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 subgenre 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 restaraunt entrepreneur. She’s returned after a 12 year absence from reporting on crime in
back to her hometown of ,
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. Cruz, California
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
In fact, she’s moving back to Man. ,
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… Cruz, California
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.
In Book 2, CLAWS FOR ALARM, Nora’s investigation into the disappearance of Nick’s former owner takes a backseat when her sister is accused of murdering her art professor. Nora attempts to clear her sister’s name (with Nick’s help of course) and finds herself questioning a plethora of suspects. And, of course, complicating things is the homicide detective, who just happens to be a guy from Nora’s past….
And in the most recent, CRIME
CATNIP, Nick and Nora undertake finding a wealthy woman’s missing niece. It’s not long before Nora realizes that the
girl’s disappearance could also be tied to another interesting MIA, this one
closer to home….Nick the cat’s former owner, PI Nick Atkins.
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!
Date Published: December 6, 2016
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime
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...
About the Author
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 ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and the just released Cat Rescue Mysteries from Crooked Lane! The first volume, Purr M for Murder is out now! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or at www.tclotempio.net