandon.com, dianestuckart.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Twice Told Tail. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 5, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

51 responses to “A Day in the Life with Hamlet by Ali Brandon

  1. I always seem to be commenting first. Maybe that’s why I am not winning…lol! Just kidding!

  2. Barbara Hackel

    I am sad that this is the end of the series. Is it a reflection of real life that even the fictional bookstores will be gone? Sad. Ali, I have read all of the series and enjoyed your approach to the bookstore, murders, and people within the pages. Thanks for a great series! Thanks for the chance to win this final book—hopefully autographed by you and maybe even Hamlet? 😉

    • Thanks, Barbara. I think this book is coming from the publisher so it won’t be signed, but the winner is welcome to send it to me (PO Box is on my website and Hamlet’s Facebook page) and I will be happy to sign it. 🙂 Or send me a self-addressed stamped envelope to the PO Box and I’ll mail a signed bookmark and one of Hamlet’s wristbands while they last. 🙂

  3. What sad news! This has been an awesome series! It seems there are unrealistic expectations by the publishing industry that are taking a toll on a number of well-loved series lately. {sigh}

  4. Doward Wilson

    So sad to see the series is ending but like cats with 9 lives, something will come along with this great author.

  5. I am sorry to hear that this series is ending. It has been a good one. Thank you for the chance to win.

  6. 😦 I haven’t had a chance to read the series. Sad its ending.

  7. I’d love to win this book. I’m always excited to read a book where the cat is a main character but sorry to hear that the series is ending. I just found out about it!

  8. As others have said, I’m sorry this series is ending just as I discovered it. However, I have a fabulous used bookstore in my area, so I should still be able to find and read the previous ones. Hope I win this one!

  9. Yippee Skippee….love, love, love all of the awesome books in this series by the awesome Ali Brandon! Just love and adore sweet black kitty Hamlet!! I am sorry to hear this is the last book, but will follow Ali Brandon and her awesome books wherever and always read them!!! Such an adorable cover on this new book!!!! Oh how much I would love, love, love to win this one!!!! Thanks so much dear DruAnn and Ali Brandon for the chance!!!! God bless you awesome girls!!!! MEOW to awesome Hamlet too!!!!

    • Thanks, Beverly. The covers on Hamlet’s books have all been pretty fab in my opinion. They definitely got Hamlet’s personality down. LOL, first incarnation of Hamlet he looked so sweet. I told them he needed a little more snark, LOL.

  10. Sorry to hear this series is ending. I really enjoyed it. I will look out for Ali’s future books.

  11. Have loved this series. Will miss it and Hamlet, but look forward to more of Ali’s books.

  12. Sorry about this series ending…it seems to be happening too much lately.

  13. It’s always sad to see a favorite series end. 😦

  14. Brian Frauenknecht

    I absolutely love this series and can’t wait to read the newest installment. Thank you for the chance to win Dru!!

  15. Love this series. Since it takes place in NYC it is easy to relate.

  16. Grace Topping

    Congratulations, Ali, on the publication of this book. It sounds charming.

  17. Hamlet is just the perfect cat for a bookstore. Thanks for the contest.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  18. Sorry to hear this series is ending, Hamlet. But I am.looking forward to reading this last book.

  19. So sorry to hear this series is ending as I have read it from the beginning. Love the characters and the mysteries. Love Hamlet!

  20. I had not heard of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries until today — where have I been? Apologies to Hamlet. I have some catching up to do, but would love to win a copy of Twice Told Tail ~

  21. Thanks from me and Hamlet for the kind comments. And thanks to Dru Ann for again kindly hosting us. If you go to Hamlet’s Facebook page sometime tonight, he’ll be speaking more about the series end and his plans for the future. Remember, cats have 9 lives! Best, Ali and Hamlet

  22. I am so very sad the the Black Cat mysteries are ending. I love Ali’s books. I look forward to reading new books by her though. I know they will be just as wonderful.

  23. Great series. So sorry to see it end. Love bookstores and felines.

  24. The final book, can’t be happening. . . . Anyway, thank you for the chance to win a copy of “Twice Told Tail”.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  25. So sorry to hear this will be the final book in this series. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “Twice Told Tail.”

  26. Love this series and am very sorry to hear it is ending. I would love to receive a print copy of this title if I win. thank you!

  27. As a cat owner I know how cats can rule the roost! This series is great.

  28. So sad to hear this is the last book in the series. Looking forward to reading “Twice Told Tail”. I’m sure Ali has a great new series on the way.

  29. I hope there is a special place in hell for stupid publishers!

  30. Just started the new book, sorry to hear it’s the last in the series, I have enjoyed it.

  31. Hate to she this story ending. Such a great series and author.

  32. Love the series – hate to see it end.

  33. elainehroberson

    Love my cats. Count me in. I would love to win a copy.

  34. Thanks, everyone. Please keep an eye on my social media (Hamlet is still on Facebook!) for news about new series.

  35. I adore this series, its one of my oozy mystery favorites. I had a large bossy long haired wonderful black cat for 19.5 years much like Hamlet and I enjoyed the books, the people, the bookstore and reading about Hamlet.

  36. Vicki Highley

    I would love to win a copy. I will miss the Black Cat Bookshop mysteries. Glad Hamlet will be on Facebook.

  37. I have really enjoyed the series. I’ve read the first 5 and will be getting #6 in the next day or so. I really hate that Hamlet and Darla have been canceled. 😢

  38. I would love to win! Thanks so much for the chance!!

  39. So sad the series is ending, I will miss it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy, this looks terrific.

  40. Pauline Barlow

    So sorry to read that this will end the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series.
    I do hope Hamlet will stay around. He is certainly has been busy solving murders along with his bookstore duties. And as Hamlet says humans are not as clever as felines.

  41. Della Williamson

    I am looking forward to reading this. But. Have you checked with other publishers or just really into starting a new series. I will miss the thrill of a new issue in this one.

    • It’s nice to know that Hamlet is loved. 🙂 Unfortunately, Della, because of contract terms I am unable to take Hamlet to another publisher. But, I am hoping me might make an uncredited cameo in future series I write. 🙂

  42. We never realize how much our cats know about our lives.

    wismomworks@gmail.com

  43. Thanks for this great giveaway. I would enjoy this delightful book.

  44. Sounds like a winner.

  45. Barb Bristol Wiesmann

    I love this series. So sorry that Twice Told Tail if going to be the last book.

  46. Kristina Millett

    This book looks amazing! Sorey this is the ens. Thank you for the giveaway!

  47. Im sad to hear this will be the last book in the series. Thanks for the giveaway. We will miss Hamlet & Darla.