Trying to beat the mid-winter blahs by snowshoeing and cross country skiing when she’s not teaching art history at a local college (or being driven crazy by her numerous cats, cooped up in her rambling old country home), Gerry Coneybear thinks she has her busy life under control. That is, until she rescues her neighbour’s injured cat. Then a body pops up where she’d least expect it. And she even knows the victim – slightly. From gossiping with friends to discussing events while baking at home with her housekeeper Prudence, Gerry manages to pick up a few clues, although Prudence tries to discourage her from getting involved. And at first Gerry tries to stay clear of the murder – for murder it is. She gets to know Jean-Louis, a handsome ski instructor, and his adorable blond husky Harriet. Her friendship with the other man in her life, Doug, seems to be floundering. And Jean-Louis lives just down the road…The discovery of a mysterious package tucked up in a tree brings the police to Gerry’s home again. But that’s not all she finds in the woods.
Born in Montreal and raised in Hudson, Quebec, Louise Carson studied music in Montreal and Toronto, played jazz piano and sang in the chorus of the Canadian Opera Company. Carson has published ten books: Rope, a blend of poetry and prose; Mermaid Road, a lyrical novella; A Clearing, a collection of poetry; Executor, a mystery set in China and Toronto; In Which: Book One of The Chronicles of Deasil Widdy, historical fiction set in 18th century Scotland; book two, Measured; (book three -- Third Circle -- is scheduled for publication in 2021); and her Maples Mysteries series: The Cat Among Us, The Cat Vanishes, The Cat Between and the forthcoming The Cat Possessed. Her second collection of poetry -- Dog Poems -- has just been published. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines, chapbooks and anthologies from coast to coast, including The Best Canadian Poetry 2013. She's been short-listed in FreeFall Magazine's annual contest three times, and one poem won a Manitoba Magazine Award. Her novel In Which was shortlisted for a Quebec Writers' Federation award in 2019. She has presented her work in many public forums, including Hudson's Storyfest 2015, as well as in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Saskatoon and New York City. Louise lives in St-Lazare, Quebec, where she writes, teaches music and gardens.
Bob, meanwhile, was nosing around in the backyard. He sniffed, stiffened and retreated up a tree, only to smell along one long thick bough and hastily rejoin Gerry on the ground. “Whoa, Bob, found something scary?” She examined the tracks under the tree and followed them to the back door.
They were different from any Gerry had previously seen, bigger than a cat’s, oval where most cats’ or dogs’ were round. She sucked in her breath when she saw the long claw marks in the snow. “Yikes, no wonder you’re freaked out. Come here. ” She picked Bob up in her arms. “You don’t want to meet up with the owner of those. ”
Bob struggled to be let go and disappeared around the far side of the house. Before she followed him, Gerry bent over and looked closely at a hole in the siding low to the ground. Big enough for a cat, she reasoned, or perhaps whatever possessed those frightening claws. She went to look for Bob and found him sitting in a window box with one paw hooked under the edge of a board that had been hammered on to cover a window. Gerry looked furtively toward the road. No one passing. She pulled on the board and it came away easily, its wood crumbling in the nail holes. “Rotten,” she said and set it down under the window, which, to her surprise, was intact. So the plywood was to protect the glass not instead of it, she realized. She pushed the window up. As it opened, Bob darted in. “In for a penny,” she muttered, pushing it all the way up, and stepped in.