Shades of Familiar
by Caroline Burnes

Familiar, the intelligent black sleuthing cat is still far away from his Washington home, this time in Scotland, while his political activist owners make what seems to the cat to be unseemly haste, to succor a friend in need of help. Whatever the sleuthing cat was expecting, it probably wasn’t a castle with a damsel in distress!

Mary Muir is the fiancé of William MacEachern, laird of the castle, and a distant relative of Familiar’s owner Eleanor. He’s also descended from the fierce and fiery Slator MacEachern, master of horse and sword and scourge of the countryside. Mary and William have come to the castle to plan their wedding with the help of Sophie Emerson, Mary’s best friend. It should be a happy time, but there’s a darkness setting in and it is affecting all who are involved with the family and the castle.

William has become very strange, suddenly, given to ill temper and loutish manners. He’s taken to lonely midnight rides, coming home exhausted with no memory of where he has been or what he has done. The highly superstitious townsfolk as well as some of the castle servants, start whispering about the old warlord Slator MacEachern, and swear he is terrorizing the night. Since William’s strangeness seems to be linked to this, everyone begins to think the castle is haunted and so is William!!! Old flames, ambitious servants and odd neighbors only add to the mystery, and even Sophie’s behavior becomes odd and unusual. The only one able to help seems to be Familiar, and his feline sleuthing and snooping soon turn up more than just a ghastly old ghost story. Familiar and Mary must use all their wits to prove that William is not possessed, and happily ever after will happen.

SJ Wolfe

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