Daphne's introspective basset hound sidekick is normally unflappable. But even Socrates has trouble accepting the fact that a surly show cat is about to come home to Plum Cottage...

                                                                                                             Chapter 11 - Excerpt

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"Let's go," i said, because Socrates wasn't moving. He sat with his back to me, but he turned his head so he could give me, and the cat carrier, a dubious look.

Tinkleston seemed to understand that he'd been insulted. He made a low growling sound. I'd never heard a cat do that before.

"That's enough, you two," I said. "Let's all try to get along."

Socrates reluctantly rose and joined me and Budgely's Sir Peridot. But he gave the carrier a wide berth. 

I couldn't blame him. A little paw kept poking out of the side air holes, patting at my jeans. Every few swipes, Tinks's tiny claws pierced the fabric.

"Ouch," I complained, setting the crate on Flynt Mansion's kitchen floor. Then I began to search for a pen and paper, so I could leave the promised contact information for Elyse. That was when I noticed the can of cat food on the counter - and the chart that listed all of the supplements Tinks was supposed to take, hanging on the fridge.

Hesitating, I pulled the paper from under the magnet, thinking I should at least try to make sure Tinks got his vitamins, although the regimen looked pretty expensive.

"Hopefully, Piper will tell me most of this stuff isn't necessary," I told Socrates. "Don't you think a natural diet is usually sufficient?"

Socrates snuffled agreement. Still, I folded the paper and tucked it into my back pocket. Then I grabbed the can of Tinks's special food, too, before bending to pick up the carrier and leading the way to the foyer.

Just as I opened the front door, I heard the sound of vehicles pulling up outside and car doors opening and closing, loudly and decisively.

I couldn't ever recall Dylan Taggart slamming a door, and I stepped out onto the porch to discover that a black and white squad car and a plain, dark sedan were parked behind my van, my mother's SUV, and a sleek, pewter BMW that obviously belonged to Elyse.

Opening my mouth, I started to greet Jonathan Black, who strode toward the mansion with Detective Doebler and some uniformed officers trailing in his wake.

But before I could even say hi, Jonathan asked, with ill-concealed frustration, "What in the world compelled so many people to visit the scene of a homicide?"