...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Straight from the Parrot’s Mouth

by Lois Winston

Greetings! My name is Ralph. I’m an African Grey parrot, the most intelligent of the species. Anastasia Pollack’s great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle willed me to Anastasia. Penelope was a professor of Shakespearian literature, and I’d regularly accompany her to class. After decades of sitting in on her lectures, I became somewhat of a Bard scholar myself.

I’m also the only pet that truly belongs in the Pollack home. The other two are deadbeat interlopers. Catherine the Great is a corpulent white Persian cat owned by Anastasia’s mother, Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe Tuttnauer. Flora claims to descend from Russian nobility on her mother’s side and is a proud Daughter of the American Revolution.

Unfortunately, Flora has had some rather rotten luck when it comes to husbands. Aside from her first husband, Anastasia’s father, who drowned while scuba diving off the Yucatan on their twenty-fifth anniversary, all of Flora’s subsequent husbands have met with untimely deaths shortly after the weddings. When Flora is between husbands, she and her nasty fur ball move in with Anastasia and her family. Luckily, Flora’s latest husband survived the honeymoon, and she and fur ball now live elsewhere. I’m keeping my beak crossed for a long, happy marriage.  

Then there’s Mephisto the Devil Dog. His real name is Manifesto, but who names a French bulldog after a communist treatise? Only Anastasia’s communist mother-in-law, that’s who! Unfortunately, we’re stuck with him and his Bolshevik owner because, quite frankly, Lucille Pollack is an idiot. Last year an SUV ran her down as she jaywalked across a busy intersection. While recovering in the hospital, her apartment building burnt to the ground. Since she doesn’t trust the government and by extension, the banking system, she kept her life savings in shoeboxes under her bed.

After a stint in rehab, she and her mutt moved in with Anastasia and her family to finish her recovery. Anastasia’s husband had promised to foot the bill for a new apartment for his mother, but then he dropped dead in Las Vegas when Anastasia thought he was at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, PA. And that wasn’t the worst of it. Seems Karl Marx Pollack had a hidden gambling problem that left Anastasia not only with debt equal to the GNP of Uzbekistan but also with Lucille and Mephisto.

Anyway, Mephisto and Catherine the Great get along as well as capitalists and communists—or Flora and Lucille. In other words, they fight like cats and dogs, as does Flora and Lucille. I usually sit atop the bookcase and offer play-by-play. Chaos usually rules in Casa Pollack.

And then there are the dead bodies. Did I mention the dead bodies? They’re popping up all over the neighborhood lately.

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 5

The adventures of reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack continue in A Stitch to Die For, the 5th book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Lois Winston.

Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.

Buy Links

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Tsu at www.tsu.co/loiswinston, on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/anasleuth, and onTwitter @anasleuth. Sign up here for hernewsletter


  1. Who knew that Ralph was such a gifted columnist? (smile!)

  2. Ralph is a parrot of many talents, Angela. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. It was fun hearing from Ralph. Funny bird!

  4. Thanks, Stanalei! Glad you could stop by.

  5. I love it! Anastasia and her crew are such great fun!

  6. Nice to meet Ralph and get his "bird's eye view" on the family of pets in the Pollack menagerie!

  7. Thanks, Libby! They're happy to meet you, too!

  8. Fun post! I have an Anastasia book in my pile to read. May have to move it up the line!