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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Six: Case File No. 13-273

AMBER LOVE 08-AUG-2022 This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast.

Where We Left Off:

We have continued to tackle the rodent infestation taking place in the inside spaces. Unfortunately this had led the Grumpy Old Man to use some terrible tactics.

Cold Mountain:

It’s time to talk about the resident foxes and their monster counterparts, the kitsune. I consider my friend and brother author, Thomas Pluck, more of an expert on the subject. He wrote the incredible Fox-Child Running in a serial format testing out that kind of story and distribution. Give him a follow so you know how and when you can read that.

According to the NJDEP, we have red Vulpes vulpes and gray Urocyon cinereoargenteus (I never spell it that way) foxes in New Jersey. I hadn’t realized the proper name of the less vibrant color variety was grey nor that they were they’re own species. If you don’t have them in your area, you might not know that their furry coats change with the seasons. I learned this at a visit to Lakota Wolf Preserve. Now I also know that these grey foxes are also called tree foxes or cat foxes (awww) because of their pupil shape which is like cats. I think I’ll call them cat foxes from now on.

Unfortunately, these beautiful creatures, who do occasionally cause serious problems for people with chickens, are considered game animals. I’ve never heard of humans eating fox meat, so I guess it’s all for their fur.

fox hunt people horses and dogs
Fox Hunt in Virginia by Carol M. Highsmith

Both are classified as game species and are valuable furbearers and have both hunting and trapping seasons. – NJDEP

What gets controversial is that no one can definitely state whether the red foxes we have today are native or were introduced by colonists. Ooo, fox controversy! You may be familiar with the traditional European fox hunts. Fancy people in fancy pants with high boots and beautiful fitted blazers atop horses with beagles at their feet racing through woods after a fox. The fancy pants colonists were disappointed in New Jersey grey foxes who gave them the finger and ran up trees!

Amber's terrible sketch of fox

Now that I’ve presented the background of the different species, feel free to go back to the previous cases where we had actual interactions with kitsune and foxes. They are so rare to see in the daylight that each encounter was magical. Thankfully, no rabies concerns.

With my new trailcam, there’s now a better chance of getting evidence of when these gorgeous, sneaky creatures come to visit. We got some still images and you can see how the night vision technology of an animal right there up close to the lens isn’t great. They look like ghostly specters!

Here at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency, I recruited a new employee with all those foxy skills. I was driving down the road and something at a yard sale caught my eye. It was a beautiful fox. I showed some restraint. I went about my day and told myself that if the fox was there on my drive back, I’d stop and ask the price. I kept wondering who killed this beautiful animal. It wasn’t for the fur, the one thing the NJDEP said was valuable in this species.

This nice man started to chat me up so I thought it was his sale. Then a woman came up and joined the conversation. It turned out to be her sale. There was no price on the fox so I asked what she wanted for it.

“Make an offer,” she said. She told me her partner is the man who hunted it.

I suggested $60 because I know taxidermy is based on the size of the animal. This one probably was a couple hundred at least but had some damage to the nose and the mount isn’t perfect. The nice lady said that offer seemed low. Fair enough.

She said that seemed low, so I said $80. After chatting with her and this man who was shopping, she realized who I was—The Grumpy Old Man’s daughter. Then she countered with $15.

I said, “$15? Not even 50?” I was quite sure I misheard her.

She said, “You love it. It’s obvious how much you love it.”

I gave her $40 and said if Mountain Man (the former groundskeeper on this half of the mountain and the hunter who shot/trapped/killed and stuffed the creature) wants more, he can come over and I’ll give him more. I also told her about how I write weekly stories all about the creatures around here.

I get it home and the Butler and the Cook are horrified and embarrassed and think I should put it out in the garage. Hell no!

We had to see how Ollie and Gus would react to their new investigative partner at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. Oliver is cautious and believes the new associate should be on a probationary period. BUT GUS LOVES IT! Gus loves butts and this new friend didn’t have any objections to butt smelling.

Have you seen Funny Farm? You need to see Funny Farm. Why can’t I also end up a best selling author like in the movie?

Case Findings:

This was an incredibly quick investigation. We know who killed the fox. The woman selling it told me and she even said it was killed right on this mountain (it’s really a hill). There wasn’t much mystery to solve after that. I didn’t have the when answer, but everything else was wrapped with a bow.

The new addition to our household and detective agency is now known as Captain Mimi LaFloo and doing very well as an office companion. Her name comes from a character created by comics legend Larry Hama.

Case Status: Closed

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