Title: Cats, Carats and Killers

Series: Urban Tails Pet Shop

By:  T.C. LoTempio

ISBN: 9781960511546 (ISBN10: 1960511548)



There may be honor among thieves, but a long-ago diamond heist might hold the secret to a man’s murder . . .Pet shop owner Shell McMillan is thrilled to see everyone in Fox Hollow flocking to the local animal shelter’s fundraiser, where they can get their old keepsakes and collectibles appraised and maybe even sell them for a tidy sum. But the event has drawn some shady characters as well, including Pete Martin, who seems determined to get his hands on a beat-up old jewelry box at any cost. Then Martin is found murdered, and Shell has to go from fundraising to finding a killer. It doesn’t take long for Shell to figure out that the jewelry box was concealing diamonds from a long-ago heist, and that Martin wasn’t the only one trying to get his hands on the stash. But to figure out who wanted him dead, she’ll have to uncover who was behind the original heist and who knows where the rest of the gems are hidden. It’s as dangerous a case as Shell has ever faced, and if she’s not careful, her search for the missing stones will leave her stone-cold dead. (Goodreads)


Cats, Carats, and Killers is the fourth book in the Urban Tails Pet Shop series by T.C. LoTempio. I have followed this series from the beginning and I must say, the main characters (aka the cats) are what keeps me coming back. Well, that and the engaging storylines with a solid main “human” character 😊.

The murder that Shell McMillan feels compelled to solve in this cozy mystery is also tied into a long-ago diamond heist, so more intrigue and complexity to the solving of the murder. Always a plus in my book. From the progression from book one – I can see that Shell is developing as an amateur sleuth. However, she does still seem to get caught up in the drama and inadvertently puts herself in harms way. Luckily, Purrday, Kahlua, and Princess Fuzzypants (the three cats) always seems to help her in time.

The story begins with Shells’ mother, Clarissa (who is now a partner at Second Hand Sue’s) organizing the “Appraise for Strays” event. Clarissa has even convinced Gerard Antoine; the host of a local antiques appraisal show and huge animal lover and supporter of no-kill shelters to come to Fox Hollow to appraise people’s “treasures” at the event. At the event, one specific item is garnering a lot of attention – an old jewellery box. Shell’s determination to find out why this jewellery box is so sought after leads her into some sticky situations with potentially dire consequences. Shell, along with her best pal Leila uncover many clues, which lead them into more dangerous situations. As I was reading, I did hope they would solve the mysteries before something happened to them. My fears are of course unfounded as this is a cozy mystery. But that says something about the writing – keeping me engaged and worried for the protagonist and everyone she drags along with her in the pursuit of truth and justice.

While reading the prologue, I wondered how this would tie into the present-day situation. I wondered how this past jewellery heist would play into the current day story? It was actually comforting to not jump right into a murder. It was a bit of a slow build. As the reading progressed, I was able to figure out a few clues and make sense of them, but by no means did I figure out the “whodunit” until the end – which is the way I like my cozy mysteries!

Many of the beloved characters that have been around since book one (Gary for example) are still in the picture – so it was like coming home and reading about all of their antics and seeing what has happened since the last book. Comfortable.

As I have come to expect, the writing of T.C. LoTempio is engaging. The cats are great characters in the book and the humans are not so shabby either 😊. Not only do the readers get to read about and try and solve a murder but we also get the added bonus of solving a cold case with respect to the jewel heist. I loved this extra dimension. Par usual – the cats ferreted out many of the clues – or at least pointed them out to Shell.

I must say – I loved the cover art. Having three cats on the cover and a picture of a dog on the wall of the office sends warm fuzzies to my heart as I love seeing the animals on the cover.

If you enjoy cozy mysteries with “a bit more “, then I suggest picking up Cats, Carats and Killers and get reading. You will not be disappointed.