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 felt a tug on my skirt and looked down to see Nick regarding me with a steady, golden stare. I bent down and gently disengaged his claw. He turned around twice, and motioned with his paw toward the back table. I saw Scrabble tiles lying on the floor and let out a little cry.
“How did you get those? I could have sworn I had them in the pouch in the drawer!”
I bent over to scoop them up and noticed they were an F, an I and a B. I chuckled.
“Fib. Very appropriate. Of course, I wouldn’t come out and call Daniel Corlone a liar, but I just get a strange vibe from him. Like he’s hiding something. Oh, I don’t know.” I made a motion with my hand, swept the tiles up and deposited them back in the drawer. I looked at Nick.
“Like I was saying, I doubt Detective Corleone is going to be of much help. If I’m going to get to the bottom of all this and find out what happened to Adrienne and your owner, I’m going to have to do some digging on my own. Besides interviewing the Captain, I need to know more about the other people who were on the yacht that night. If I can figure out who had the most to gain from Lola’s death, I can narrow down the field.”
I leaned down and gave Nick a quick pat on the head. “I picked up something on the way home that should prove extremely helpful. Come on. We’re going to do something I haven’t done in quite a while - make a murder board.
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.
“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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