Review: Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio

purrmAbout Purr M for Murder

• Series: A Cat Rescue Mystery (#1)
• Hardcover:
 304 pages
• Published: March 2017 by Crooked Lane Books
• Source: Netgalley

Goodreads DescriptionSydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Delightfully clever and charming, Purr M for Murder, the first in a new series from nationally bestselling author T. C. LoTempio, will leave readers clawing for more.

My Thoughts

I haven’t read anything by T.C. LoTempio, though I’ve heard of her – she writes the Nick and Nora MysteriesPurr M for Murder is the first book in her new series, and since it featured both a cat and a plot to save an animal shelter, I jumped at the chance to finally read LoTempio’s work.

Purr M for Murder introduces us to sisters Sydney and Kat. Sydney has just moved back home after finding out her fiance was cheating on her. Kat gives her a job as the publicity director for the animal shelter she runs, and Syd’s first event is a Cat Cafe with a local business. It’s such a fun idea – patrons pay a small fee to interact with shelter cats in a private room, all while enjoying pastries. It’s an adoption event, as well as a way to increase revenue for all involved. Unfortunately, there’s a town curmudgeon who hates everyone and everything, and is determined to ruin the whole thing. Naturally, he winds up dead, and Kat is the prime suspect, since she had everything to gain from his death.

Throw in a love-interest detective and a handful of supporting characters, plus a ginger cat named Toby, and you’ve got a cute little mystery. I really enjoyed the focus on shelter animals.

That said, I had a hard time getting into this one. I found the dialogue to be really forced and unnatural. For example, this line, “You query him subtly.” I don’t know anyone who speaks that way. It had the same feel as a bad movie, where everything is exaggerated and overacted. I also thought the book was awfully short on substance – while on the one hand, that’s nice (it made for a very quick read), it also felt….superficial? I’m not sure that’s the right description. There wasn’t a lot of depth to the mystery, or to the sleuthing, and clues seemed to just fall into Sydney’s lap. Overall, the characters didn’t really do much for me – that’s not to say I disliked them, but I didn’t really have a whole lot of attachment to them.

But what I did like was the fact that this was such a quick read. The animals are cute, and present enough to keep this animal lover engaged when the mystery didn’t feel quite mysterious enough. And I also liked that the book didn’t take itself too seriously – cozy mysteries are supposed to be fun, and while this one wasn’t a riot, it was light and fluffy.

Purr M for Murder comes out tomorrow, March 14. Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for the ARC!

2 stars