The sophisticated British secret agent cat is settling into his new home in New Jersey. He's become quite fond of his uncouth but loving new family. He's even gotten used to being called Mr. Stink. (Although he does not appreciate jokes about his new name, thanks very much.)
Then a dark shadow falls across his happy home. Someone is threatening Mr. Stink's new family -- a thief who leaves no pawprints. As James investigates the crimes, he realizes that a frightening old enemy lurks at the center of a web of conspiracy, plotting against him. Who is the hidden paw behind these misdeeds? And what grudge does he bear against our hero?
As every cat with a past knows, sometimes you need to sharpen your claws ...
About the Author
JENNIFER L. HOLM is the New York Times bestselling author of three Newbery Honor Books, as well as the co-creator of the Babymouse and Squish series which she collaborates on with her brother Matthew Holm.
Read an Excerpt
The Stink Files, Dossier 002: To Scratch a Thief
I Smell A Rat
The chirping of birds heralded the dawning of a new day in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
I sprang instantly alert and glanced out the window. The sky was still dark. Good. Plenty of time to get to the rendezvous point.
I jumped down from my fleece-lined bed and paused to make sure that my boy, Aaron, was still asleep. He was. The soft snoring coming from beneath the duvet proved just that.
Swift and silent as quicksilver I ran down the stairs and out the cat door in the back. I had practiced this exercise many times to make sure I had the timing down just right.
It was a warm spring morning. The patchy grass on the front lawn was moist with dew, and a light fog hung in the air. Perhaps we would have a lovely English-style rain later today, I thought hopefully. But I spared the weather no more thought as I ran down the block and past Bruno's house.
Right on time: a large green truck was lifting the Dumpster behind the gas station in its two big hydraulic arms. I dashed across the street, still deserted at this hour, and leaped undetected onto one of the arms, hitching an easy ride to the top of the truck. The trash was dumped and the Dumpster set back down.
Sixty-eight seconds on the whisker.
With a shudder and a hiss, the truck pulled out of the gas station and turned east, carrying me with it as an invisible stowaway.
Precisely according to plan.
Riding a garbage truck was hardly my idea of traveling in style. Indeed, my previous human, Sir Archibald, had always chauffeured me around in his collection of classic jaguars.
I could still remember the first time I laid eyes on him.
I was just a kitten, living on a cat farm in the south of France, when one day a British spy named Archibald Ash pulled up in a red Jaguar C-Type. He was looking for the perfect cat to provide a cover story for his current mission: pursuing a nuclear arms smuggler whose hobby was breeding showcats.
After more than a year, we caught up to the smuggler on his yacht off the coast of Monte Carlo. When Sir Archibald and I stormed the boat, only one of his cats escaped, although it was his favorite, a Persian named Macavity. No accounting for taste: the fluffy white cat was polydactyl -- that is, six-toed -- and could only show in the Household Pet category. But all the important showcats in his collection were taken into custody, and the smuggler himself was sent to pay for his crimes. Sir Archibald and I always got our mark.
Sir Archibald had been the Director of a top-secret counterspy agency in England, an organization so secret that I'm afraid I may not even reveal its true name. For convenience, we shall call it simply M19 ...The Stink Files, Dossier 002: To Scratch a Thief. Copyright © by Steven Holm & Hamel. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.