This first volume in a new series by T. C. LoTempio (whom you might know from the Nick and Nora mysteries) takes us to Deer Park, North Carolina, where we meet former advertising exec Sydney McCall and her sister, Kat. Kat is the director of an animal shelter, and Sydney has recently returned to her hometown and taken on publicity work for the shelter. Sounds nice and safe, right?
Well, not so fast. This is a murder mystery, after all.
Death comes to Deer Park
Sydney and Kat are getting ready for a pop-up cat café as a fund raiser for the shelter, which is in danger of closing if things don’t start going their way soon. One of their biggest problems is Trowbridge Littleton. He’s “old money,” he’s influential in the community (meaning he can bully people into doing what he wants), he’s a jerk. Littleton seems to have it in for the shelter, so Sydney decides to go see him, just to talk (hint: this will not go well). She arrives at his art gallery early in the morning, when she knows she’s most likely to catch him there—only Kat shows up as well, and together they discover Littleton’s recently murdered corpse.
So, you know how it goes when you find a recently murdered person: you become suspect #1, especially if you’re found to have motive, which Kat certainly did. With Littleton out of the way, the shelter has a better chance of surviving, right? Well, sure, unless she gets pegged for the murder.
Sydney decides to do a little investigating to clear her sister’s name. It seems that most of the population of Deer Park hated Littleton, so all Sydney has to do is figure out which one of them did him in. The question becomes, will she survive her little foray into private investigation?
Toby the cat
Our favorite character, naturally, is Toby, the green-eyed orange tabby cat who steals Sydney’s heart (yes, there is also a handsome detective who seems to be doing things to her heart, but let’s stick to what’s important, shall we?). We hear about Toby before we actually meet him. He is available for adoption through Kat’s shelter, but he prefers to wander where and when he pleases, and he has a habit of “discouraging” anyone who shows any interest in adopting him. He’ll settle down for the right person, maybe. Happily for everyone, Toby adopts Sydney as his own, and he proves to be an exceptional cat and an able investigating partner. We look forward to seeing him in future installments.
Purr M for Murder is a fun read. The plot is not simple, but it’s not hard to follow, and it’s entangled in all the right places. The climax, in which Sydney has a very close call, had us wondering if this would be a one-book “series.” Plus, Toby! We just love this cat. It’s nice to meet a new cat who is a character in his own right.
A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!
We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!
The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!
Purr M for Murder will be released on March 14, 2017. It's now available for pre-order: