Series: Nick & Nora Mysteries #1
Format Read: PDF converted to Kindle
Source: Tour company in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: December 2, 2014
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Blurb from goodreads:
First in a new series!
Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…
Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too.
Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives.blah
I've never seen the Nick and Nora movies or read the books but they're on my list of things to try. Some day. The conceit for this story, pairing a Nick (even if he's not human) and Nora who investigate mysteries grabbed my attention.and I'm always a sucker for cat stories so I grabbed this one.
Nora is a former investigative reporter who came home to take over running her mother's sandwich shop after her mother's death. Though she's content she can't shake journalism and she works part-time for an online news magazine. She becomes intrigued by the unexpected death of a local woman and begins to investigate. Her good friend Chantal, florist, jewelry designer, and psychic, encourages her to adopt a cat who comes around that they name Nick. Nick is not a normal cat, not at all. He can spell words using Scrabble tiles (and Nora was amazingly slow at picking up on the hints these provided), he magically turns her laptop on and off, and escapes from locked vehicles. In fact, his behavior was frequently so uncatlike, so magical, that I kept waiting for a magical or supernatural explanation. We don't get one but frankly, nothing else makes sense. That said, he has some funny scenes where he is all cat and quite the interesting personality. He's as much a character as any of the humans.
"Meow If It's Murder" was an enjoyable read. It had lots of twists and turns, fun and quirky characters who feel real, and a heroine who can think fast on her feet and isn't afraid to admit when she messes up. Nora does have one or two instances of behaving stupidly but for the most part she's smart and competent. She's also inquisitive, a perfect trait both for a journalist and an amateur sleuth. Her work as a part-time crime journalist allows her to be genuinely involved in local crimes and mysteries, unlike many cozy settings. Also, I got hungry reading about some of the sandwiches at her shop. LoTiempo has a knack for sandwich names and descriptions. She also has a knack for writing a compelling story. Despite some implausibilities, the story is engaging, and Nora an enjoyable woman. I think I'd like her if we met in real life. I'm looking forward to more of Nora's adventures, Nick the magical cat, and the interesting secondary characters.
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few! Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York.
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