Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Truffles Interviews...Sidney & Balzac from Lesley Cookman's Steeple Martin Mystery Series (w/Giveaway)

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! For today's interview I'm chatting with a pair of kitties that live across the pond in England! (I'm very thankful for the Internet and email...I don't think I'd want to travel that far away from home.) 

Sidney and Balzac are the feline stars of the Libby Sarjeant series of British murder mysteries which features a retired actress as the female sleuth and are based in the picturesque village of Steeple Martin.

Would anyone care to join me for a spot of catnip tea?

Truffles: Welcome, Sidney and Balzac! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions today. Could you start out by telling us a little about yourselves and how you came to live with Libby and Fran, respectively?

Sidney: Hello, Truffles, and thank you on behalf of Balzac and myself for inviting us over to your place. I have to tell you, it’s the first time I have been across the Atlantic and it’s – er – quite interesting. About myself, my name is Sidney and I am what humans call a silver tabby. At least, they do over here in England. I’m not quite sure how old I am, but I’ve been living with this woman called Libby Sarjeant for several years now. We used to live in a big house near the sea with a lot of other humans, but they all went away, so we bought this little house in what I understand is called a village. I like it because at the back of the garden is a wood, and some open fields, which means I can go on all sorts of rambles.

Balzac: Now Sidney’s shut up, perhaps I can have a word? My name is Balzac, and I’ve had rather a chequered past. Not my fault, of course. I am a very handsome black and white long haired person, and I first lived in March Cottage, Pedlar’s Row with a very old lady called Maria. But she died, and for a long time I was fed – sometimes – by a rather unpleasant person who lived next door. Then another person called Bella came to March Cottage so I adopted her, but that didn’t last long. Libby and Fran were friends of Bella’s and when she went away, they took me home. I stayed with Libby and Sidney for a little while, and then moved in with Fran when she went to live in Coastguard Cottage in Nethergate. 

Truffles: What is a typical day like for you?

Sidney: A typical day for me starts with me greeting Libby in the kitchen when she comes down to make her tea. Sometimes, and more often these days, it’s her friend Ben who comes down. We have a chat and while the kettle’s boiling Ben or Libby feeds me. Then I’ll have a little wash and leave through my special door in the conservatory. Perhaps I’ll sit under the cherry tree in the garden, or I’ll go through the fence and into the woods at the back. Very interesting places, woods. Then I’ll come back home, see if there’s anything interesting in my food dish, and go and have a sleep in the sitting room. In front of the fire if it’s winter, or on the sofa. If there’s a human around, I might sleep on a lap. And if anyone comes to the front door, I have a great trick of dashing out between their legs and tripping them up.

Balzac: I don’t go out at night, so I sleep in the sitting room. If it’s summer, I sleep on the window seat, which is very deep and looks out over the sea. Sometimes, in the daytime, I chat to the seagulls on the sea wall, but they don’t take much notice. I don’t do a lot, but sometimes I go outside to our little sunny back yard. That’s it really. After going from pillar to post earlier in my life, I like to stick close to home.

Truffles: What kinds of trouble do your staff (owners) get into in Murder Out of Tune?

Sidney: Honestly, sometimes I despair of my staff. She stumbles into these things and gets herself into all sorts of trouble. This time she managed to get hit on the head right outside my door! Well, there was nothing I could do, was there? Although I could have told them who did it. I was looking out of the window. Saved them a lot of trouble, that would.

Balzac: I don’t know much about it, I’m afraid. Fran doesn’t talk to me about these things, possibly because I was mixed up in an adventure when she met me, and she thinks I might get upset. I maintain a dignified silence.

Truffles: Do you participate at all in their crime-solving adventures?

Sidney: I could help if I was asked, of course. As I’ve said, I saw who hit Libby on the head. And there was another time when there was a fire in the garden. I knew about that, too, and when her friend Harry was hit on the head in his garden, I just happened to have taken my nightly stroll over there, so I could be very useful. Balzac doesn’t do anything.

Balzac: I don’t choose to get involved, Sidney. I provide a restful homely ambience for my staff.

Truffles: This book is set at Christmas. What is Christmas like in Steeple Martin?

Sidney: Steeple Martin at Christmas is quite interesting for a cat. Libby and Ben and their friends are involved with what British humans call “theatre” and “pantomime”. Do you know what pantomime is, Truffles? No? Well, it all started – according to Libby, who knows a lot about it – back in the 1750s in England. It changed quite a bit from that time to the last century, but now it is a musical play (you know what that is, don’t you?) based on a fairy story, like Cinderella or Snow White. But it’s weird. There’s always a woman played by a man – the Dame – and often there’s a prince who’s played by a woman. Told you – weird. So anyway, that what my humans do at Christmas, so we’re really very busy.

Balzac: Nethergate at Christmas is really very pretty. All the lights we have along the Harbour Wall are switched on, and there’s a big thing they call a Christmas Tree opposite The Swan Hotel at the end of our street. Fran often goes off to Steeple Martin for that pantomime thing with Libby, so Guy and I stay at home by the fire. 

Truffles: Cat to cat, do you have favorite nap spots, toys and treats?

Sidney: I don’t play with toys. I like the sofa, the mat in front of the fire and pretty much anyone’s lap. I love ham, but I don’t get very much of it, and those special little cat treats. Libby is very mean with them.

Balzac: As I’ve said, I love the window seat in the sitting room, and outside I curl up in the big plant pot in the back yard. I just fit nicely. I like those cat treats, too, and sometimes, if I’m very lucky, a bit of chicken. And cheese. Oh, I love cheese! 

Truffles: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming adventures?

Sidney: Well, I can’t really. You see, they’ve all gone off on holiday to another country and I’m staying with a different human called Hetty. She’s Ben’s mother, and she lives in a very big house called The Manor. She spoils me, Libby says, but I consider that she really knows how to treat a cat. When they get back from this holiday in – where was it? Turkey? – I expect I shall hear all about it. And I’m sure there will have been a murder while they were there.

Balzac: Yes, I’ll be at home with Sophie. She’s a lovely human and belongs to Guy. Sometimes she lives almost next door to us, and sometimes she comes to stay, especially when Fran and Guy go away, just to keep me company. She talks to me a lot, so I shall hear all about what’s happening in Turkey. And after that, who knows? It would be nice if nothing very much happened, but I’m sure there will be more adventures. Very unsettling.


About Murder Out of Tune: A member of a local ukulele group is found dead in Steeple Martin’s churchyard. Libby’s first reaction is relief that the victim isn’t anyone she knows. She and the usual suspects have other things to occupy them as they are gearing up for a Christmas concert and pantomime in the Oast Theatre but when Libby’s cousin gets romantically involved with a man in whom the police are taking an interest, she can’t help asking a few questions – and getting into trouble…

About the author: A former actor, model and freelance journalist, Lesley Cookman lives on the Kent coast in the UK, has four musicians as children, two small grandchildren and two cats, Lady Godiva and Gloria. All 14 of her Libby Sarjeant books have reached number one in their genre charts on Amazon UK.

Purchase Links
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Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, January 19th for your chance to win an e-copy of Murder Out of Tune.


M. K. Clinton said...

Wonderful interview as always. This sounds like a very interesting read for a cold winter weekend. Thanks for telling us about it.

Unknown said...

You have great writing talent!

My GBGV Life said...

LOL! I love your answer to playing with toys! My kitty sis Sophie would say the same thing!

Lesley Cookman said...

Thank you all. It was a privilege to be here!

Life with Dogs and Cats said...

Looks like a great read. And good staff is hard to find. MOL!

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

meowmeowmans said...

Hi Truffles! Murder Out of Tune sounds like a very entertaining read! The interview was wonderful -- we especially liked learning about Balzac and Sidney's "typical" days. :)

Hugs to you and Mom Melissa.


What a great interview! We wanted to let you know we purchased Purr Therapy (it was a book you reviewed and recommended) and we are enjoying it.

Unknown said...

What a treat. Three wonderful fur people today.
Well done.


Grandma Cootie said...

What a cute perspective for this blog! And I need to read this series. A cup of catnip tea - made me laugh.

Barbara Rivers said...

What a fabulous interview ~ there seems to be lots of "getting hit on the head" going on, huh?! The book sounds very intriguing!

Anonymous said...

Good job, Truffles! I had never heard of this (and Mommy) come up with some really good stuff! Thanks for letting us know.

CJ the CraftyDragon said...

Hiya Truffles! We think our humans will probably want to read this book (heavy sigh!) Our meowmy ignores us for long periods of time when she reads about Libby and her adventures! We four furfaces think you did the interview very well, and we enjoyed hearing about Sidney and Balzac ..... we are jolly good at tripping our Staff up too! Lots of purrrrs to you!

Sue said...

Sidney and Balzac are very interesting cats---I think I'll enjoy any book that includes them.

Thanks for the contest.

Anonymous said...

Gweat posty.

Luv ya'

Dezi and Lexi

Unknown said...

Sofa is the coveted spot! That's definitely where it's at, cats! *wags* - Gilligan from

pilch92 said...

Great interview, as always. Those sound like nice kitties.

bookwomen said...

Love these interviews. Glad they were able to take the trip across the Atlantic.

gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

cyn209 said...

oh, I need to read this book!!
thank you for the giveaway!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Marty the Manx said...

Great interview Truffles! They are quite the characters :)