by L.C. LoTempio
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.
I put the phone down and leaned back, laced my hands behind my head. The key to all this, I felt certain, was finding someone willing to come clean about what really happened on the yacht that night. From my experience, there was no way all those people were telling the truth. One – or maybe more – was lying.
What I needed to do was figure out who and more importantly, why.
I stood up, stretched, and put down the top on the computer. Nick watched me with his unblinking golden eyes.
“My next move should be to question the other three, see what they have to say about that night. That’s going to require some thought. After all, it’s not like we hang out in the same circles, or that they even frequent Hot Bread for lunch. I can’t just run into them you know.”
Nick jumped up on the counter. His plume of a tail swished, knocking over the plastic case containing my catering menus. They scattered to the floor like autumn leaves. I sighed, bent to retrieve them, then suddenly straightened. I hurried over to the old rolltop desk in the corner, jerked open the bottom drawer where my mother’s impeccable catering records were kept. I thumbed through the folders, and a little cry of triumph escaped my lips as I pulled out one marked KMG. Sure enough, inside were two neatly drawn contracts, bearing both my mother’s signature and that of Lola Grainger, for Hot Bread to cater two of their upcoming company events. I glanced over at Nick, sitting calmly on the counter, licking one paw.
“I get it,” I murmured. “Good point. Now that Lola’s dead, what happens with these contracts?”
I shoved the file folder under one arm and patted Nick on the head. I figured now was as good a time as any to find out.
Author Toni LoTempio
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.
Praise for the Book
"Meow if it's Murder is an absolute delight and Nick and Nora make a purr-fect mystery-solving team. ! I couldn't put it down!" --Michelle Rowen, national bestselling author
“Meow If It's Murder is delightful! Readers will love the mystery and charming cat. You don't want to miss this new series” –Rose Pressey, USA Today Bestselling Author
"Nick and Nora are a winning team. The crafty feline manages to stay one paw ahead of his new owner - and the criminals in Cruz, California." –Rebecca Hale, NY Times Bestselling Author
"Namesakes Nick the cat and Nora the deli owner can teach Hammett’s amateur detective duo a thing or two. Meow if It’s Murder is a fast-paced cozy mystery spiced with a dash of romance and topped with a big slice of “cat-itude.” Enjoy!" ~Ali Brandon, NY Times Bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries
"Nick and Nora are the purrfect sleuthy duo!" – Victoria Laurie, NY Times Bestselling author of the Psychic Eye Mystery Series
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