Thursday, May 7, 2015

Anyone for tea and crumpets...and murder?

by Sparkle Abbey

We're so excited about our new book, Downton Tabby, which is due out in June. Our fab publisher, Bell Bridge Books, is doing some fun promo with a cover reveal at Goodreads on May 15th, a blog tour, special pricing on our backlist, and the placement of a short, featuring Toria, the feline star of Downton Tabby.

We thought you might enjoy reading the short so here goes...

Cats dressed in period clothing
The Pawleys 
A brief episode in the British family history of Lady Toria Cash, the feline fatale of Downton Tabby

“Can you believe that alley cat?” Lady Meow Grandcatham lifted her whiskers in disdain. “Thinking I’d simply fall under the spell of his gorgeous green eyes.”

I shook my head. “He does seem rather cheeky.” I’m Annakatrina, Lady’s Meow’s lady’s maid, and the alley cat she was referring to was Alexander Kittingham who’d apparently made a play for Lady Meow in a big way.

I carefully folded the lace frill she’d worn to dinner and reached for the brush I used every night on her silky black fur. Though I would never bring it up to Lady Meow, talk below stairs was that Alexander Kittingham was not actually a purebred British shorthair. He was often referred to as “Alley” in a disparaging tone, by Thomas Cat, Lord Grandcatham’s valet. Alexander was quite a handsome fellow and a favorite of the ladies around the dinner bowl.

He was nice looking with dark brown fur and deep green eyes, but I was not impressed. You see I’m madly in love with Mr. Bait. Poor Mr. Bait is currently locked up in the pound, but I had no doubt he would soon be freed.

“Beyond cheeky, I’d say.” Lady Meow lifted her paw to her neck. “Would you help me get out of this collar?”

I pulled on the diamond collar with my teeth and it snapped off easily. Carefully placing it in the ornate trinket box, I picked up the brush again.

Suddenly, there was a scratch at the door and I moved quickly to open it.  Lady Vi, Meow’s grandmother, stepped into the room. She was a formidable feline and referred to as the Dogwagger Countess because even the dogs at the neighboring estates were afraid of her. I don’t believe she’d ever actually bitten anyone, canine or otherwise, but all it took was a hiss and the very slight unsheathing of her claws and it was clear she meant business.

“Grandmother.” Lady Meow purred. “What a surprise.”

cat in straw hat“Not an unpleasant one, I hope.” The older feline stepped closer so Lady Meow could bump noses with her.

“I’ll leave you.” I moved quietly on soft paws toward the door.

“No, please stay.” The Dogwagger waved her tail in my direction. “I know Meow trusts you.”

“What is it, Grandmama?” Lady Meow dropped on her haunches. “Is something wrong?”

“What is wrong is my sources tell me someone is publishing a catty tell all tome about the Britain’s aristocats. I am told there’s a whole chapter devoted to the Grandcatham Family.” She leaned on the edge of Lady’s Meow’s bed and smoothed her fur.

Lady Meow began to pace. “Have you told Pappa’?

The Dogwagger shook her head. “No, nor your mother. It will be up to us to sort this out.” She gave a deep sigh and tipped her head to look at me. “We must find out who this low-life is and stop him or her before our good name is dragged through the litter box.” Sharp blue eyes pinned me in place.

“What can I do to help, M ‘lady?”

“My dear, you must be our eyes and ears.” The Dogwagger put her paws together as if it were all settled. “You can go places we must not and you will never be noticed.”

I had the thought that not being noticed was hardly complimentary, but knew she was right.

“You will help us, won’t you, Anna?” Lady Meow crossed the room in a single smooth leap to stand in front of me. Her golden eyes searched my face.

“Of course, I will.” I bowed my head.

And thus began my new career as Annakatrina, Cat Sleuth.

What would Mr. Bait think?
Downton Tabby, book seven in The Pampered Pets Mysteries by Sparkle Abbey, is now available for pre-order at Amazon. Pre-order now and send us an email with "Downton Tabby Pre-Order" in the subject line and you'll be entered in the drawing for this adorable Andrew Cardew teapot and a canister of special blend, Downton Abbey tea.

Also, if you're missing any of our backlist this is a great time to grab them. Details here.

And if you want to make sure you're up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by our website and sign up for updates at

Art credits: 
Siamese Cat in a straw hat © Nizhava1956 | 
Loving cats in 1900 © Lestoquoy VĂ©ronique |


  1. This is absolutely adorable. Posted that on Facebook, too, but it came out as coming from The Stiletto Gang because I was using my phone --- wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this taste -- sorry I didn't have a chance to see the two of you at Malice.