Murder of a Cranky Catnapper By Denise Swanson: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Sep 10, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we have a review of the latest mystery by Denise Swanson, Murder of a Cranky Capnapper. We also have a fun guest post from Denise about how she came up with the idea for this book. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Murder of a Cranky Catnapper, and a link to order it from Amazon, as well as a link to purchase it from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.

Murder of a Cranky Catnapper: A Scumble River Mystery by Denise Swanson
Review by Sandra Murphy

Skye and Wally got married and are now expecting their first child. Her job as school psychologist takes her from middle school to high school to work with special needs kids or those who have trouble adapting—like the kid who thinks he’s a dog or the one who reads obsessively.

As a new program, Skye has the local veterinarian bring in a therapy cat and dog. The initial meeting didn’t go as well as planned. One of the boys screamed about a wolf who would eat them all, and another took off down the hall like he was an Olympic sprinter. Skye ran after him and managed to crash into Palmer Lynch, one of the school board members. book

Palmer is not a nice guy. He thinks a lot of himself, very little of women, and feels his wishes should be carried out without question. He says it’s dangerous to have animals in the school so Skye should give up the program—just like that. Skye and the principal disagree. Since Skye’s Uncle Charlie is school board president and Palmer’s running against him, things could get sticky.

A sudden burst of crime hits the town when the therapy cat is stolen, the American Legion Hall broken into, and Palmer is found dead in his home—naked on the bed and tied to the bed posts. Well, that will set tongues wagging!

Dorothy found the body when she went to clean Palmer’s House. Since she’s a friend of Palmer’s mother, she doesn’t think he should be found like that and calls Skye for help since Wally is the Chief of Police. Skye feels like she’s got a bit of a vested interest in finding out who killed Palmer. After all, some might suspect Dorothy, her Uncle Charlie, or Palmer’s latest date, Virginia, a teacher at the school. There are rumors of a bondage club in town, but the membership roster is a tightly guarded secret.

The Doozier family needs to be questioned because Earl’s car was seen at the American Legion Hall after closing and on the very night it was broken into. That’s not Earl’s usual style, but there is a goodly amount of cash on hand that might be tempting. Add in that Yolanda Doozier is visiting with her fiancé who drives a Porche (it was run over by Earl’s Doozier Dozer) and things really get interesting.

A ransom call came about the kidnapped cat—for 500 bottles of ketamine aka Special K, the vet could have his cat back. That’s a huge amount and more than a vet can legitimately order.

This is the nineteenth book in the Scumble River Mystery series. Skye and Wally make a cute couple, the baby will add all kinds of complications with May, Skye’s mother, a grandmother-wanna-be and Skye’s job. The Doozier family is always good for a laugh as they skate past the law with the narrowest of margins. With so many suspects, the mystery remains strong as well.

Denise Swanson also writes the Devereaux Dime Store mysteries (5 books), equally entertaining.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble and a Kindle. You can find several of Sandra’s short stories at Untreed Reads including her newest, “Arthur,” included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now. Look for Denali, in the anthology Dogs and Dragons.

How I Nearly Got Fired
By Denise Swanson

In my twenty-two years as a school psychologist, I worked for several school districts as part a special education cooperative and was often frustrated by their board policies. In the beginning, it was because the principals wanted me to use only part of my skill set—psychological testing. As I convinced more and more school administrators to allow me to also consult and counsel, the frustration was due to their unwillingness to let me try innovative methods.

Several years ago, I was working with a group of socially awkward third and fourth grade boys (much like my sleuth Skye in Murder of a Cranky Catnapper)when I read about pet therapy. The article claimed that pet therapy could help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, increase self-esteem, and improve social skills. Perfect for my little guys.


Denise’s cat Boomer

I did a little research and found someone in the area who was trained in the technique and was willing to provide twelve free sessions. I cleared it with the elementary school principal, the boys’ parents, and the school’s insurance carrier. (Again, much like Skye in Murder of a Cranky Catnapper)

Unfortunately, before the first session, the school board president heard about my plan and nixed the idea. I tried in vain to change his mind, but he hated animals and was never going to allow me to bring, and I quote, “the dirty beasts,” into ‘his’ school.

I was ranting to one of my colleagues about this guy, when she said, “You better hope the school board president doesn’t turn up dead because if he does and his death is at all suspicious, you’d be the prime suspect.”

When I started plotting my nineteenth Scumble River book, her words from so long ago bounced into my head and Murder of a Cranky Catnapper was born.

To enter to win a copy of Murder of a Cranky Catnapper, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “catnapper,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 17, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:


  1. Interesting combination in the story.

  2. Sounds like a great read. Like the animals featured in the storyline.

  3. I’ve heard of kids reading to dogs at libraries! Dogs and small horses go to children’s hospitals. Your idea is awesome at schools!

  4. Denise’s books are the BEST!!!

  5. I am not an animal person, but I read about therapy animals, and actually knew a ladies who had therapy dogs that went to nursing homes, and other places. I won’t discount the help that therapy animals can provide.
    If you had everyone’s permission to use the animals, I wouldn’t have thought the board president should have been able to stop you. But, that’s just sometimes the way it goes.
    Glad you can find inspiration for your stories through things like this.

    donna (dot) durnell (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

  6. Love animals and love the fact that they can indeed help people in all sorts of ways. Sounds like a must read to me!

  7. Wow I love it that you are introducing all of these cozies they sound so good and can’t see anyone who wouldn’t like them as they are funny and written so well. Would love to read and review on a few places.

  8. I love this series and all its wonderfully wacky characters. You really introduced us to a new era in what can help kids get thru the trials of getting thru school. Thanks for a really wonderful & special series.

  9. adding to my TBR.

  10. new to me series. Love her Dime Store Mysteries.

  11. Denise,
    I am surprised you didn’t write this earlier in the series! Do you think it is more widely used now?

    Karen 94066 At aol dot com

  12. We have a winner!


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