The Cat in the Hamper
First Novel in the Sam Sunday Mystery
Sam Sunday, a recent paraplegic, needs an in-home nurse AGAIN. He’s never been able to keep one long, the previous nurse lasted only four days due to Sam’s grumpy attitude.
Reginald Lowes needs this nursing job desperately, but no one wants to hire a nurse with tattoos and a mohawk. He knows Mr. Sunday is the only one who can keep him from being homeless, all because he was able to beat Sam Sunday at a chess game. Much to the man’s surprise.
Sam’s cat, JB is “catnapped” by his neighbor – Ivy Coleman, known as Poison Ivy, as a result of her constant calls to the HOA reporting her neighbors. The unlikely pair discover her body and Reggie comes to the attention of the police, prejudiced by his tough exterior.
Sam is forced to solve the crime when Reggie Lowes is accused because of his looks. He is determined no one is getting rid of his nurse until he beats the man at chess.
An unlikely pair…
a grumpy, puzzle-playing paraplegic and his mohawk sporting, tattoo-covered nurse.
Want to read the first chapter of The Cat in the Hamper?
Read Below to find out how Sam became a paraplegic:
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Sam wasn’t sure if it was the constant mechanical noises or the low murmur of whispering that woke him. He just knew he was awake but couldn’t move a muscle. Where am I and why am I unable to lift my arms or legs?
“Doctor Everett to the OR. Doctor Everett to the OR.”
I’m in the hospital, but why? Trying to open his eyes was impossible. Struggling but unable to move, he focused on the last thing he remembered. Sophie! Sophie and I were on the way to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Where’s my wife?
“When will the doctors say he will wake up?”
Sam recognized the voice of his niece, Jill. He stilled his mind as he listened to the muted conversation that possibly had woken him up.
“It could be anytime. The doctor said surgery went well, but it’s going to be a long recovery.”
That’s my sister, Jessica, the know it all. It must be bad if both she and her daughter are here. I must have been out for a long time, because Jill lives up north.
“He’s paralyzed from the waist down and will have to learn how to do everything differently now.”
I don’t care about me, what about Sophie? What about my wife?
“The rest of the family will be here in a few days. Flights with the storms we’ve been having are making it difficult for the ones out west and up north to get here,” Jessica said. “If they had left when I said, they would be here already like you.”
Jill muttered something Sam couldn’t hear and then said a bit louder, “We’ll have to make plans about how to move him around. I don’t think anyone will want him to stay with them for too long.”
Jessica sighed. “Yes, but he won’t be able to travel to any other family members until all of the surgeries and rehab have been completed. That will be more than six months. Once he’s able to leave the hospital, he can live in the mother-in-law suite at my home. We’ll hire a nurse; I’m not waiting on him hand and foot.”
Stop talking about me and tell me about my wife!
“You know, Mom, Uncle Daniel won’t be able to have him stay in Colorado because he lives in that little house provided by the college, professor housing.”
“Well then, he’ll have to figure something out.” Jessica sniffed. “We will all have to share this burden. It’s the Christian thing to do. Thank God we’ve got a big family to shuffle him around. I plan on making it clear to the rest of the family they will have to share the burden of Sam’s disability. He’s not living with me the rest of his life.”
Jill slammed a book closed. “You just had to promise.”
“I had to,” Jessica snapped. “She looked at me with those big green eyes filled with tears and I was undone. No one could ever say no to Sophie Sunday. She was a sweet woman.” Sniffles, it was a moment before she continued. “I’ll never know why she married my baby brother. They were complete opposites. Sophie was bright, sunny, sweet, and loving, while Sam is just, he’s…”
“You mean an old grump!”
Sam felt tears welling up in his eyes.
“He’s only been fifty for about two months. As the baby in the family, he was a big surprise for all of us. He was spoiled quite a bit; I mean I was eighteen and thinking about marrying your father when he was born. Samson wasn’t planned, but he’s not really old.”
“Just a mean grump then?”
The two women were quiet and Sam was afraid what they would say next. Not about him, but Sophie. He had a bad feeling.
“Will Sam be able to attend Sophie’s funeral?”
“I don’t know.” Jessica sniffled. “It depends on what the doctor says, but we can’t delay it forever.”
Sam shut out the rest of their conversation. He had heard all he needed to know. Sophie’s gone. Dead. Sitting up in Heaven, talking to Jesus while I’m done here, apparently paralyzed for the rest of my life.
Tears flowed down his cheeks. I didn’t even get to say goodbye, Lord. Why Sophie? What will I do without my other half? Why did you let me live and take her? It should have been me! I was the one who insisted we go out to eat. She wanted to stay home and cook a nice dinner, but NO, I wanted to go out. Spend an evening looking at her in candlelight, holding her in my arms as we danced to soft music.
He didn’t notice when a nurse came in and upped his pain meds, sending him into a deep slumber. She saw the tears on his cheeks and assumed he was in physical pain. His last thoughts before drifting off were filled with him picturing his lovely wife and knowing he’d never see her smile at him again.