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by T.C. LoTempio
Midnight Ink, August 2019
312 pages
ISBN: 0738760366

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE TIME FOR MURDER IS MEOW starts a new series from T. C. LoTempio, author of two already successful cozy mystery series featuring cats as meaningful characters. Ms. LoTempio continues to create feline characters that are convincing, amusing and purrfectly engaging.

Crishell (Shell) McMillian learns her TV series is canceled just two days before she hears her Aunt Tillie has died and left her a pet shop, Purr N Bark, a Victorian mansion in Fox Hollow and a "healthy assortment" of stocks and bonds. Deciding a change of scenery is just what she needs after ten years of co-starring on Spy Anyone, she moves to Connecticut with Kahlua, her Seal Point Siamese. Besides, Shell always wanted to become a veterinarian so she reasons "managing a pet shop is the next best thing."

As she is checking out the store, visitors surprise her, including a welcoming committee of her aunt's neighboring shop owners, Rita, Ron and Olivia. During their introduction Shell discovers her Aunt Tillie's roommate is still around and makes a startling entrance, streaking through the store "and with one graceful leap lands on all fours right in the center of the counter." A white haired, one eyed Persian named Purrday is the roommate, living with Aunt Tillie in the mansion as well as tending the store with her every day.

Posting a sign on the shop's front door that reads "Reopening Soon," Shell locks up and drives home with both cats. As she continues to unpack, she answers the doorbell to find Mazie Madison from the Fox Hollow Museum there to inform her that the board has voted against showing Aunt Tillie's collection of Cary Grant movie posters during the Ridgefield Playhouse Cary Grant Retrospective. When Shell finds out that Amelia Witherspoon is behind the negative vote she sets out to change the board members' minds. According to local gossip Amelia and Aunt Tillie had a serious falling out many years earlier and have avoided each other ever since.

Agreeing to meet with Amelia at the museum, Shell arrives to find her dead body in the corner of her office. Shell becomes a suspect since she argued, in public, with Amelia earlier. Putting together what little she knows from the locals Shell develops a suspect list as she tries to find who is actually behind the murder. In the midst of her investigation, Gary, Shell's co-star in Spy Anyone comes to visit and stays to join her in snooping. So now, two actors who play crime solvers on TV are determined to uncover the murderer – with a little help from Kahlua and Purrday, two really curious cats.

LoTempio writes a clever, well thought out mystery populated with strong, likeable characters, snappy dialogue, and imaginative twists. However, best of all are Ms. LoTempio's sleuthing felines, especially Purrday. The author skillfully portrays the warm relationship developing between Shell and Purrday that will resonate with fans of feline detectives.


§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton’s, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, June 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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