Friday, November 11, 2022

Mudpie Interviews...Earl Grey from Victoria Tait's Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery Series


A charity ball. A dead guest. Can an amateur sleuth solve the case or will it ruin Christmas for ever?

Aspiring antiques expert, Dotty Sayers, is excited about organising a ball in a Cotswold country house. When a lecture on modern art leads to a kiss under the mistletoe she thinks all her Christmases have come at once. But her festive cheer turns sour when a partygoer is found dead on the dance floor.

The police ask Dotty to help wrap up the case of a stolen painting, but as the search continues she becomes entangled in the murder investigation. When this amateur detective realises the culprit could be a close friend, will she face the Yuletide music?

Can Dotty put aside her personal feelings and herald a murderer?

Gavels, Tinsel and Murder is the fourth book in the charming Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series. If you like to eat, drink and be merry with a group of entertaining characters, then you’ll be entertained by Victoria Tait’s festive tale.

Christmas comes but once a year so buy Gavels, Tinsel and Murder today!

Mudpie was very excited to have the opportunity to interview Earl Grey, the feline star of this series. We hope you enjoy meeting him!

Welcome, Earl Grey! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Dotty?

Hi Mudpie. Thank you for speaking with me today. Most people ignore me but the things I’ve overheard … I could have solved a case or two.

I’m a pedigree British Blue cat, or Shorthair, as my breed has been renamed. I prefer blue as it matches my luxurious grey fur, which has a blueish tint. I cut an imposing figure, despite some people calling me fat and spoilt.

My first owner was the Duke of Ditchford and we lived peacefully together in Windrush Hall, in the British Cotswolds. It was his family’s house and had been passed down for generations. Unfortunately, the Duke closed off the main house and we only lived in two rooms. But I had the run of the hall where plenty of mice lurked.

After the Duke died, his man, Norman, kept an eye on me for a while until he was arrested. For a crime he was totally innocent of, I must point out. Oh, and I did enjoy annoying the Welsh police inspector when Norman took me with him to the police station.

That was where I met Dotty. She rescued me and took me back to her place, and then we moved to our current cottage. It’s not like the old hall, but I’m know I’m loved and I’m well fed.

What's a typical day like for you?

I wake early and potter down the stairs of our cottage and through the door to the adjoining farmhouse, which is always kept open for me.

Norman lives there now, and he likes cooking a good breakfast. He rarely gives me any, but Aunt Beanie, who owns the house, often feeds me tip bits of bacon or sausage. To give Norman his due, he always gives me my own breakfast.

I spend most of my day curled up by the Aga, a larger cooker which gives out lots of heat.

At some point I’ll wonder outside. I have the run of the farm buildings and there are usually mice hiding somewhere or voles trespassing.

In the summer I’ll find somewhere warm for a nap, but in the winter I’m soon back inside by the Aga.

I’m lucky. Dotty is a great cook and I can usually persuade her to share her meals with me. By the end of the day, I’m full and ready to curl up on her bed to sleep.

Is it true that you live with a pig?!?!?! How do you feel about that? And more importantly, how do you protect your food?

Agatha was a small, wirey bundle of bristles when I first met her, and she was very sorry for herself. She’s a pedigree Berkshire pig, but she lost her family to a nasty pig disease.

When she arrived at the farmhouse, she insisted on curling up with me, which was annoying at first, but then she grew on me. She’s always been very respectful, if rather boisterous, as her confidence grew, but she knows my food is mine. She gets a sharp tap on the snout if she tries to eat anything she shouldn’t.

But she’s so big now and still full of energy. She keeps knocking things over and I know Norman is worried she’ll hurt Uncle Cliff. He’s threatening to move her outside.

The latest mystery you star in, Gavels, Tinsel and Murder, takes place at Christmas. Do you have any special plans for Christmas this year? It must be beautiful there in the Cotswolds.

It’s cold. I like the sun, not the snow which is wet and covers everything. And worse still, the mice go to sleep. Christmas was nothing special with the old Duke.

I do like the sparkly Christmas decorations, which are an acceptable alternative to mice, although Norman and Dotty tell me off when I play with them.

The best thing about Christmas at the farmhouse is that everyone loves to cook and eat. So my plans are to take full advantage of this side of the festive season.

Do you assist Dotty in any way in solving the mysteries she finds herself entangled in?

Not anymore. You see, I was catnapped. They were a lovely old couple who fed me all sorts of wonderful French delicacies, but still, it was scary.

And then I had the visit to the police station with Norman, when he was arrested. One time is enough, although it would be fun to goad that Welsh police inspector again.

I do spend a lot of time listening in Dotty and her friends discuss their current cases around the kitchen table, but personally, I can’t understand why humans have to be so beastly to each other. And they call us animals.

And I do worry about them. Dotty has been hit on the head and shoved down a flight of wooden stairs, and a suspect broke Aunt Beanie’s leg a few months ago.

I prefer a peaceful life, curled up by the Aga.

Can you give us any clues as to what's next for you two?

My kitty senses tell me there’s danger ahead for Dotty. I wish she’d leave the detecting to the police, but I know she can’t, especially if she feels there’s an injustice. I just hope she doesn’t end up in jail, or worse.


About the Author: 

I was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK, and never expected to travel the world. But I fell for an Army Officer, and I’ve followed him from Northern Ireland, up to the Scottish Highlands, across to Africa and the Kenyan Savannah, back to the British Cotswolds, and we are now living in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Southern Europe.

I never expected to be an author, but all this moving is not ideal for holding down a job. Instead, I’ve taken the experiences of the places I’ve lived to write vivid and evocative cozy mystery books with determined female sleuths.

I have two fast growing teenage boys, and together we’ve learnt to ski on the Bosnian mountains. I also enjoy horse riding, mountain biking and I’ve started running as a way to improve my physical fitness, mental well-being and shed some excess pounds.

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Lynn and Precious said...

Mudpie, I purr-sonally love the kitty on the cover of the book. It looks so much like me except it has yellow eyes. I Could Fall In Love now. Thanks for doing an interview and a book cover. Precious

Patricia T said...

Mudpie (and Melissa), I’m loving this series! Victoria Tait is a new favorite author. I’ve read the first three books and am ready to read Gavels, Tinsel and Murder.

Three Chatty Cats said...

This sounds like a cute book and series. Thanks for sharing!

Tommy and Teaghan said...

Mudpie you do such great interviews! It's nice to learn about you and your adventures this way. We have just gotten back to blogging so we are catching up on what everyone is doing. The book series sounds like a good thing to read. Thanks for sharing your creations.

pilch92 said...

Nice interview. That looks like a good read.

Brian's Home Blog said...

That really was a fun interview and the book sounds fabulous!

Marvelous Marv said...

Earl Gray sounds like a furry interesting cat! Can you with a pig! But I suppose it is no worse than living with a dog...and what an exciting life! Jails, Policemen, Dotty, Norman...Wowzers! This little Persian tabby is intrigued! Purrs Marv