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Mattie Hatter and the Gilded Gauge

Monday, December 5, 2016


Every Monday I will spotlight a different series that I have loved from the very first book. 

This week my series spotlight is on the
Nick & Nora Mysteries
by author
T. C. LoTempio


Author T. C. LoTempio on her series

Of Cats and Cozies…..and Nick and Nora!

Most of the mysteries on my bookshelf, I confess, are cozy mysteries.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, cozies are a sub-genre of crime fiction where the crime and the detection takes place in a small town.  Remember the old Murder She Wrote series? That’s a good example of a cozy.  The detectives in such stories are nearly always amateurs (cue JB Fletcher) sometimes retired lawmen or women. The majority of the detectives are of the female persuasion, and often hold jobs that bring them into contact with the other residents of their town.  More often than not they’ll have a contact on the local police force who’ll help them out with a clue or two.

The killers aren’t usually hard boiled serial killer types, and once unmasked, are most often taken into custody with little or no violence. If there is violence, it happens off-screen…no grisly murder scenes depicted in any cozies! Foul language is also kept to a minimum.  The murders are generally members of or related to someone in the town wherein the murder occurs and the motives – greed, jealousy, revenge – often are deep rooted. 

Cozies frequently revolve around a theme – for example, Diane Mott Davidson’s revolves around cooking, Parnell Hall’s around crossword puzzles, Monica Ferris’ needlework…you get the idea.  Animal lovers are also well represented, as well, which brings me to my cozy mystery series, debuting in December from Berkley Prime Crime…..think Jessica Fletcher with a cat and you’ve got it!

My series is the Nick and Nora mystery series.  Nora is Nora Charles, ex-crime reporter turned restaurant entrepreneur.  She’s returned after a 12 year absence from reporting on crime in Chicago back to her hometown of Cruz, California, to take over her deceased mother’s sandwich shop.  Shortly thereafter, Nora finds a surprise waiting outside her door – a stocky, black and white cat.  She takes the cat in and names him Nick (after Nick Charles, the Thin Man, of course).  She later finds out that the cat did in fact belong to a PI, Nick Atkins, who is currently MIA – she also finds out that Nick has many talents, among them the ability to spell out words with Scrabble tiles – plus, he’s got a nose for scenting out crime.

Here’s the teaser, taken from the back of the book:

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. 

The saga continues in Book 2, CLAWS FOR ALARM, with Nora’s search for Nick’s missing owner derailed by her sister’s getting jailed for the murder of her art professor.  And in Book 3, CRIME AND CATNIP, the mystery surrounding Nick’s former owner reaches a resolution – or does it?

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown. 
 
As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him...

I hope you’ll join Nick and Nora on some of their adventures, but even if a crime solving cat isn’t your cup of tea, I’m sure that there are many other cozies out there that are.  Sample the genre today – I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised!


Book One

First in a new series!

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.  

Book Two

“The purrfect sleuthy duo”* is back, and this time murder hits close to home for Nora Charles and her partner Nick, a stealthy little feline gumshoe groomed to solve a shocking crime.
 
Since inheriting her mother’s sandwich shop, Nora Charles is more about hot grilled paninis than cold-blooded murder—until her sister Lacey is arrested. The victim, an esteemed art collector and Lacey’s bullying professor, was stabbed in the heart. Apparently, all over a lousy grade.  
 
Off campus, things were just as dicey. The prof had an ex with secrets, a trophy wife set to inherit a fortune in masterworks, and a scorned student mistress. Going undercover, Nora realizes that investigating this crime is the biggest test of her sleuthing career. Because if she fails, even Nick’s animal instinct won’t be enough to rescue Lacey from a perfectly executed framing.

 
INCLUDES DELICIOUS SANDWICH RECIPES

Book Three
Available now for pre-order
Releases tomorrow
December 6!

Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.
While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown. 
 
As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him...


INCLUDES DELICIOUS SANDWICH RECIPES

MY REVIEW


I’ve been a fan of this since the first book, MEOW IF IT”S MURDER.

I’m so happy to have had the chance to once again spend time with Nora Charles and her feline buddy, Nick. This duo knows how to take a bite out of crime. And I’m sure Nick has no problem biting if he has to. For that matter, I think Nora wouldn’t either.

Author T. C. LoTempio’s writing has a certain something that grabs hold of the reader and won’t let go until the last page. As with books one and two, CRIME AND CATNAP quickly pulled me into the story, and there I stayed until I finished the last word. I will forgive Ms. LoTempio for keeping me up past my bed time. It was worth it a hundred times over.

CRIME AND CATNIP was a cozy with a little more than your normal element of suspense. With more than one mystery in play, Nora and Nick had their hands, and paws full. This tale of secret codes, espionage, and missing people will have you questioning everyone and everything.

Make sure to check out the simple yet yummy sandwich recipes at the end of the book!


This is a series that no cozy fan wants to miss!
Make sure to give it a try!



As always, please leave a comment and 
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3 comments:

  1. Thanks, Lisa! Happy Monday, to you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a great series, and one I have to check out. Thanks Lisa.

    ReplyDelete