The Time for Murder is Meow
by T. C. LoTempio
About The Time for Murder is Meow
The Time for Murder is Meow: Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries
1st in Series
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing (June 9, 2021)
Digital ASIN: B0937H1KTT
Shell McMillan and her furry sidekicks aren’t kitten around when they set out to catch a killer . . .
When her TV series is canceled, struggling actress Shell McMillan considers it a blessing in disguise. A beloved aunt who recently died left her a pet shop in her will, and she sees it as the perfect chance to walk away from Hollywood and make a fresh start in the sleepy town of Fox Hollow.
But adjusting to small-town life won’t be easy, as Shell realizes when the head of the museum board is found murdered not long after Shell had a very public argument with her. And when the new kid in town is fingered for the crime, she’ll have to rely on her own wit and pluck and the kindness of strangers to get herself off the hook.
Desperate to exonerate herself and catch the real culprit, Shell begins digging into the lives of the local residents, and she quickly discovers that the victim had no shortage of enemies. As the suspect list grows and time runs short, Shell and her cats will have to claw their way out of danger—and it’s meow or never . . .
It wasn’t too hard to find Rita’s shop. The coral-and-white-striped sign that read Sweet Perks was by far the biggest and most colorful on the block. The large front window offered a tantalizing glimpse of the baked goods within. A bell tinkled a greeting as I pushed the door open and I stood on the threshold for a moment, drinking in the delectable scents of baked goods and fresh brewed coffee, feeling like I’d died and gone to heaven. There were a few customers scattered at the small tables, eating muffins and slurping down coffee or coffee drinks. A few looked at me curiously as I made my way to the register.
There was a woman standing there, her back to me. As I approached, she turned and I saw that it was Olivia. She glanced at her watch and grinned. “You’re punctual, I see. Find us a table,” she said. “I’ll get us something to drink. My treat. What’ll you have?”
The blueberry muffins looked tempting, but I patted my stomach. “Just coffee,” I said. At Olivia’s puzzled look, I added, “It’s hard to break years of watching your weight.”
Olivia gave me a once-over and sighed. “You’re not on camera anymore, sweetie, but I know what you mean. How about a double mocha latte with skim milk? That won’t expand your waistline too much,” she added with a wink.
I wandered over to a café table all the way in the back, sandwiched in between a shelf filled with brightly colored mugs and another display case filled with necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, many of intricate design.
Olivia appeared a few minutes later and set a tall, frothy glass in front of me. She slid into the seat opposite mine and raised her glass. “Here’s to—what?”
“How about success? That’s always good.” I took a long sip of the latte, sighed contentedly, and settled back in my chair. I glanced around the quaint store. “Where’s Rita?”
“She always takes Saturday afternoon off. Drives her husband for his arthritis treatment in Boyne. Poor guy, he’s got it bad, especially in the hands.” She curled her own fingers into a clawed fist. “He used to be an accountant. He must have gotten his condition from punching all those adding machine keys. Her niece usually watches the store for her.” She inclined her head toward the apple-cheeked girl behind the register.
I nodded toward the display case. “And she sells jewelry too?”
Olivia glanced at the case. “Yep. Some she makes, some she picks up at estate sales and resells. Jewelry’s always been a hobby with her.” She leaned forward. “So, now, let’s get to it. Just what did old Mazie say, exactly?”
I leaned back in my chair, wrapping my hands around my drink. “The board didn’t approve showcasing Aunt Tillie’s Cary Grant poster collection. They voted four to three against.”
“Hm.” Olivia gave a small sigh. “That sounds about right.”
“What do you mean?”
She glanced quickly around the shop, then leaned midway across the table and said in a whisper, “It sounds as if a certain board member is up to her old tricks again; the one who possesses the superpower of being able to sway votes.” Her tongue clicked against the roof of her mouth. “The wicked witch of Fox Hollow herself: Amelia Witherspoon. Very few people in this town—or on earth, for that matter—get along with her.” Olivia stretched her long legs out in front of her and cradled her cup in her hands. “If she knows the posters belonged to Tillie Washburn, that could have something to do with it. As the gossip goes, she and your aunt had a falling out some years ago. Over what, I’m not sure. But whatever it was, it must have been a doozy. The two of ’em always went out of their way to avoid each other.”
“You’re kidding! She’d turn down something that would only benefit the museum in the long run over an ancient feud?”
Olivia nodded. “It’d be just like her to do something like that, out of spite.”
Great. In some ways, Fox Hollow seemed just as political as Hollywood. “Do you know the names of the board members who would have voted with Amelia?”
“Sure. Lawrence Peabody, Ginnifer Rubin, and Andy McHardy. It’s sickening, really. Everyone thinks that Amelia must have something on them. They always side with her.” Olivia shot me a sympathetic look. “Not a great start to your first week in Fox Hollow, is it?”
“It sure isn’t.” Abruptly I straightened up. “I can’t just take this lying down, Olivia. I have to do something.”
“And by ‘do something’ I’m guessing you mean talk to Amelia.” As I nodded, Olivia shook her head. “That’s like chasing unicorns, sweetie. Once that old bat makes up her mind about something, it takes practically an act of God to change it.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve run up against some pretty tough producers with the same attitude in my day.” I puffed my chest out. “Not to brag, but trust me, I can handle it.”
“You think so?” Olivia glanced significantly out the large picture window. “Okay, then, there’s your chance.” She made a jerking motion with her thumb. “See the white-haired crone standing on the corner, talking to the short, stout guy? That’s Amelia.”
I peered out the window and almost fell off my chair.
Amelia Witherspoon was the white-haired woman I’d seen earlier in the park. The one who’d given me the dagger eyes. Lovely.
About T.C. 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 and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing. They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and rebranded in June of this year as “Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries.” Book 1 will be re-released in June with a brand new cover! The series is continued in 2022 with book two, KILLERS OF A FEATHER, from Beyond the Page. Catch up with them at ROCCO’s blog, www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or her website, www.tclotempio.net
Purchase Link – Amazon – Preorder Price is $3.99 Price will go up to $4.99 on Release Date.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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