Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Show Cat Surprises by Elaine Viets, Author of Catnapped!

Show Cat Surprises, by Elaine Viets

I’ve been owned by cats for more than 20 years, ever since my husband, Don Crinklaw, rescued a kitten about to be run over by a truck. We were driving y to Elsah, Illinois, so we named her Elsah. A few miles farther down the road, and she would have been called Wood River.

Since Elsah, all our cats have been rescues. Until Mystery. We adopted the defrocked show cat more than a decade ago. Mystery is a pedigreed Chartreux, officially Columbleu’s Unsolved Mysterie, but her show cat career was cut short when she bit a judge. Her brother became a cover boy for Cat Fancy Magazine and won a slew of awards. Mystery was spayed and Don and I were lucky to adopt her. We figured she was still a rescue cat: We’d saved her from a job she didn’t want.

But it wasn’t until I attended a cat show to research Catnapped!, my lucky 13th Dead-End Job mystery, that I really learned about show cats.

The Platinum Coast Cat Fanciers’ All-Breed cat show was in Fort Myers, Florida last July. I was also there to interview people for my half-hour talk show on Radio Ear Network.

Catnapped! is a light-hearted Florida mystery. Financier Smart Mort Barrymore is in the midst of a bitter divorce when he’s murdered and his beloved Chartreux show cat is kidnapped and held for a half-million dollars. Husband and wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont to go undercover in the world of cat shows to find the catnapper and Mort's killer.
In Catnapped! I wanted to depict the cats’ personalties and the dedicated people who love and show them.

At the Fort Myers show, I was fascinated by how pedigreed cats didn’t mind the noise and crowds in the show hall. Well, most of them. One elegant Siamese was vocal in his disapproval. The other cool cats curled into contented muffins in their show cages or slept until they were in the ring.

Cat show judges are natural teachers and enjoyed talking about the breed. One judge, Tracy Petty, southern region director of the Cat Fanciers’ Association, skipped lunch for a radio interview, then volunteered to help me with Catnapped! Her attention to detail was impressive. I’d send two or three versions of a chapter before she’d declare it accurate.

Judge Petty used to breed prize winning Persians and Siamese. She taught me that washing a long-haired show cat is time-consuming. A cat bath starts with Goop – the hand cleaner – and includes two shampoos, a conditioner, and if it’s a white cat, a blue rinse. Then the cats are dried with a special dryer. She said show cats learn to enjoy the process, especially the blow dryer.

Once they’re cleaned, the cats’ beautiful ruffs are protected by paper coffee filters, worn like collars. And the coffee filters have to be torn, not cut with scissors, or they will shear the fur.

Judge Petty’s description of cat washing left me grateful I have self-cleaning cats.

She also schooled me in the language of show cats. Pedigreed grays are always blue. I’ve stared at Mystery, my pedigreed Chartreux, until I’m blue in the face, but she still looks gray as a rainy day.

(Elaine's precious rescue kitty Harry.)

NOTE: CATNAPPED! goes on sale May 6. Before then, get a low preorder price here:

And enter my contest for the Bakers Dozen Book Giveaway. Go to and click on Contests.

Socialite Trish Barrymore and her rich husband, Smart Mort, can agree on only one thing in their bitter divorce: shared custody of their beloved cat. But when Mort is found dead and the cat is being held for a half-million dollars in ransom money, it's up to husband and wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont to go undercover in the world of cat shows to find the catnapper -- and Mort's killer. Another cat-tastrophe looms. Their home, Coronado Apartments, is slated for a tear-down when Margery, their landlady, is arrested for murder one.

Elaine Viets Biography
“Catnapped!,” Elaine Viets’ new hardcover mystery from Obsdian, is set in world of cat shows and pet custody. The New York Times Review of Books praises her “quick-witted mysteries.”

Elaine’s bestselling Dead-End Job series is a satiric look at a serious subject – the minimum-wage world. Her character, Helen Hawthorne, works a different low-paying job each book. Elaine’s second series features mystery shopper Josie Marcus.

Elaine is a St. Louis native who now lives in Fort Lauderdale. She won the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards. Follow her on Facebook at Check her Website at


Anonymous said...

Hav a Pawsum day!! ☻

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses ♥♥♥


Unknown said...

Sounds good!

Pawesome Cats said...

Sounds like an interesting read!

Life with Dogs and Cats said...

I won a free copy of Catnapped. It just came in the mail yesterday and I can't wait to start it.

--Purrs (and wags) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

Elaine Viets said...

Con-catulations, Susan, Catnapped! is definitely a cat lover's book. My husband and agree with Mark Twain -- a house may be a very fine house, but without a cat, how can it prove title as a home.

AmyShojai said...

There can't be enough cat mysteries--so glad to read more about this paw-some mystery as well as Mystery landing on all fours in the RIGHT home. *s*

Anonymous said...

We're reading Catnapped for our next #readpawty book club meeting on Twitter. Join us! It's June 9 at 8 PM ET. Elaine is going to join us. We're furry excited!

Elaine Viets said...

Totally agree, Amy. Cats rule. At least in our home.

Elaine Viets said...

I'm all a-Twitter for this event.

Unknown said...

Looks like a fun book for SlimKitty to read at the beach this summer!


Looks like a great read.

Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard said...

Catnapped! sounds fun, and I enjoyed the inside look at show cats and cat shows. As for ours, they are rescues, too -- not from an official shelter but from a private shelter run by a very dedicated woman. It took our girl-cat, Tasha, a long time to gentle down, but she's becoming quite affectionate in her later years. Thomas, on the other hand, is a sweet puddle; he sleeps almost all the time.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a fun book :) My family lives in Fort Meyer, FL so it is interesting to hear about a book based there.

Cathy Keisha said...

That’s a stunning Russian Blue!

meowmeowmans said...

Catnap sounds like a really good read. We'll have to check it out!

Paws News for Cat Lovers said...

Sounds like an interesting book, not too far from reality. Will have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

The book sounds very interesting and I love the name.