Sneaky interviews Ursula, the cat from A Mysterious Mix Up, An Allie Cobb Mystery by J.C. Kenney

Sneaky here with a repeat guest. Previously, I interviewed Ursula, the cat, and now she has a new book in her series. Here is the link to the last interview:

Ursula, it’s great to have you with us. Please reintroduce yourself and your author.

My pleasure, Sneaky. Nice to see you again, too. My name is Ursula but most humans call me Ursi. I’m named after the author Ursula K. Le Guin. My human’s name is Allie Cobb, so I guess my last name is Cobb. My author’s name is J.C. Kenney. He has a cat named Maria.

Great to have you hear again. Please update your list of books for our readers.

I’ve appeared on all of my human’s books. The first book is called A Literal Mess and came out in January 2019. The second one, A Genuine Fix, was published in July 2019. That’s the one that you first interviewed me on. Today, I’m talking about the third book, A Mysterious Mixup, that just came out January 7. My author’s working on book four in the series, which we hope will be out in about a year from now.

That’s wonderful. There’s four books in my Cobble Cove series, too, and my author also hopes to write #5 later this year. Please give us information about your series.

So far, three books make up The Allie Cobb Mysteries Series and I’ve been on the cover of each one. My author has plans for three more books in the series, so I’ll get to be on even more covers!

That’s pawsome. I only made one cover, my third book, Written in Stone, and it’s not really me but a good likeness.

Are you based on a real animal such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.

My author has a weekly post that he calls Monday Morning Maria. It’s a picture of her with a witty quote. Because of that, humans think I’m based on her. While I’m sure she’s very nice, I’m my own feline. For example, I love going for walks on a leash with my human, Allie. I’ve heard a story that my author tried to teach Maria how to go for walks and it was a complete failure. That’s life as a cat for you. We love being unpredictable!

Ain’t that the truth? I was loosely based on my author’s Siamese, Oliver, who traveled to Rainbow Bridge two years ago, but I am also my own cat.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.

Here’s the scene my author wrote about a visit with one of the suspects.

Relieved that I had at least a modicum of self-awareness, I fetched Ursi’s harness and leash.

“Up for a little sleuthing?”

The cat trotted to the door then sat and stared at me with unblinking eyes, radiating an aura of impatience. She was ready for action.

The sky was the color of dull slate as we exited my building. A breeze from the north had grown in force, too. Rain was on the way. I flipped up the collar of my jacket. If we were lucky, we’d be back home before the showers arrived. Man, I was getting tired of lousy weather.

I’d never visited Porter’s house before. With his years in the hardware business, I’d assumed it would be flawless. When Ursi and I rounded a bend in the road and my gaze fell upon the home in question, my assumption was confirmed.

The Rasmussen home was an A-frame structure with cedar shingles and redwood siding. A split-rail fence ran along the perimeter of the property. There was an opening in the fencing big enough for an impressive path of flagstone pavers that ran from the sidewalk to the front step. Flower beds lined either side of the path. A soft glow emanated from a lamp in the front window.

As if a director had asked for increased tension, the wind died down, leaving the clicks of Ursi’s claws on the stone the only sound.

“Here goes nothing, girl.” For good luck, I picked up Ursi and pressed a front paw against the button for the doorbell. A booming ding-dong-ding made Ursi pin her ears back flat as I stepped backward. It was so loud I wondered, for a moment, if Porter was hard of hearing.

When there was no answer after a couple of minutes, I was ready to admit defeat and head home. I was turning away from the door when it opened with a quiet whoosh.

“Miss Cobb, this is a surprise.” Porter removed dirt-covered work gloves and offered to shake hands.

“Please, call me Allie.” Sweat broke out on my brow as the man stared at me, brushing spots of dirt from his gray sweatshirt. “I wanted to stop by. To see how you’re doing with…you know, everything going on.”

“You mean being accused of poisoning the town’s beloved librarian?” He looked at Ursi, who was sniffing the air. “I was working in the greenhouse. You’re welcome to join me if you aren’t afraid of being murdered.”

“Of course not.” A nervous laugh escaped as I scratched Ursi under her chin. “Is it okay if my cat, Ursula, comes along?”

“By all means.”

A scent of spiced potpourri tickled my senses as we followed him through the living room. It was painted a shade of yellow that called to mind an early morning sunrise. Framed photographs of flowers hung on the walls, the colors so vibrant I wanted to reach out and caress the petals. Gardening magazines were stacked on an end table next to a burgundy recliner.

From there, we passed into the kitchen. Stainless steel appliances coordinated with black, granite countertops to give the room a classy feel. The black-and-white checkerboard tile was spotless.

As we exited through the back doorway, I was left with a singular impression of Porter’s home. It was stylish but not ostentatious. Contemporary yet timeless.

There were also no dishes in the sink, no unopened mail on the kitchen island. Nothing was out of place. As much as I liked the décor, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Porter was obsessive when it came to keeping house.

If so, was he obsessive about anything else?

The backyard belonged on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. A greenhouse stood in one corner of the yard. A wooden shed painted deep forest green occupied another corner. In the center of the yard, an ornate stone birdbath gave the local avian population a place to get a drink.

The grass had a newly mown smell and a healthy, vibrant green color. A glance over my shoulder toward the house brought me to a halt.

“You even have roses?” Flower beds on either side of the back door contained a half-dozen rose bushes.

We stared at the bare, thorny bushes. In a few months, they’d no doubt be bursting with glorious petals in shades from red to white to maybe even yellow.

“My wife was named Rose. I grew them in her honor.” He wiped something from his eye as his voice caught. “She loved the smell but was wary of the thorns. She was always encouraging me to figure out a way to grow thornless roses. I never managed to pull off a completely thornless rosebush.”

How could a man so devoted to his wife that he grew flowers dedicated to her be a murderer? Like an incomplete sentence fragment, the idea didn’t make sense. Then again, if he cared for someone so much that he was willing to tend to a high-maintenance and prickly flower, maybe over-the-top obsession wasn’t out of the question.

Porter cleared his throat. He was at the greenhouse’s doorway with his bushy, gray eyebrows raised. Evidently, while I’d been gawking at the bare rose bushes, he’d moved on. After a quick look at Ursi to make sure she wasn’t doing anything untoward in the yard, I gave her leash a gentle tug and double-timed it to catch up with him.

The greenhouse was made entirely of glass. I tapped on a pane to make sure. Metal strips connected the panes, which were about two square feet in size. Ornamental stone pavers lined the bottom edge of the structure, which gave it a clean, finished touch.

We strolled down the middle of the structure. Raised, wooden planter beds about four feet in height ran along each side of us from the front to the back of the building. Above us, potted ferns so green they’d make St. Patrick proud hung from hooks bolted to the metal connecting strips.

To my right, three orchids were in full bloom. I ran my fingers across one of the flower’s delicate petals. It was as white as fine bone china. “They’re beautiful.”

Ursi gave a bossy meow, so I picked her up and let her sniff the flowers.

Her tiny nostrils flared back and forth as a paw reached toward the plant. I pulled her away and set her back down, my cheeks warming at the thought of my cat damaging one of his gorgeous plants.

“Sorry about that. I guess she liked it. Didn’t want her to get her claws or teeth into it. I’ve heard orchids are poisonous to pets.”

Porter bent over and offered his palm to Ursi. After she gave it a sniff, she rubbed her head against his knuckles and plopped down at his feet. With a chuckle, he scratched her between the ears.

“That’s not really true. This is a moth orchid, which is perfectly safe. There are some varieties of orchid that would leave Miss Ursula with an upset tummy, but that’s about it. No harm, no foul.” He straightened up and slipped his gloves back on. “I hope you don’t mind if I work while we talk. What can I do for you?”

“I wanted to see how you’re holding up. I know what it’s like being accused of taking someone’s life. How frightening that is.”

“Ah, yes. Georgie Alonso.” Using a hand spade, he stabbed at the black soil and turned it over. “Nasty business, but some might say he got what was coming to him.”

I took a step back. Sure, it was no secret Georgie had been a louse, but, in my book, it was bad manners to speak ill of the dead. Was that a sign Porter was callous enough to be a murderer? Maybe. Time to try a different line of questioning.

“I heard the police think Vicky was poisoned.”

“Indeed.” He pulled some seedlings from a flat and worked them into the soil he’d turned. “And that, my friend, is why Occam’s razor puts me in a difficult position.”

Occam’s razor. I sidled along an edge of one of the planter boxes for a better look around while I dredged up the term from the cobweb-filled crannies of my college years. After a minute of concentration, and not seeing anything suspicious, I snapped my fingers.

“It’s the principle in problem solving that says the simplest solution to a problem is usually the right one. The fewer assumptions you have to make, the better.”

While I basked in my moment of victory, Porter nudged Ursi away from a partially covered pile of roots near his feet. He adjusted the tarp to cover them completely.

Very mice indeed. Thanks for sharing.

What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?

I think it’s important for humans to read how important we are to our people. We really are family members, who, when given the chance, give every bit as much as we take. Sure, I love to sit on my perch by the big window and nap. Who wouldn’t like that? I also know when Allie and her friend Sloane are sad and I make it a point to snuggle with them to show I care.

Yes. We character cats are similar to real cats in that regard. We are very intuitive and empathetic.

Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

I don’t say a lot in the stories, which is fine. I’ve trained Allie, so she knows what’s on my mind by watching my body language.

Same with me and Alicia and some of the other Cobble Cove residents.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

We don’t get to spend very much time on this planet, so enjoy every minute. Channel your inner Lil’ Bub and use your magical feline talents to make life for those around better.

Well meowed.

Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.

Book 4 of The Allie Cobb Mysteries is in the works. It’s tentatively being called A Frightful Find. My author doesn’t have a publication date yet, but we’re hoping for early 2021.

Best whiskers with that to you and your author. Please come again when you publish your next book. In the meantime, I’m also sharing your current blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway.

A Mysterious Mix Up (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
by J.C. Kenney

About A Mysterious Mix Up

A Mysterious Mix Up (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (January 7, 2020)
Paperback: 190 pages
Digital ASIN: B07QFN2CJ4

Murder hits the stacks when literary agent Allie Cobb investigates a fatality in the local library . . .

Allie Cobb returns home from a book conference armed with hugs for her cat and her boyfriend, and dreams of a long, hot bath. She’s also getting ready to take the plunge by hiring an intern for her expanding literary agency. But it’s one for the books when Allie finds the town’s librarian—and her longtime role model—seconds away from death on the library floor.

Who would want to poison Vicky Napier—one of Rushing Creek’s most beloved citizens—on the eve of her retirement? But it seems there were toxic people in her life, like the handyman with an obsessive crush, and a wood carver with a hair-trigger temper. The list of suspects includes Allie’s boyfriend, Brent, who’s in the running to take over as town librarian. Avenging her friend’s murder could be a trap as she goes up against a killer determined to write Allie’s epitaph . . .

About J.C. Kenney

J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.

Author Links

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Purchase LinksAmazonB&NKobo

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