Purr M for Murder
A Cat Rescue Mystery, Book# 1
By T.C. LoTempio
Author’s Website: http://tclotempio.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.
Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.
Delightfully clever and charming, Purr M for Murder, the first in a new series from nationally bestselling author T. C. LoTempio, will leave readers clawing for more.
Purr M for Murder is the first in the A Cat Rescue Mystery series by T. C. LoTempio. This is my first exposure to the writings of this author and I predict will not be my last.
Sydney McCall is at loose ends in New York city as a result of her fiance Preston Renshaw III being caught with her secretary in a “very compromising position”. Since Preston was the boss’s son, what was a girl to do, but hand in her resignation and move out of their shared apartment. When Sydney’s sister calls and asks if she is still at loose ends – Sydney moves back from New York City to Deer Park, North Carolina to help Kat out at Friendly Paws, the local animal shelter. The reader is introduced to Toby – one of the cats up for adoption. He has a bit of wanderlust in him and is very choosy when it comes to finding prospective adoptive humans. Seems he knows who he wants….
Friendly Paw is organizing a unique fundraiser – an afternoon at a local coffee shop with an area set aside for viewing and interacting with a few of the cats up for adoption at the shelter. Interesting idea, but there is one business person in town that is not happy with this idea – Trowbridge Littleton. He has ulterior motives with the site where the shelter is located (unbeknownst to Kat and Sydney). Now knowing that Trowbridge is not really an honest, forthright individual (it is known around town that he has – and is – cheating on his wife) and his business ethics are a bit shady and he is against this fundraiser, it is no surprise that Kat has issues with him – and Kat is not a quite individual in her discontent! Just days prior to the fundraiser, Sydney has arranged an early morning meeting with Trowbridge – a chance to clear the air. Sydney and Kat arrive at Trowbridge’s office and what do they find…you guessed it…. Trowbridge. But he was not in any position to conduct a meeting as he was dead. This does lead to a bit of a chuckle worthy moment while looking around at the newly discovered crime scene:
Kat was at my elbow almost at once. “What are you doing?”
“Just looking around-trying to see if maybe there might be a clue here as to what happened.”
“No sign of any sort of weapon,” I mumbled. “No defensive wounds, either. His guard was down. I’ll bet he knew whoever did this to him.”
“Wow, Nancy Drew, you’re in rare form,” my sister cried.
Surprisingly, the detective that shows up at the scene is Detective Worthington, Deer Park Homicide. Turns out that this is Will Worthington, Sydney’s first crush in high school. In fact, Will could, no matter what, make Sydney laugh, regardless of how bad her day had been and he was also the first boy she had ever kissed and:
“Now, it seemed, he’d also be the first detective to ever interrogate me in a possible murder investigation.”
Now that Will has lost ninety pounds and gotten into shape (he did so to join the police department) he was looking mighty fine and there seemed to be some sparks flying between the two. Hmm…will have to wait and see how far this carries on in future books. I really enjoy slow burning romances in my cozy mysteries. 😊
Problem now is that the whole town knows of the tiff between Kat and Trowbridge and the shelter, so the number one suspect is Kat. Sydney decides to unofficially lend a hand to the local police force in order to quickly clear her sister of suspicion of murder. As well, there is another little helper – Toby – who was integral in solving this mystery.
What ensues is a funny, quirky unraveling of the mystery of who killed Trowbridge Littleton. Not surprisingly, there are MANY suspects – the wife, one of the many ex or current girlfriends, business partner, maybe even the baker or candlestick maker? (okay, the last one is a bit far fetched since there is no candlestick maker in the story). It definitely got muddy before it cleared up and the killer was revealed, which for me took until the end (just the way I like my mysteries).
I quite enjoyed the story line involving the fundraiser for the shelter. A unique idea which allowed prospective owners the opportunity for more quality time prior to deciding if the pet was the one for them. The names of some local businesses really were quite catchy: City Jewel, Hats Off, The Fin and Claw and The Brush and Canvas. Who thinks up these names (okay…I know it is the author…. but so creative that I have a hard time forgetting the names of these businesses). It really makes me feel as if I live in Deer Park and I am part of this small community.
I found Purr M for Murder an enjoyable read with colorful characters and an interesting mystery which, while slow at the beginning, did pick up as the story progressed and so I will wait patiently for the continuation of this series. If you enjoy well crafted cozies with a small-town setting and animals (lots of references to animals – but one cat in particular – Toby) with your murder, then I suggest Purr M for Murder.