Title: The Time for Murder is Meow
Series: Urban Tails Pet Shop Mystery #1
By: T.C. LoTempio
ISBN: 0738760366(ISBN13: 9780738760360)
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
When her TV series is canceled, struggling actress Shell McMillan considers it a blessing in disguise. A beloved aunt who recently died left her a pet shop in her will, and she sees it as the perfect chance to walk away from Hollywood and make a fresh start in the sleepy town of Fox Hollow.
But adjusting to small-town life won’t be easy, as Shell realizes when the head of the museum board is found murdered not long after Shell had a very public argument with her. And when the new kid in town is fingered for the crime, she’ll have to rely on her own wit and pluck and the kindness of strangers to get herself off the hook.
Desperate to exonerate herself and catch the real culprit, Shell begins digging into the lives of the local residents, and she quickly discovers that the victim had no shortage of enemies. As the suspect list grows and time runs short, Shell and her cats will have to claw their way out of danger—and it’s meow or never . . . (Goodreads)
The Time for Murder is Meow is the first book in the Urban Tails Pet Shop Mystery series by T.C. LoTempio. I must say in summary – a fine introduction to a new cast of characters. I found “Shell” (Crishell McMillan – retired TV actress and amateur sleuth) an engaging and entertaining character. Shell’s co-star (“ex” co-star now that the TV series had been cancelled), Gary Presser, who has followed her to Fox Hollow, Connecticut to convince her to come back to Hollywood, is also quite a character, who grew on me throughout the story.
As with all cozy mysteries, there is a murder (no surprise there of course) but what is just a wee bit different for this first in the series book is that the main suspect is indeed the amateur sleuth, Shell. What a number of stressors for Shell – moving to Fox Hollow, grieving over the loss of her Aunt Tillie, the loss of her highly successful TV series, Spy Anyone and NOW being accused of murder. What is a gal to do but investigate to find the real killer and get herself off the police’s suspect list. And to further complicate matters for Shell – she is working on re-opening Aunt Tillies legacy – the Urban Tails Pet Shop. I think this is a lot to take on for any one person, but Shell seems to be handling it well enough.
The story begins with the her Aunt Tilly’s Cary Grant poster collection being sought out for display at the local museum – well except for one influential board member of said local museum. Shell is excited and was hoping to have a conversation with the lone board member to try and persuade them to borrow the collection. However, as Shell arrives at the museum to have that all important talk, what does she find but the board member (Amelia Withersppon) dead on the floor! And now the sleuthing begins to clear Shell’s name and find another viable suspect. There are of course – many potential suspects to work through, not the least are the myriad of board members. Especially when Shell learns that Amelia seemed to have something unsavory on each of the board members.
There are also a couple other town members of significance – Shell’s cat Kahlua and Aunt Tillie’s cat Purrday (the one-eyed kitty). With the setting of this series in a pet store – there had to be a couple of animals. I quite enjoyed the way that Purrday insinuated himself into the sleuthing part of the story – very clever.
And not to be left out – there is a bit of a romance beginning to take shape and I for one, cannot wait to see how it plays out throughout the series. Shell takes a shine to Josh Bloodgood, Detective.
If you are a fan of cozy mysteries featuring animals (specifically cats), with interesting characters set in small town USA, then the writing of T.C. LoTempio in this first book The Time for Murder is Meow from the new series, Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries series, is a story you will want to pick up, get comfy with your own cat and settle in for an enjoyable whodunit which will keep you guessing (well – it did me) until the end to find out the real murderer.