13 Claws: A Sample Bite of Stories, Part 3


Mesdames Lisa de Nikolits and Cathy Dunphy are thrilled to be appearing at Life in the Beach, the Authors’ Dinner, next Thursday, Sept 28th, 6 pm at the Balmy Beach Club, along with Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks mystery series, and Mike Downie, documentary film maker and co-founder of the Chanie Wenjack Fund.

Mike worked with his brother Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip to bring Chanie’s story to life in the film, Secret Path. Both are committed to improving the lives of native Canadians.

The dinner will benefit St. Aidan’s Anglican Church, Queen and Silverbirch. Tickets are $75 and must be purchased in advance from the church office at 416-691-2222 or email staidan@eol.ca.



Our upcoming anthology, 13 Claws, is now available on Amazon! Join us for the official launch on Saturday, October 28th, 2 to 4 pm at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street.

And enjoy these extracts from authors in 13 Claws.

Animal Crackers by Catherine Dunphy

Catherine Dunphy is a veteran journalist, biographer, YA author and more recently a writer of short crime fiction centred on spirited research librarian, Winona. In “Animal Crackers”, Winona tries to help a homeless man and stumbles onto a crime…

Winona marched over to the corner table where she knew the men from the hostel would be, dozing behind their book wall. She was in luck. The man with the blue gaze from last week was back. He looked up from the Carl Sagan book he was reading as she thrust the package at him. “For Johnny.” Of course she remembered the old man’s name.

He closed his book, but not before inserting once of the library’s bookmarks to hold his spot – Winona couldn’t help but be impressed. He opened the package; his features hardened when he saw the cookies.

“You have no idea what you are doing, do you?”

Winona rocked back on her heels.

“These are the ones he wanted.” She jabbed at the package. Damn it! First Jason, now him.

He stood up and leaned towards Winona. “Forget he ever told you about this, you hear me?” He stared right into her eyes, frightening her. “Forget you ever saw him. And get rid of those.”



The Ranchero’s Daughter by Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Sylvia Warsh is a critically acclaimed literary and crime fiction writer, winner of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Paperback Novel. Her characters are often outsiders fighting trauma by seeking resolution in the present. In “The Ranchero’s Daughter”, a small dog holds the key to a family mystery rooted in madness.

This was not my father talking! He had never demeaned himself with gossip.

“The girl was a beauty, but completely mad. One never knew what to expect from her. She whirled around when there was no music. She talked to the horses and cows, and claimed they talked back. She would scream for no reason, as if someone were killing her. They could not keep maids because the girl would curse them and prick them with a fork, threatening to eat them.”

My brilliant father was disappearing. In his debilitated state, his low raspy voice arrived slowly, between halts.

“Such a beautiful girl, with long black hair and dark green eyes like a forest. The only creature she truly loved was her Chihuahua , Conchita, a demanding little dog who ate the shredded beef out of the girl’s tortillas. She had the seamstress sew a special pocket in all her skirts so she could carry the dog around, its ugly little head poking out.”

With effort, my father sat up and glanced at the Chihuahua lying at my feet. Luz lifted her fawn-colored  head, alert. “Your dog could be her sister, they’re so much alike.”


Rosemary McCracken

Homebodies by Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken’s novels and short fiction have been short-listed for several awards including the Derringer and the Debut Dagger. She is the creator of the popular Pat Tierney series. In “Homebodies”, Rosemary shows her humorous side: a retired teacher’s quiet life goes off track when a stray cat enters his life.

“This cat is not a good idea.”

“Nonsense, Henry. You think you don’t like cats, but you’ll come to love this one. I promise.”

Ellie always got her way. She’d got her way ever since we’d married 35 years before, and I had no idea how to change tack at this point.

She’d spent three decades teaching high school English, so when the cat discovered the Juliet balcony off our main-floor family room, she named him Romeo. But she soon admitted that was a misnomer. Not only had this cat been fixed, but he was a house cat. Other than demanding to be let out on the balcony now and then, he showed no inclination to go outdoors. “Should’ve called him Henry after you,” she said, patting my paunch. “Henry I and Henry II, my two homebodies.”

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