Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks by Cindy Vincent

Series: Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper

Genre: Christian, Children's, Cat-themed Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Whodunit Press
Publication date: October 11, 2013
Number of pages: 178

Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next case hits a little too close to home. Because someone has been breaking into houses and stealing all the Christmas presents! And the first two robberies even took place in their very own neighborhood. Holy Catnip! Of course, the boys leap in on all fours to investigate right away. Then it isn't long before they realize they are dealing with some real criminal masterminds, since these burglars know exactly how to cover their tracks. Plus, the crooks have the whole town of St. Gertrude on edge and they're threatening to ruin Christmas for everyone.
But figuring out the identity of the Christmas Crooks isn't the only mystery around. After all, Buckley had just been adopted from the cat shelter this year, and this was the first he'd ever heard about Christmas. And he quickly finds out there is a lot to learn! From Christmas trees to Santa Claus, and jingle bells to the birth of baby Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas is a mystery to him. But he and Bogey can't really enjoy any of it until the Christmas Crooks are caught. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick — these Christmas Crooks have set their sights on the boys' house, too! And the burglars are headed straight for their door. Holy Mackerel!

The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks is an enjoyable, cute read.  While I am older than the intended audience, I still (remarkably) found this book interesting.  The characters were quirky (my favorite was Bogey), and while I do not particularly enjoy movies or books in which the main characters are animals the author actually made this story work.  The cats were cute, and I loved the whole cast from The Wise One (the eldest cat in the house) to the Princess (the newest addition to the family and a possible love interest for Buckley????).

I read the book aloud to my three younger brothers while staying at my grandmother’s house, and they all enjoyed it (especially my eleven year old brother).  My grandmother even listened and later commented that she thought the book was good (and she doesn’t even like books!).   I think this is a great read for younger readers (with the occasional older reader who likes a cute mystery) and I look forward to more books about the BBCDA (Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency)… you know, to read aloud to my brothers of course…

I received a copy through Singing Librarian Books Tours for an honest review and the opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Nicki  

1. Each of the Buckley and Bogey books features an adoption scene where a homeless cat is given a forever home.  In one episode it was a cat who needed to be rescued from a bad situation, and another time two “special needs” cats were adopted.  I always get a little emotional when I write this little sideline to my stories, yet my real goal here is to encourage people to adopt cats who need a home, especially shelter cats.

2. In the book, Buckley is shown a plastic Santa Clause ornament that is hanging on the lower branches of the tree and put there for the cats in the family.  In real life, an ornament just like it is hung on our main Christmas tree every year, along with a few other unbreakable ornaments.  We often find them on the floor or around the house.  But it doesn’t matter, since we simply put them back on the tree.  No problem.  We learned long ago, that, if we wanted to have a decorated Christmas tree and cats, it was a very good idea to leave ornaments “just for them” on the lower branches of the tree.

3. Early in the story, there’s s a scene where the Princess runs straight up the Christmas tree and knocks it over.  This actually happened in real life . . . in fact, it happened many, many times the first Christmas after we adopted the real Princess Alexandra (Lexie).  She would run as fast as she could and leap onto the tree with enough momentum that it would fall right over, and the branches would go flying.  I probably should have been upset, but honestly, it was so hilarious that I’d laugh till I had tears rolling down my cheeks.  Especially when I saw the wild-eyed, quizzical expression on her face each time.  Finally, my husband invented a “Lexie proof” Christmas tree stand, and the tree stayed upright from then on.

4. I always include three of my other cats in the Buckley and Bogey books, too — Miss Mokie, aka The Wise One;  Libby, aka Lil Bits;  and Lexie, aka Princess Alexandra.  I wrote them into the first three books in the series, and sadly, not long after I’d started the fourth book, Miss Mokie and Libby passed away within a month and a half of each other.  They were 21 and 20 years old, which is remarkably old for cats.  Funny, but somehow I had the idea that losing an older cat might be easier, considering they’d had a nice long life and weren’t in the best shape near the end anyway.  But oddly enough, I found it was even harder to lose a couple of feline friends who’d been part of my life for a couple of decades.  I went through a very rough grieving process.  And even though they are gone, they will forever be in my heart.  And I decided to write them into the fourth book and all subsequent books anyway.

5. My favorite scene in this book is the night when Buckley finds himself locked out of the house.  That’s when he cuddles up in the Nativity Scene on the front yard to stay warm, and looks up at the night sky, trying to find the brightest star out there.

6. I completed this book in August.  So the whole time I was writing and dreaming of snow and Christmas decorations, it was actually about a 100º here in Houston, with 99% humidity.   Hmmm . . .

7. The Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers are set in a fictitious town called St. Gertrude.  Why St. Gertrude?  Because the real St. Gertrude of Nivelles, who lived in the seventh century, was known as the Patron Saint of Cats.

8. I sometimes write friends’ cats into my books as well.  For instance, Ranger, a Tonkinese kitty who is in two of the books, belongs to my friend who spends most of the year traveling in an RV with her husband, and takes Ranger with them.  She once sent me a picture of Ranger going nose-to-nose with an Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, so Ranger quickly became an adventurer in the books.  And Luke, the church cat in one book and mentioned in another, is the late cat of an online friend who plays piano at her church.  His real name was Ebony, and he is also forever immortalized in my books.

9. Most of my cats nap in my home office while I write.  It makes for such a cozy atmosphere.  And Buckley, who is the narrator of the series, frequently sits on my desk.  Considering he’s a huge Maine Coon Cat, this can make things a bit challenging, especially when he wants to lie on top of the keyboard . . .

10. I'm always a little surprised whenever I finish writing a book.  I look back and think, where did that come from?  I especially like the "feel good" ending in this book, which takes place right on Christmas Eve.  I not only wrote about the true meaning and spirit of Christmas, but I felt it the whole time I was typing away.  And since Christmas is my favorite time of the year, this book has a special place in my heart.  As the story talks about the joy of giving rather than receiving, I feel like this book is my Christmas present to my readers. 

Cindy Vincent, M.A. Ed., is the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, a mystery series for kids and cat-lovers that features the adventures of two black cat detectives. And yes, as she is often asked, Cindy used her own black cats, Buckley and Bogey, as the inspiration for the series, since they seem to run surveillance on her house each and every night. Cindy is also the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls, along with the Daisy Diamond Detective novels, which are a spin-off from the games. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and usually starts planning and preparing in March for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display every year . . .



1 comment:

  1. Holy Catnip, Nikki! That sure was nice of you to read my book to your brothers. Brothers are the best, as far as I'm concerned. I sure don't know what I'd do without my brother, Bogey. Anyway, we really appreciate your wonderful review and your kind words. Thanks for hosting us here today, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

    Your pal,

    Buckley Bergdorf
    Cat Detective