Meow Mayhem, a Fancy Cat Mystery by Lisa J Lickel
After being left at the altar, Ivy Amanda McTeague Preston uproots herself and her cat, an Egyptian Mau named Memnet, from her boring and lonely life to start over at the urging of Mayor Conklin, a fellow pedigreed Mau owner. Ready to move in a fresh direction, Adam Thompson accepts the mayor’s invitation and uproots himself and his beloved Mau, Isis, to open a branch of his trendy bookstore and coffee shop in the small town. When Ivy takes a mysterious message while the mayor is away on business, only her criminology professor mom and Adam believe there’s something rotten in Apple Grove. Then Ivy discovers the community grant money that Adam was allotted to start the store is mysteriously being siphoned off, a dead body surfaces, and the victim’s missing Mau becomes the primary suspect. . .just another day in Ivy’s far-from-boring new life. In love with Apple Grove and with Adam, Ivy hopes to carry on their romance while saving the town from further mayhem.
I came rudely alert to the 2:48 a.m. summons of my business phone. I fumbled for the receiver on my nightstand and squinted. The ID was unfamiliar. I frowned. In the middle of the night? This had to be a crank call. I hoped it wasn’t one of those angry-at-the-world abusive-types. I was tired and not in the mood to be professionally pleasant. I held the headpiece next to my ear and answered. “McTeague Technical Services. This is Ivy. How may I be—”
I couldn’t make anything out through the crackling static and so I got out of my nice cozy warm bed and went to stand by the window, hoping for a clearer signal. A burst of static rocketed me backward and I held the phone away from my ear. “Oww!”
I sat on the end of the bed and checked the phone, expecting smoke. The background was lit, but the call disconnected. I got back into bed, but switched on my bedside light. I searched the caller ID and came up with Chicago. Summersby Building.
A soft buzz indicated an incoming call from the same number.
“Hello? Who’s there?” All I heard now was a soft buzz. Then a distinct click. At least the recorder had been on.
I yawned. Summersby Building was probably a construction company doing work for one of the new businesses coming to Apple Grove. That’s why I was here, too, invited on behalf of the mayor’s new community growth incentive. I yawned again, turned my business phone to silent and pulled the covers up to my chin.
The next evening, after my third attempt to reach my friend Donald, the mayor of Apple Grove, Illinois, I ran my fingers across the screen of my personal phone. Pictures of my cat last year at Christmas at my home in Maplewood. I usually found pictures cheerful. Comforting. But not the holiday ones which reminded me of all I hated about Christmas.
Now, in the twilight on the cusp of summer in a new and unfamiliar home, the pictures made me homesick.
When I moved here two months ago, April Fool’s Day, to be exact, the phone and cable companies had wondered about how I could make McTeague’s Services work with my three servers. I showed them Donald’s letter of reference and the preliminary approval of the exception to the zoning ordinance in this quiet little neighborhood.
My business was dedicated to tech for non-techies, computer set-ups, web design, personal computer lessons. I had to supplement that with other home-based requests that sometimes went along with my home visits, such as pet, houseplant, and mailbox sitting for those going away for whatever reason. Small businesses needed web maintenance. I also offered letter and blog writing services, and help with forms. In this day and age of rapidly changing informational systems, everyone needed help.
I toyed with the phone. This evening, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Donald’s silence was not a matter of choice. I had to help my friend. I looked up a phone number and tapped it out.
“Apple Grove Police. Officer Ripple. How can I help you?”
“Hello. I…I need to report a missing person. Maybe a kidnapping.”
“Right. High Vee? Could you spell that, please.”
“I – V – Y. Preston.”
“And where are you now, ma’am? Can you see any weapons? Do you know the name of your kidnappers?”
“Oh, no, Officer. It’s not me. It’s the mayor.”
“Mayor? Got that. First name?”
“Donald Mayor. And is he a relative? Is there a note?”
“No…you’ve got it all mixed up. I’m calling about somebody possibly kidnapping Mayor Donald Conklin.”
“You think someone’s going to kidnap the mayor? That’s a pretty serious charge.”
“Not going to. I think they already did.”
“We’ll send someone over to talk to you. What’s your address?”
“Ah, yes. The Pagner house. And you have some sort of evidence?”
“Well, I received the strangest call last night on my business line and now he won’t answer his private number. I’m worried.”
“I own the new tech services business in town. McTeague’s. Donald invited me.”
“Okay. Sit tight. I’m sending Officer Dow over to you to take your statement.”
“Thank you.” I hung up and wondered what kind of a statement I was expected to give.
Other Social Media Links
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2G3XEN1
Prism Books, an imprint of Pelican Ventures LLC
Released January 25, 2019
Publisher Website https://bit.ly/2FjuQRj