Cat Got Your Tongue

Book 3 in the 9 Lives Cozy Mystery Series

It’s now March and Aunt Ellen Jamieson has been living with Christy, Noelle, and Frank for five months. Getting used to having Ellen as a roommate has been a slow process, particularly since Frank is NOT pleased. Christy is due for a vacation and Quinn is ready to provide it. March Break is coming up and Quinn has arranged a trip to California for himself, Christy, and Noelle. Christy is counting the days.

As a pre-vacation surprise, Quinn invites Christy to a sold-out concert for the hugely successful rock group, SledgeHammer. The lead singer is Trevor’s son, Rob, nicknamed Sledge, and he’s invited friends and family to the band’s personal box. The concert goes off without a hitch, but after it is over, one of the venue staff is murdered. As the young woman is both the granddaughter of one of Ellen’s friends and their box attendant, Ellen offers Christy’s services as a detective to seek out the girl’s killer. The main suspect is the brother of one of the SledgeHammer band members, so Trevor offers Quinn’s help to find the real killer.

With their departure date for California coming up quick, Quinn and Christy have to bow out of the detection, so Trevor, Ellen, Roy and Frank decide to investigate. Then a second murder at Sledge’s mansion causes confusion. Frank witnesses it, but he’s fallen silent.

Has Frank gone forever? Are the two murders, so very different, somehow linked?  Will Quinn and Christy’s newfound closeness survive an investigation that has become very personal? Find out in Cat Got Your Tongue!

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EXCERPT

“Out with it, Dad,” Quinn said. “Why are you phoning so late?” It was nearly two in the morning. Too late for a social call, so it was likely his father was phoning to unload some bad news. Beside him, Christy began to frown as she listened to his half of the conversation.

“We’re at the SledgeHammer party. All of us.” Roy paused.

“Yeah.” Quinn was trying to be encouraging without being demanding. He didn’t want to say ‘spill it!’ to his father, but that’s how he felt.

“Trevor, Ellen, Frank, and me.”

“You took the cat to a party put on by a rock band?”

There was a little hesitation, then Roy said, “Frank wanted to come. He’s a big fan of SledgeHammer.” His tone was belligerent.

Quinn resisted the urge to sigh. “Did something happen to the cat?”

“What? Nothing! The thing is, he found the body. Saw the murder, that is.” Roy broke off and Quinn could hear the sound of raised voices in the background. Then Roy said, “I’m just talking to my son. I’ll be with you in a minute.” The voice in the background spoke again, the tone more urgent now, an edge of demand in it. “He’s got nothing to do with this,” Roy said, sounding annoyed. “He’s out of town. In L.A. No, he’s not my lawyer. Do I need a lawyer?”

“What the hell?” Quinn said to no one in particular, because although Roy hadn’t disconnected, he was no longer on his phone and talking to Quinn.

Christy sat up straight, her frown deepening. “What’s happening?”

“I’m not sure.” There was more background talk and Quinn thought, with some relief, that one of the voices belonged to Trevor McCullagh. “Dad said something about a murder, then he started talking to someone at his end. I just heard another voice join the conversation. It sounded like Trevor.”

“A murder!” Christy’s eyebrows snapped together. “Is your dad in trouble? Do you think Trevor is telling the cops that he’s Roy’s lawyer?”

“Possibly, but if he is at the party, he might be a suspect too,” Quinn said.

“What’s that?” said Roy, suddenly back on the line.

“I was talking to Christy, Dad. I woke her up when you called and she’s here now. I’m going to put the phone on speaker.”

“Don’t do that! It’s—”

Quinn hesitated, his gut clenching at the urgency in his father’s voice. “Why not? I’m going to tell her anyway.”

“I know, but… Better if you break it to her gently. Later. I don’t have time to put everything that’s happened into a nice package. There’s a pompous ass of a West Van cop who wants to interrogate me about the murder. Trevor was only able to buy me a couple of minutes, so I’ll have to be quick.”

Quinn glanced at Christy, who was now staring at him wide-eyed with fear. “That’s the second time you mentioned a murder. Who’s dead?”

“Vince. SledgeHammer’s manager.”

“Vince Nunez,” he said for Christy’s benefit. “You said Frank saw the murder. Who did it?”Cat Got Your Tongue Cover

Roy’s voice lowered. “That’s just it. We don’t know. We heard Frank demanding that someone stop and then the cat howling, so we all rushed out to see what had happened. There was Stormy, sitting with his paws on Vince’s chest and yowling, but no one else was around.”

“Did Frank not know the person who did it?”

“No. I mean, I don’t know. Yes, yes, I’m coming!” The last must have been to the officious police detective from the West Vancouver police department.

When he spoke again, Roy’s voice was even softer than before. “Here’s the problem. Frank saw the murder being committed and he hasn’t spoken since.”

Roy hesitated and Quinn had a sense that his father was about to tell him what he wanted Quinn to shield Christy from.

His voice almost a whisper, Roy said, “We think he’s gone, Quinn. We think Frank has left Stormy’s body forever.”

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