Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fun Folk Mystery with Poor Title and Cover - So Check it Out!

Portrait of Sebastian de Morra, Court Jester by Diego Velazquez

The market area was square-shaped, Consuelo’s shop having a corner position. Being L-shaped, it was only accessible from one side and whilst Sergio followed her round to the corner of the counter, she suddenly stopped. 
Three trays of chicken parts in front of his face made it difficult for Sergio to see where he was going and he immediately careered into Consuelo’s back, almost dropping his load. 
“Oh my God!” she shouted. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, señora. I didn’t see you! Are you okay?”...

His delivery made, Sergio departed. Consuelo stood behind the counter and gave him a royal wave and one of those toothpaste-commercial smiles, made brighter by the reflection of the neon light through the perfectly clean metal showcase in front of her. 
She watched Sergio walk through the market. Some other shop owners were busy opening their shops and arranging their deliveries, something she also needed to sort out. Suddenly, Consuelo froze on the spot. She could not believe what she had just seen. She dared not look down. Was she actually standing on it? The thought made her heart jump.   After a few seconds, she stepped to the left. She took a deep breath and stared down at the floor again. And … there it was. A face! 
On the floor in the middle of her chicken shop!   
She looked up again, stared into space for a while and then looked at Pedro’s photo. “Oh my God!” she said. What was it? Who was it? How long has it been there? Was it there when she came in this morning or had it appeared right now? Had it actually appeared out of nowhere or had someone put it there? If so, who and why? What on earth was this thing? she thought...
She checked to make sure nobody was looking and disappeared under the counter again. She looked at the face from further away than before. Slowly it became clearer that it could not be the Virgin Mary. Firstly, and most significantly, it had a big bushy beard, or rather a goatee including the upper lip mustache part, which twirled upwards at the ends.   So if it was not the Virgin Mary, who was it? She moved on to the next theme of religious apparitions: Jesus. But why would He manifest himself on the floor of her poultry shop? Could that be a good thing or a bad thing? she asked herself.

Two Cats and a
 Chicken Shop Mystery

By C. R. Martinez

This title works for the content, but just doesn't help to really describe what is going on... C. R. Martinez has written somewhat of a folk tale, creating a "treasure hunt-type mystery" novel, but then throws a curve ball--a somewhat startling end that will shake readers for a moment...

Then when it sinks in, I think you'll chuckle and say, "well played..."

Maria Consuelo García Gómez,
 or simply Consuelo as most people  called her, 
was a sixty-two year old widow from Madrid
. For the last thirty-four years,
 she had been working at the Mercado de La Cebada, 
a traditional food market in the centre of town.
 Although she was not exactly pleased when they
 announced that she had to work another five years
 instead of two before she could retire,
 she did not really have any plans for this new phase
 of her life either. The market gave her 
the routine she needed and she wondered
 what she would do without it. 
Unfortunately, business was not going well
 and there were rumours that the market could
 soon be demolished. In that case, she really
 would not know what to do. Not only Consuelo, 
therefore, was waiting for a miracle – 
a miracle that was about to happen.

Consuela is an older widow who now runs a small shop in Madrid. Her shop is one of those that specializes in selling poultry, while others do the same in small enclosed areas--much like our lunch areas in large malls here in America...

Since her husband died, she worries more about being able to sell enough to keep her shop, since it is her only income. Plus it has been rumored that the mercadode may be demolished to make room for a new modern store!

Although it has been many years, she still misses her husband, but, more, she is lonely... Her shop is small, so mostly she waits for deliveries and customers and, of course, the gossip from the other vendors... She's not really into gossip, but it does pass the time and is almost unavoidable with one neighbor in particular... A somewhat dull life and she knows it... Her best friend and cousin one day asks if she will take his cat, who has caused problems with allergies in the family, so she now has a new friend, Antonio, who is helping with her loneliness! But Antonio becomes part of the mystery!

She was totally unprepared, though, for what happened when she arrived at her shop one morning... There was a face on her floor!

It appeared to be painted and she puzzled over it, then decided to just wash it off! That worked...

Until the next day when it was there... And the next... And the next!

Finally, she could not hold it inside of herself, but couldn't think who she could talk to. So she visited a psychic who read the cards for her. That gave her a list of things that could be happening in the future. But then, she did tell her best friend and cousin because by then Antonio had fallen out of the window! And there was another clue!

Now you know that I have to include that via pictures! Consuelo learned that tiger cats are known to have
an M on their heads for
Mohammed I, who was saved
by a tiger cat...a good example of the historical tidbits readers will find!)

But one day Antonio got out of the window and finally when Consuelo found him in the garage under cars, he was so dirty she had to wash him!

When she did, she noticed that the M was very changed and his fur was lighter... the outer lines were gone or much lighter and it now seemed to look more like a V!

Clues were coming from every where, or at least that's what Consuela felt she had to assume, because she couldn't be sure what was important and what was not! And I must say that Consuela did a fine job of finding those clues and turning them into possible reasons that picture was on the floor in her shop! Finally, her cousin had been told and one day he came back with a bag that had a very similar image! It was of Sebastian, the Court Jester once painted by Velazquez!

Now the mystery was even more frustrating! Why would this picture be in her shop! And then she learned about the Belmez House! A home in another Spanish town where this type of picture had appeared on the walls as well as the floors and had been investigated for years by paranormal experts!

Now an interesting thing happened one day when one of her customers mentioned to her that he knew her brother and they began talking...Consuela had for a long time wanted to talk more to him so when she had the chance, she did! Even inviting him home to see the change to the cat!

Consuela now had a partner in her quest to discover what was going to happen!

The identification of Sebastian led to whether the picture was there to indicate Velazquez...for there was a mystery about where he was buried. Visits to the museum, researching books, talking to professionals all led them further in this mystery... Hey, I'm stopping cause you'll never be able to pull it all together from this brief overview. Needless to say, I enjoyed it...

Right in the middle of a mystery, readers will be taken into Spanish history and will learn quite a bit about several of their well-known artists...  Don't expect to solve this mystery...but if you see a face on your floor, wall, or even ceiling...just be careful--be very careful...and don't drink the tea...LOL


This is an older trailer for Christmas last year, but still a good overview!

C.R. Martínez is the pen name of an Austrian author who worked in humanitarian aid before moving to Spain. The author currently works as an English teacher in Madrid.
Contact the author:
twocatsandachickenshopmystery at gmail.com


  1. Thanks a lot, Glenda! I’m really honoured by your review!!!! I’m glad you liked Two Cats and a Chicken Shop Mystery. Should you ever want to visit the real locations in Madrid let me know. I make an excellent history/mystery tour guide & the place is full of legends ;-) Keep up the good work & saludos from Spain!

  2. Ahhh, if I were only younger, I'd take you up on it...would love to visit Spain!