The Ill-Fated Fortunes of a Steampunk Madam IX: Sharp

In all of the commotion, the little orange kitten had been quite forgotten. Now, he climbed out from underneath the reading room's elegant granite-topped sideboard. He'd been there ever since Caster cleared away the tea, and had remained there during all of the commotion.

But there was something curious about this investigator, something that called the little kitten to conduct an investigation of his own. He paused to stretch, lowering his front half and arching his tail, then standing and lenthing his arms all the way through to flexing his claws out of their sheaths and spreading his beans so very far apart. He finished with a shiver, a soothing lick at his own back, and a quick shake of his head.

Then, he was off, padding through the house on his quest to investigate the investigator, this curious Inspector Sharpe.

Marmalade, for that was how Madam Fiona referred to the little fuzzbutt, caught up with Inspector Sharpe in the front of the house, half in and half out of Mrs. Leonard's steamcar. With a mighty pounce, the kitten launched up through the open door and onto the inspector's back.

This caused Sharpe to jerk with surprise, but he was bent over in such a way that he ended up cracking the back of his head against the roof of the driver's space! This, in turn, surprised Marmalade who with unsteady grace leapt from the inspector's back into the rear passenger space of the vehicle.

Rubbing the back of his head, and murmuring to himself about watering blazes, his piercing gaze fixed on the bright cushion of fluff against the stitched cowhide of the passenger bench. "Oi, well, aren't you just a dollop of marmalade. C'mere, sweetums." The non-healing hand reached out and deftly scooped up the kitten into a warm embrace.

"Mew," said Marmalade, definitively, as he was deposited on the large man's shoulder. "Mew-ew?"

Gently, mindful of his new little friend, Sharpe backed out of Mrs. Leonard's car, grabbing a folded leather bundle as he did. "Oh, it's quite fascinating," he said, answering the kitten's inquisitive mew as though it were a real question. "According to the vehicle's registration papers, and the identification card we found in the victim's wallet...." He trailed off, building the suspense for his new investigation partner.

It took only a few seconds for Marmalade to get his bearings on Sharpe's shoulder. The inspector's long coat had conveniently placed straps that ran along his shoulders, giving the little kitten a safe and comfortable clutch. Golden eyes blinked at the inspector's studious gaze, then looked at the leather bundle. One tiny set of claws reached out, but it was far out of reach.

For years, Sharpe had shared his small apartment with a little black-and-white cat named Gentleman. He'd become accustomed to talking through his investigations with the fat old bastard. But, at the ripe old age of eighteen years, Gentleman had finally gone to sleep one night. Now, months later, here was this little marmalade sass-pot.

Sharpe smiled.

"Mow-ew? Mow-mow?"

"Both the registration, and the holograph on the identification card, say that Mrs. Leonard is actually one Sarah Weatherbank. I'm about to call into the station to see if we can locate her family. Do you or your mistress know why she might have been going by Mrs. Leonard?"


"Mm. Oi, well, I'll still have to check with Madam Fiona. Just to be sure."


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Oct 21, 2023 22:25

I am loving following these adventures! Marmalade is a fantastic addition, and I feel he will be an excellent investigator. But why does Mrs. Leonard have a different name?? The plot thickens.

Oct 21, 2023 23:49 by Haly the Moonlight Bard

Thank you! I'm totally pants-ing this, as I've never written a murder mystery before. I'm really having fun playing with the different points of view and different voices. It's a neat little exercise and good practice for when I take a run at Second Drafting my WIP next month.

Haly, the Moonlight Bard

Summer Camp in Avalon

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Jun 30, 2024 14:58 by Marjorie Ariel

Parrot cat! This is my favorite section so far.

Jun 30, 2024 15:08 by Haly the Moonlight Bard

...I live with a fat orange sass-pot, LOL!

Haly, the Moonlight Bard

Summer Camp in Avalon

Rhapsody in Realms FREE on Substack!