Book Spotlight (and a Giveaway!): The Case of the Clever Secret Code

March 14, 2016 children, Christian, giveaway, mystery/suspense 2

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about the book

book.jpgGenre: Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Children’s
Publisher: 
Whodunit Press
Publication date: October 14, 2015
Number of pages: 223

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Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next big case with the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency to be their most difficult yet. It all starts one hot summer day, when the boys are sitting in the front window of their Mom’s antique store. That’s when they see a big, black limo crawling up the street and going right through downtown St. Gertrude. So who is in that long, black car? None other than famous movie star, Steele Bronson! And his surprise arrival sends the entire town into a tizzy! Especially when he announces his plans to shoot his next movie right there at the St. Gertrude Library, housed in a historic four-story mansion. And wouldn’t you know it, but it all happens just Gracie, the boys’ human sister, is a finalist in the town’s Fourth of July essay contest. Holy Catnip!

But it isn’t long before Buckley and Bogey realize there is something very wrong with the whole picture . . . including the one that Steele Bronson is filming. Because it soon becomes very clear that the guy is after much more than just an Academy Award. And when the drama turns to danger for the boys and their family, that’s when Buckley and Bogey jump into the scene. Because this is one case that has it all — from Fourth of July festivities to tales of the American Revolution, and from a secret code to a hidden key! And unless Buckley and Bogey want to see this movie turn into a tragedy, it’ll be up to them to crack the case . . . as well as the secret code . . . Holy Mackerel!

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Cindy Vincent, M.A. Ed., was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper novels, and the Daisy Diamond Detective book series. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and starts planning and preparing for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display every year, sometime in the early Spring . . .

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1.  Two of my real life cats, Buckley and Bogey, were the inspiration for this book and for the series.  We had adopted Bogey from a local animal shelter when he was a kitten, and he joined our household of three much older female cats.  Of course, Bogey wanted to play 24/7, but the older girls had no intention of playing with him.  And Bogey, having come from a litter of five boys, liked to wrestle and roughhouse.  So it wasn’t long before we realized that Bogey needed a brother.  After a little searching for the right cat, we adopted Buckley from another animal rescue agency, and the two boys became best friends within five minutes of meeting each other.  They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Shortly after we brought them together, I noticed they explored our house every night in sort of a pattern, almost like security guards making their rounds.  My husband and I joked about them “running surveillance,” to make sure the place was secure.  That’s when the idea hit me — Buckley and Bogey Cat Detectives.

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Buckley & Bogart

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  Especially when I realized how very different the boys were.  While they’re both black cats with gold eyes, Bogey is sleek and wiry, whereas Buckley is huge and fluffy.  Bogey is laid back and fearless, and Buckley is anxious about pretty much everything.  Bogey is the expert and Buckley is the rookie.  Together their personalities play off each other beautifully, much like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Or Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe.  Only at a children’s level, and well, at a really adorable level, as both boys are such a joy, and happy to cuddle and purr at a moment’s notice.

2.  So many people have asked me about the exercise wheel that Buckley and Bogey use in a chase scene in the book, and if there might be a “real life” story behind it.  Well, the answer is yes, there is.  My husband once had a week off work and decided to build an exercise wheel for the cats.  He had visions of them running in it every day, getting lots of good exercise and having a great time.  And while he’s pretty good with woodworking, he’d never made a wheel before.  So he went to the lumber store, got supplies and then got to work.  Before long, I could see the outline of a nice wheel starting to take shape.

But getting the wheel to actually turn on a base was another ballgame.  Pretty soon this project required a daily trip to the store, (they actually know him by name now), and more and more adjustments and, well, more and more added materials.

Finally, in the end, we had a working wheel that turned on its base.  At least, it did for a few revolutions.  Unfortunately, the wheel was just slightly lopsided and one side was about a quarter of an inch longer than the other.  As it turns out, (no pun intended) in the world of cat exercise wheels, a quarter of an inch might as well have been five feet.  For when that wheel ran along its base, it quickly started to wobble and went rolling off and right onto the floor.  Every single time, no matter how much he tried to adjust it.  On top of that, with all the added materials, the whole thing weighed a ton — much more than any cat could ever manage to get started and keep rolling.  So . . . the wheel turned out to be a wonderful, thoughtful idea that never quite worked out.

Still, it gave me a fantastic idea for an addition to a Buckley and Bogey book.  So if nothing else, it served as the basis for some pretty funny scenes.  The wheel now sits on my side of the garage, just in front of the place where I park my car, and it rolls slowly back and forth, as though it has a mind of its own.  (This after trying to donate it to two different places that refused to take it . . .)  In any case, I’d rather be married to a man who attempts to do something nice for the feline members of the household, even if it didn’t quite go the way he planned.  The cats all know they have a wonderful dad, with or without a wheel.

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The Wise One

3.  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 this 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’re gone, I decided to write them into this fourth book and all subsequent books anyway.  Hence, it was bittersweet as I tearfully wrote their scenes and immortalized my two precious kitties within the pages of my books.

 4.  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.

5.  The fictitious Mom in the books, Abigail Abernathy, owns an antique store, which is an offshoot of my love of history and antiques.  My husband and I often spend time browsing through antique stores or flea markets.  The junkier the better.  There’s nothing like spotting that “one hidden treasure” is a sea of less interesting items.  I collect vintage glassware, including black amethyst glass and ultramarine swirl glass from 1937.

6.  I write on a desk that was made in the late 1930s or early 1940s.  It’s gorgeous.  Made of mahogany and with a glass top, it has curved legs and a curved cutout in the back.  I feel such a sense of mystery every time I write on it.

7.  When you read this book, you’ll note that much of the action takes place in a very old library.  I’ve always thought libraries were sort of magical places, especially those housed in old buildings.  And I decided to make the St. Gertrude library a four-story building, after a friend of mine told me how she and her sister would get dropped off at the library every Saturday when they were kids, while their mom went grocery shopping.  Apparently the fourth floor of that building was dark and full of musty old books.  It was the perfect place for a child’s imagination to run wild.  And of course, her story made my imagination run wild, too, so I decided to include something similar in my book.

buckley8.  Most of my cats nap in my home office while I write.  I usually have one on my lap, one in a chair and a few on the floor.  It makes for such a cozy atmosphere.  And Buckley, who is the narrator of the series, frequently sits on my desk.  Considering that 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 . . .

9.  Each one 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.

10.  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.

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“Okay, kid,” Bogey yelled.  “Step on it.  We’ve gotta catch up with the Count and Countess.”
So we did.  We ran faster and faster and rolled that huge wheel on down our street.  And we picked up some good speed, too.  Another car headed toward us and quickly pulled over to let us go by.  I caught a glimpse of the faces inside that car as we zoomed past.  All the people had wide eyes and open mouths. 
I guess they weren’t used to seeing cats running by in a gigantic wheel. 
Before long, we were coming to the end of our block. 
“Time to take another left, kid,” Bogey hollered.  “This one’s going to be a little tighter.  But we can do it.  Let’s hope there aren’t any cars in the intersection.”
I gulped.  I hadn’t even thought of that before.  But I figured now was probably not the time to start thinking about it.  Especially if it only scared me.  This just wasn’t the time to get scared.  So I just kept on moving and so did the wheel.
I saw the intersection in the very same second that I saw a big, red pickup truck and a mailman’s truck.  The truck was turning right and the mailman looked like he was going to go straight. 
“This is going to be tight,” Bogey hollered.
Holy Mackerel!  He had that right!  We had to work our way around the pickup before the mailman had a chance to go through the intersection.  And that big truck didn’t exactly leave us a lot of room to turn. 
“Okay, kid,” Bogey hollered.  “We’ve gotta be precise.  When I say lean, I want you to lean.”
“Got it!” I said as I kept on running. 
The pickup truck made his turn, and we barely missed sideswiping him by a few inches. 
“Now, kid!  Now!” Bogey yelled.  “Lean!”
So I leaned for all I was worth.  And that wheel made a really tight turn.  For a second there, I think we even went up on one rim. 
“Down, kid.  Lean back,” Bogey yelled frantically. 
I scooted over, and we missed the mail truck by inches.  I could even hear the mailman gasp right before he drove up on someone’s lawn. 
Finally, I could see a big, silver car about a quarter of a mile ahead of us.  “It’s them!” I yelled to my brother.  “I see them!  We’re gaining on them!”
And that’s when I accidentally leaned too far in the wrong direction.  Because all of a sudden, we zigzagged across to the wrong side of the street.
Right in front of a police car!
It was Officer Phoebe. 
She hit the brakes and stared at us with her mouth open.
“Turn back, kid!” Bogey practically screamed.  “Get us back on our side of the street!” 
I quickly leaned the other way and we zagged back to the other side.  But I overdid it on my leaning, and we zigzagged a few more times. 
Finally, I got us straightened out. 
“Put the coals to it, kid.  We can catch them!” Bogey yelled.
Now we heard people calling to us from the sidewalk.  We saw kids and grownups and even some grandparents.  Some were cheering and some were laughing.  A few people were even clapping for us.  
In the meantime, Officer Phoebe had turned around and was now following us.  She had her lights flashing and her siren screaming.
Suddenly I wished our wheel had come with a rearview mirror. 
“Bogey, I think she wants us to pull over,” I hollered to my brother.
“No can do, kid.  We’ve got to catch the Count and Countess!  Go faster!” Bogey insisted.
“Won’t we get arrested?” I asked.
Bogey picked up speed.  “Nope, kid.  We’re going to lead Officer Phoebe straight to the crooks.  Not only did they kidnap the Princess, but they broke out of jail, too.  There’s probably a reward out for them.”
“Okay, whatever you say!” I told him as I picked up speed alongside him. 
By now we were getting closer and closer to that silver car.  I could see the Princess in the back window.  Her big, green eyes went wide when she saw us.  I could see her mouth moving and I knew that she had started to meow.  I was pretty sure she was probably calling for us.
It made me even more determined to get to her!
But the Count was driving, and I saw him glance into his rearview mirror.  That’s when he stepped on the gas.  Because suddenly the car started to pull away from us.
“Faster!  Faster!” I yelled to my brother.  “We can’t lose them!”

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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March 14–Reading Is My SuperPower | Mochas, Mysteries and Meows
March 15–The Power of Words
March 16–Katie’s Clean Book Collection
March 17–Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance
March 18–Singing Librarian Books
March 19–Deal Sharing Aunt

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Carrie

2 Responses to “Book Spotlight (and a Giveaway!): The Case of the Clever Secret Code”

  1. Cindy Vincent

    Hello, Carrie, and thank you sooooo much for hosting us here today! Buckley and Bogey are sitting right here on my desk, and they send hugs your way. We appreciate you helping us to spread the word, and we absolutely LOVE the name of your blog. What a fantastic superpower to have!

    • Carrie

      Haha! Thank you! And thank Buckley & Bogey too 🙂