Scottish author’s first novel could be the next Netflix film or series
The number of first time authors that go on to become superstar authors is not high, but B C Harris might just become one of these elite few. ‘Conspiracy of Cats’ is well worth a read and must surely be destined to become a best-seller.
Edinburgh-born Bev C Harris’ first novel was written during lockdown in 2020 at her home in rural France. It was a cathartic (excuse the pun) exercise for her as the pandemic made her feel increasingly isolated and homesick for her friends and family in the UK.
The story is one that Bev had had going around in her imaginative head for a while and one that she had told her husband about years before. A supernatural, murder mystery set in the heat and intense sunshine of the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania with forays back and forth to wet and windy Edinburgh. Less than three months after starting to write this gripping tale, the first draft of the novel was finished and, in August 2021, it was published by Olympia Publishers of London.
Bev and her husband, Ian, have now left France and have relocated to the Mull of Kintyre. She is thrilled to have had her first novel published and plans plenty of book signings locally and further afield around Scotland.
This may well be Bev’s first ever published book, but it is certainly not going to be her last. Originally, describing herself as a reader rather than a writer, she now confesses that she is a committed writer and hopes to keep on writing until she’s not able to write any more!
So, without letting the cat out of the bag, ‘Conspiracy of Cats’ features plenty of colourful characters, diverse landscapes and spooky goings-on. A roller-coaster ride of emotions spill out in every chapter from death and loss, love and happiness, tragedy and comedy, jealousy and spite, laughter and tears and, of course, murder and revenge, all mixed up with a dash of supernatural, spells and Maasai magic.
The story could not be played out in Africa or be called ‘Conspiracy of Cats’ if it didn’t feature a pride of well-muscled, wild, ferocious big cats, but the reader is also treated to the adorable fluffy, feline variety – the lap cats living with widowed Jude in Edinburgh and named after infamous dictators. Maybe that was the way Jude saw them – dictating their needs and wishes to their owner and expecting her to do their bidding. But they are very much mistaken – Elena (Ceausescu), little Eva (Péron), Imelda (Marcos), Benito (Mussolini) and Fat Cat Gus (Augusto Pinochet) – all had their own individual characters and traits, but with each one of them playing an important and catastrophic part in the story.
The passionate language used to describe the breadth of raw emotions in each of the characters draws the reader further into the story and you can really believe that you are sitting with Jude in her late Victorian stone-built, detached villa in an exclusive and leafy district of Edinburgh’s south side or taking in the sights and sounds of Africa with Jos as she cat naps on the bench in the kitchen garden of the pearlescent white-walled White House in Tanzania.
This easy-read story is carefully plotted and bounces between countries and time frames with always the knowledge that there is an underlying secret – a secret that needs to be revealed.
The story is a delight from beginning to end – except for one memorable skirmish, which is certainly anything but a delight! The reader will know exactly when they get to that particular incident, as it leaves an indelible memory of cruelty and death described in dreadful, distressing detail. Having said that, the story cannot be defined by this one heart-rending and heart-breaking episode, because it is pivotal to the plot and all will become clear in the end. They do say that there is more than one way to skin a cat but, in this story, there is only the one way!
Globe-trotting through several countries, a few short stays in Edinburgh, a longer spell – literally – in Africa, a pride of lions and a clutter of cats, twists and turns along the way and this could quite possibly be the next Netflix film or series. It is said that curiosity killed the cat, but you will have to read right to the end to find out what happens – no sneak peeks along the way!
‘Conspiracy of Cats’ by B C Harris is available on Amazon and is a real page-turner. If you order through a bookshop with the ISBN no. 978-1-80074-032-7, then the shop may order in more than one copy, place the extra copies on their shelves for other customers to buy!