Comments about the writing of FlabberGassed.
Copyright © 2018 by Michael Craft.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.
This is a work of fiction. The characters in this story come from the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Design and typography: M.C. Johnson
Library of Congress (parachute)
Adobe Stock (cat)
Library of Congress
Craft, Michael, 1950–
FlabberGassed / Michael Craft
ISBN: 9780692136119 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780692135990 (paperback)
ASIN: B07DP837VG (Kindle)
First Questover Press hardcover and paperback editions: September 2018
WHILE FlabberGassed represents an entirely new direction for my writing (a book-length cat mystery), it also marks a return to the genre for which I have been best known in the past (gay mysteries). FlabberGassed: A Mister Puss Mystery is intended as the first installment in a new series that brings together several aspects of my prior novels that longtime readers will probably recognize.
For example, my first Mark Manning mystery, Flight Dreams (1997), prominently featured Abyssinian cats, a breed I know and love. Further, the fictitious setting of small-town Dumont was developed throughout the last five volumes of the Mark Manning series and then figured centrally in my short-story collection, Inside Dumont (2016), long after Manning had left town. Inside Dumont also introduced the character of Brody Norris, a gay architect with a clever knack for problem-solving.
The idea for a mystery series based on the whimsical premise of a talking cat started to develop for me after I published a prize-winning short story, “Mister Puss,” in 2017. Encouraged by reader feedback, I decided to feature the chatty feline as a quirky supporting character in a new series with a distinctive subtitle bearing the cat’s name instead of the sleuth’s. The original short story—revised and condensed—now stands at the beginning of FlabberGassed as something of a prologue.
As to Mister Puss himself, there’s a lingering question throughout the book: Does the cat really talk? I have tried to leave the answer open-ended. Realistically, we know the cat is not capable of human speech, but he does seem to communicate—through his purr, somehow—first to Mary Questman and eventually to our sleuth and narrator, Brody Norris. Ultimately, then, it’s left to each reader to decide how much “suspension of disbelief” can be allowed.
But here’s a clue: the story is more fun if you just go with it. I hope you’ll enjoy reading FlabberGassed as much as I enjoyed writing it.