Sneaky’s Interview with Rum Tum Tugger from Casting Call for a Corpse: An Alvarez Family Murder by Heather Haven

Oh, goodie. Another cat guest. What’s your name, Kitty and who is your author?

My name is Rum Tum Tugger (yes, from the E.E. Cummings book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats). My dear old great, great, great, great grandmother twice removed helped Mr. Cummings write that book, you know. Pinky swear. Many’s the night I sat with Dad over a bite or two of catnip when I was just a kitten and he would tell me all about her. Well, I had a bowl of warm milk, being a kit and all. Dad had the catnip. He would say to me, he would say, “Tugger, my boy, be proud. You come from a long line of nobility, cat-wise. Granny Grizabella was a legend in her time and a mighty fine singer, too. She was the inspiration for Mr. Cummings book. He never went anywhere without her tagging along.” So taking Dad at his word, I am proud. What was the rest of the question? Oh, the author. Heather Haven.

What a wonderful story. I know my author enjoyed the Broadway musical based on that book.

What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.

So far, I’m in seven books labeled fun detective cozies: Murder is a Family Business, A Wedding to Die For, Death Runs in the Family, DEAD…If Only, The CEO Came DOA, The Culinary Art of Murder, and Casting Call for a Corpse. I don’t like to brag, but I am the pivotal character.

Concats to you. I’ve been in the 4 books of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series and am excited that a fifth one will be out soon. I like to consider myself a pivotal character, too. The humans might take some exception to that, but we cat characters know better.

Please tell me about your series.

We’re called the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries. And the first thing I want to do is welcome everyone to the Family with a rousing catlike cheer! And a purr, purr. Moving on, these often humorous mysteries, take place in the California of today, namely Silicon Valley, but sometimes we travel around a bit. Everything revolves around my people-mom, Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Graftonʼs Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitchʼs Stephanie Plum. Completing the Alvarez Family is Leeʼs Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; gourmet chef and beloved Uncle ‘Tio’, Lee’s new hubby, Gurn, a former Navy SEAL, and of course, me, her handsome and energetic orange and white cat. You know my name.

Anyway, when the Alvarez clan is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful detective agency that normally deals with intellectual property and computer software thievery. With a recovery/prosecution rate of over ninety-four percent, Lee thinks We Are Smokin’ should be their motto. But blueblood and CEO, Lila Hamilton Alvarez, would never put that on a business card. These whodunits have a crackerjack mystery while exploring familial relationships — the good, the bad, and the amusing.

Wow! Your series sounds pawsome. My author took a trip to California last February and visited that area. She enjoyed it very much, but our series takes place in a small, upstate New York town called Cobble Cove.

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

Yes, I am. Heather says I am the special cat she can never forget or let go of, even though the real Tugger crossed over the Rainbow Bridge ten years ago. So here I am, the star practically almost, of the series.  It was her way of making sure I lived on forever and ever. And so I do. She says she is happy when she’s writing the series because I am there with her. Sometimes, she says, she can almost reach out and stroke my fur, which if I must say so myself, is lustrous and smells like baby powder. Not that I use any baby powder because I am a big boy, but Heather says that’s how she remembers the scent. I am always young, healthy, and a scamp. The power of love.

We have something in common, Tug. I was based on my author’s Siamese cat, Oliver, who crossed the bridge 3 years ago this November.

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

My pleasure. Here’s an except for the second book of the series, A Wedding to Die For:

Several hours later, I was roused by Tugger growling softly in my ear. I had never heard him make this sound before and was at first confused by it. Even though it was dark, I felt him rise, standing taut, his growling intensifying. Then I heard a noise in the kitchen. Before I could move, Tugger leapt off the bed and ran toward the sound. I didn’t turn on the light, feeling it was better to stay in obscurity, but that decision slowed me down.

I felt my way along the wall listening to a growing commotion in the kitchen. Within seconds, there were sounds of shuffling, and Tugger’s ever increasing growling turned into a loud howl. Then came a man’s exclamation and cry of pain.

That’s when I began to run and fell over the coffee table. I let out a scream and grappled for the five-iron I keep behind the sofa for just such an emergency. Rounding the corner to the kitchen, I heard the man shriek, things being knocked over and a sound of pain from Tugger.

Brandishing the golf club, I lost precious moments trying to find the light switch. When I turned it on, my vision was blurred by curling puffs of flour and the intensity of the light. A form pushed past me and out the open kitchen door before my eyes adjusted. When they did, all thoughts of pursuit were gone. On the kitchen counter, the canister of flour lay on its side, a still Tugger beside it.

I felt another scream escape me and dropped the five-iron, rushing to my pet. He was covered with flour but still breathing. He opened his eyes suddenly. Afraid to pick him up, I helped him struggle to wobbly feet, looking for signs of cuts or bruises. So intent was my concentration, I didn’t hear footsteps running up the stairs until there was a banging on the front door.

“Liana,” cried my mother from the other side of the door. “Liana! Are you all right?”

“Liana, por favor, answer us,” said Tío.

“Just a minute,” I yelled, looking at Tugger. He was steadier on his feet now, and I felt I could leave him for a moment or two. Racing to the front of the apartment, I bellowed that I was all right, while unlocking the door. They barged inside.

“I’m all right. I’m all right. It’s Tugger,” I said, with a catch in my voice. Turning, I ran back the kitchen. I found my cat sitting where I’d left him, his eyes half closed. He was breathing slowly and deeply. Mom and Tío followed on my heels and stopped right behind me.

“What happened?” demanded Mom, looking at the disarray in the kitchen.

“Someone broke in, and Tugger got in his way. I think he’s hurt.”

“Let me see,” Tío said with quiet authority. He stepped in front of me and began to examine the cat. Tugger leaned into Tío’s gentle hands.

“I should bring him to the vet emergency hospital,” I said, fighting back sobs. “There’s one in San Mateo. He could have internal injuries or something.”

“Shhh, Liana!” Tío ordered. Tugger shook himself free of flour, stood and turned around, as Tío continued his inspection. “I think he has had the air pushed out of him, mi sobrina. I think he will be all right in a moment,” Tío said.

“You mean the wind knocked out of him?” asked Mom, leaning on the counter and stroking Tugger.

As if to emphasize that fact, Tugger freed himself from their hands, jumped down and shook his body again. He went to the middle of the floor and began cleaning his paws. I grabbed a kitchen towel, followed and sat cross-legged beside him, gingerly wiping the remains of the flour off his back and legs. “He does seem better, doesn’t he, Tío?” I asked, my voice still trembling a little.

“Look at this,” Mom said. “I think this is blood on the refrigerator.” Glancing up, I scrunched my eyes and noticed several droplets of blood, too small to drip down the white enamel. “And there on the floor,” she said, pointing to another spot.

“Dios Mio!” I exclaimed, carefully taking Tugger in my lap and looking all over his body for a wound.

“I do not think that has come from el gatito,” Tío remarked. “Look, there is more on the cabinet door.” Tío pointed to the cabinet over the fridge. This was a streak of droplets, as if splattered from a small paintbrush.

I set Tugger on the floor and the three of us watched as he cleaned his paws but not his body, which still wore traces of flour. Picking him up again, I took one of his paws in my hand and pressed down to splay open his talons.

“Mom, Tío, look at this!” They came over to where I sat on the floor with the cat in my lap. “There’s blood on his claws, and I don’t think it’s his.” Ears back, Tugger freed his foot from my clutches, hopped down again, and strolled out of the room, annoyed by all the attention.

I stood up and went to the refrigerator, examining the top. I noticed the vase of flowers that had been upright when I went to bed was now on its side, water and flowers everywhere. “Tugger must have jumped up here on top of the refrigerator, just like you taught him, Tío, only when he pounced, his claws were extended.”

Wow, Meow! Thanks for sharing that great scene.

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

I’m a good guy, but I get to be a cat. A smart cat. A smart, handsome cat. As I mentioned before, I am the pivotal character in the book. No one has actually said that, you understand, although I feel it in my bones. But don’t tell anyone. Sometimes the other characters get jealous.

I know exactly what you mean, Tugger, my pal.

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

I don’t talk in the books. I meow and do other cat-like things, in my own, hero way. I save my chit-chat for interviews like this.

Same here. I’m so glad Debbie created this blog for me. It’s great meeting all the pet characters out there including you.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

As Oscar Wilde says: Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.

Purrfect advice.

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

Casting Call for a Corpse, Book 7 of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, came out August 1st, 2020. That’s close enough.

I will make sure my author checks that one out, and I hope my readers will, too.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.


Email me at:

Amazon Alvarez Series Page:

Thanks so much for the great cat chat, Tugger. I will share your blog tour and giveaway below. Best whiskers to you and your author on your new release.

Casting Call for a Corpse: A Fun Detective Cozy (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
by Heather Haven

About Casting Call for a Corpse

Casting Call for a Corpse: A Fun Detective Cozy (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Publisher: The Wives of Bath Press (August 1, 2020)
Print Length: 295 pages
Digital ASIN: B08BR6H1GV


Super sleuth, Lee Alvarez, finds a dead man wearing a tuxedo in a friend’s bathtub during a soiree for San Francisco’s VIPs. And not just any friend, but an internationally acclaimed actress who recently came to live in San Francisco. And not just any bathtub, but a bathtub residing inside one of Alamo Square’s famed Painted Ladies, recently bought by said actress.

The police believe it’s the actress friend who done the man in. After all, it’s her house and her tub. And another man died under suspicious circumstances around her recently. Both romantic encounters, doncha know. The actress must be guilty.

Or is she?

For ace detective Lee Alvarez, the timing couldn’t be worse. She is supposed to go off in celebration of her 6-month wedding anniversary with her hunky hubby. Paris is calling!

Or is it?

Her long-time friend, plus her mother – She Who Must Be Obeyed – thinks she should stick around and find out who the real killer is. So Lee, family, handsome hubby, and Tugger, the cat, are on the job. But Lee’s nose is itching. Which means not one of the suspects is telling the truth.

Or not all of it. Lee soon uncovers threatening letters, sullen playwrights, dead bodies, and a criminal web of jewel thieves, all treading the boards of her friend’s latest musical. This is showbiz?

Author Haven pulls out all the stops in a cozy fan’s delight about a charming, and unconventional Palo Alto detective family who get their man or woman, as the case may be. Book Seven follows its tradition of the Bay Area’s favorite PI, who rolls over with all four paw in the air when it comes to her darn near perfect mother. But with the help of her computer geek brother and handsome hubby, Lee works to solve the case in time to celebrate her own 6-month wedding anniversary.

About Heather Haven

Heather moved to the Bay Area and studied creative writing at Stanford University. Previously, several of her comedy acts and plays were performed in NYC. Her novels include the humorous Silicon Valley-based Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Manhattan-based Persephone Cole Vintage Mysteries, Love Can Be Murder Novellas, Snow Lake Romantic Suspense Series and standalone mystery noir, Murder under the Big Top, based upon her mother’s stint as a performer with Ringling Brothers’ Circus. There is also her anthology, Corliss and Other Award-Winning Stories. Her favorite protagonist is in Corliss, one of the featured short stories, but don’t tell anyone!

Author Links

Website –, Facebook –,

Purchase Link – Amazon

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