Let's Talk with Diane A.S. Stuckart

Taking the (Virtual) Bait

November 10, 2022

Okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker for click bait. You know, those internet articles with clever headlines meant to lure you into scrolling through pages of ads in search of compelling content. A flight attendant spills her top ten best travel tips? You bet I’ll read that. A frequent park-goer lists the dozen most exciting rides at Universal Studios, and the three attractions to avoid? Yep, clicking. Twenty-five facts you never knew about The Brady Bunch? There goes fifteen minutes I’ll never get back.

Given my penchant for these stories, I thought it would be fun to put together my own list on a subject dear to my heart. And so, here are The Top 10 Traits of a Winning Cat Cozy Mystery. Even better, this list was compiled with the help of some clever readers who offered their suggestions via my www.facebook.com/blackcatmysteries page (see, I even managed to sneak in an ad!).

1. The mystery must actually include a feline in the storyline, not just sport a cute cat on the book’s front cover.
2. The cat should help in solving the crime, either intentionally or inadvertently. (Thanks to Colleen O.!) He or she must be active throughout the story, drawing the human sleuth’s attention to clues or to unsavory characters.
3. The sleuthing cat should behave like a typical feline–leaping, purring, meowing, sleeping–rather than act like a miniature human in furry pants.
4. The cat has at least one distinguishing characteristic, be it a quirky name, an unusual coat color or marking, or an interesting behavior…or all three.
5. Our detective cat is loved and cared for and never in any real danger. (Thank you, Robyn K.!) Though to keep things suspenseful the reader should worry at some point that our kitty could be in jeopardy.
6. Optionally, the cat can talk, but only to other felines, canines, etc. No speaking to humans (there’s pushing boundaries, and then there is shoving said boundaries right off the cliff!).
7. C’mon, that tuna can won’t open itself. To keep it real, the cat’s human caretaker should occasionally be seen feeding the kitty, changing the kitty’s litter box, and snuggling the kitty.
8. Of course, the cat detective is equal or superior to the surrounding humans when it comes to intelligence (courtesy of Diana T.).
9. When the human sleuth gets into trouble at a critical point in the story, the cat detective comes to the rescue.
10. And, finally, remember that Hamlet, Brandon, and Ophelia are some of the best feline sleuths out there (at least in the opinion of reader Andrea B.).

So, do you ever get drawn in by click bait, or can you scroll right by those enticing headlines? Comment below with your thoughts on internet lists or cat cozy mysteries, and you will be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of FOOL’s MOON featuring my sleuthing felines Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia.

While you’re here, check out our monthly contest. The giveaway runs from Nov 1-18. The winner selects one book from the November Book Vault Graphic. Print books are available only to those with US mailing addresses. Prizes must be claimed within a week. ENTER HERE.

Want to know more about author Diane A.S. Stuckart? Visit her website.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Diane A.S. Stuckart • Tags: , , |  18 Comments


18 thoughts on “Taking the (Virtual) Bait

  1. I’ve only written one cat mystery and it’s a short story. Otherwise, my sleuth has two dogs. They do not serve the same role as a cat detective. Regarding Internet bait, I’ll click on Facebook ads if one appeals to me. Then I can get lost down the rabbit hole. This reminds me of the one I’d seen recently for a kitchen tool that helps open pop top lids. I need to order it if can find the site again.

  2. I love your cat sleuths and am also quite fond of Carolyn Haines’ Trouble, a cat who thinks he’s the Benedict Cumberbatch version of Sherlock Holmes. I like to have cats and dogs in my mysteries. Pets are important in life and fiction!

  3. It’s not often that I click to read those Internet posts. If the link is to a reputable source, maybe. Otherwise, not likely. I’ve only written one short story with a cat in it, and the cat was not a detective, but a lead.

  4. Obviously, RahRah, Sarah Blair’s Siamese cat, plays a big part in my Sarah Blair mysteries from Kensington. Like Terry, I’m careful what I click on, but I can easily be led into anything talking about old TV shows, actors, and other forms of entertainment gossip.

  5. I love stories with cat sleuths in them. I think they add a little extra something to the story. Reading about their antics always make me smile and want to hug our family cat who probably thinks I am crazy.

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