12.19.2006

HH Com 173

For grad-student Lucy Campeon, being a Cat-Nanny to Beaker, the beloved pet of the rich and dying Mrs Handine, was the ideal job to augment her bank account, solve her housing problem and preserve her dignity. So what if she had to resort to deception to get it?

When the old lady dies, she leaves her extensive fortune to Beaker, including permanent employment for the staff, for the rest of the cat's natural life. This is a boon to the household staff as their jobs are the only source of income for their impoverished families.

Beaker's inheritance upsets Mrs Handine's relatives, who felt the money should have gone to them. Believing they will inherit the fortune with the cat out of the way, they kill Beaker.
Lucy and Doctor Andrew, Beaker's private veterinarian, try to prove Beaker was murdered, but they can't. Without proof of murder, the relatives will indeed inherit, and the whole staff will lose their livelihoods.

Their new solution: replace Beaker with another cat and hope the lawyers don't notice.

So the lines of battle are set, with the relatives trying to prove deception or death (even if it means they have to kill five successive "Beakers" to do it) and Lucy and Doctor Andrew trying desperately to make it seem Beaker is alive (replacing Beaker with a new cat each time one is killed).

Will this save everyone's jobs and thwart the greedy relatives or will their deception be discovered?


Ok, this is hysterical and I'd probably read it but it's not a very good hook.

You need to be concise: Lucy Campean has a job as long as Beaker, cat heir to millions, stays alive. The next in line kin have no cat killing scruples. When they succeed, Lucy and the rest of the staff hit upon the perfect solution: another Beaker.

That's very rough and spur of the moment, but you get the idea.

I'm indulging Killer Yapp in asking for pages. He loves Ding Dong the Wicked Cat is dead story lines...even if the cat isn't wicked at all.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

It looks like a fun read ... but why don't they just challenge the will? I didn't think you could leave money to an animal, though I guess it could be left to a trust set up for Beaker's care.

Zany Mom said...

A necropsy of the cat at the state university lab would be in order to determine cause of death. Most vets aren't pathology experts. FWIW

Katie said...

I like this. And I never like the books where the cat dies! As long as it's a quick and painless death.

Waylander said...

This sounds like it could be a load of fun if done well

wavybrains said...

I love this one. And yes, you can set up a trust for an animal. This sounds like loads of fun.

Don said...

There's a YA novel, Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham (1968), which tells this story from the reverse perspective. After the cat dies the money goes to the local Boy's club. The kids have to prove that the cat has been replaced with a lookalike. It was a fun book, although

eleora said...

I'd love to read this :)
Good luck with it!

Michele said...

Hee hee. This looks like fun! Looking forward to seeing the pages.

Hypergraphia said...

This is just great, IMHO! I didn't particularly care for the line "Lucy and Doctor Andrew, Beaker's private veterinarian, try to prove Beaker was murdered, but they can't." because it left me feeling like...well, "that's that." Perhaps just delve right into the look alike cats part. Hey, there's always cloning...but I think you have a winner without getting into SF. Can't wait for your finished product! Good Luck!

Dave said...

I must admit, this is one a few hooks that made me smile and laugh.

amy said...

Potentially clever and fun story, but a major caution: Dead cat stories (and dead dog stories) piss off readers. I assume the pet lovers are your target audience? So you'll need some fancy paw-steps to make this work while retaining your readership.

Alex Adams said...

I'd read this one! It sounds like fun.

Writerious said...

There appears to be a vile creature known as a cat poisoner in our neighborhood, so the folks around here would be a bit tetchy about the topic of this novel.

It wouldn't be too hard to determine cause of death of a pet. If people want to kill a cat, the usual method is poison. Lots of pets get poisoned by antifreeze, slug bait, or moth balls. It's pretty easy for a vet to diagnose poisoning by any of these methods, and it could be made to look like an accident.

When there's that much at stake, I'm sure there'd be a thorough necropsy to determine actual cause of death.

BernardL said...

I'm sorry, but this is Garfield II, the movie. All it needs is Odie. :)

Anonymous said...

This seems like it would be very funny if done well. good idea!

Virginia Miss said...

I wondered: Even if Lucy proves the relatives murdered Beaker, would that stop them from inheriting?

Could be cute. Good luck.

McKoala said...

The story sings through the hook in this one. I'm hooked.

Twill said...

Sounds hilarious. Just make sure that every kitty gets a more outrageous death...

A Paperback Writer said...

It would be even funnier if each cat were also troublesome in a different way. What if one of the Beaker kitties wanders off somewhere? What if one attacks a staff member?
Just a thought.

HawkOwl said...

Is this sub-YA age? Because it sounds funny, but it sounds maybe 80-pages funny, not full-lenth adult novel funny.

Anonymous said...

I would never, ever read a book about cat-killing, just as some people would never read a book about killing little doggies. Not fun, not funny. To people who find humor in killing cats, I recommend substituting the word "baby" and see how amusing you find it.

No Way said...

I would never read a book where an animal is killed. I don't care how it's done: it's not funny.

Anonymous said...

While this is well-written and sounds amusing, I have to wonder, can you "murder" a cat? I would have serious trouble suspending disbelief, since I would wonder why the family members didn't simply contest the will and whether it would even matter if they did kill the cat(s) with malicious intent as far as inheritance goes. If the animal was killed humanely, would the family members get in any trouble?

colin said...

I read the one line "...even if she has to resort to decapitation to do it..." which was even funnier.

I would pay money for this book, assuming I had any.

colin said...

I forgot to mention I'm a cat lover and I would still like to read this book. It would be nice if there was a subplot about the cats getting revenge somehow but that would just confuse the issue...actually forget I said anything. But not all cat-lovers would find this offensive, unlike "anonymous". You could pick a more neutral animal like a weasel, or a ferret, or a wolverine. No-one likes wolverines (except, one presumes, other wolverines, and then only during mating season).

Anonymous said...

The way I read it, proving cause of death is a non-issue. This is a stand-off, a game of chicken. Both sides know what the other side is doing, but their own self-interests preclude bringing in authorities. That's where half the humor comes in, imho.

The staff needs to maintain the illusion that the cat is alive. Proving the cat was murdered would defeat that purpose. If they prove the cat was murdered by the family, well, bully for them, but...they're still out of a job. By the same token, the family has to keep knocking off the replacement cats because blowing the whistle would be a tip off to their involvement. They'd be blowing the whistle on themselves.

I can see this working as long as the writer sets up the family as having been sufficiently distant to the first heir cat. Not being familiar with the real deal, they have no basis to register a challenge to the cat's identity other than their own guilty knowledge.

As an aside, I note that, of 173 entries, with bodies piling up left and right, this is the first time anyone cries foul about the victim. Knocking off a cat in comic caper is off-limits, but people are fair game. I know them's the rules, but...I'd wager that if the heir had been an old guy named Bernie, we'd not hear a peep. Just amuses me, is all.

Anonymous said...

A hook is such a brief moment to share the impact of an entire novel.

Details like the cat being severely allergic to something, and dying of anaphylactic shock and the the will stipulating the relatives can't inherit if it is proven the cat was killed by foul means just can't be included in 250 words.

That's what the synopsis, and eventually, the book, is for.

I haven't seen Garfield II.

Anonymous said...

My dogs are drooling over this one. Inventive ways to off the cats is the key. I like a dead cat as much as the next guy, but I don't want them to suffer. ;)

Ski said...

Good Stuff! And, Good Luck to you.

Rgds...........Ski

michaelgav said...

I think the anon commenter who pointed out the discrepancy between what must be 289 dead people by now, not to mention 198 dead creatures of non-human origin, and not a word of protest, but several up-in-arms folks protesting a cat-killing in a comic novel is onto something.

What we need is a novel in which cat lovers are bumped off.

You want to take that one, or should I?