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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review - Meow if it's Murder

I was intrigued by this new series premise and book blurb.  Here is my take on the new Nick and Nora mystery series (after the old "Thin Man" movies).

Author: T.C. LoTempio

Copyright: December 2014 (Berkley) 305 pgs

Series: 1st in Nick and Nora Mystery series

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery

Main Characters: Nora Charles former crime reporter, now a small business owner

Setting: modern day, Cruz, California

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger who had been a friend of Nora's mother.  There are some aspects to the reported account of Lola's death while her and her husband were out on their yacht that don't add up for Nora. She also finds a charming tuxedo stray cat she names "Nick" that she tracks to a PI who was hired by Lola's sister to investigate.  Seems nobody has seen the PI for a few weeks and he could be gone for good.  

Nora's crime reporter tendencies won't let the story go, even after a police detective keeps warning her off the case along with her best friend, Chantal, saying her Tarot cards show its dangerous. Indications point towards Chicago mob connections, but how that really works is fuzzy as Nora keeps digging. A fun side plot is how Nick has the eerie talent of leaving clues for Nora, like using scrabble tiles to spell out "FBI."

Nora is a great heroine, she is a milder crime reporter (not hardened) than what I initially anticipated for a Chicago reporter.  But, she works well for this type of mystery.  Nick, the cat who found Nora, picks up as intuitive guide to Nora -- reminiscent of the "Cat Who..." books with Koko giving clues. He is clearly a vital half of the "Nick and Nora" team for this series.  Chantal is Nora's best friend and is an interesting addition too.  Ollie, or Oliver Sampson, is the PI who was partnered with Nick's former deceased owner.  Nora and Ollie become friends and he seems setup to be in next books too.  Detective Daniel Corleone is the standard police/FBI romantic interest.  His character is well done despite being an overused character idea. 

The setting of Cruz California isn't really utilized much other than the marina and yachts.  The plot was surprisingly more complex than I expected and was well developed.  The pacing did a great job of keeping me engaged in the story and turning pages.  The climax had Nick and Nora confronting the killer with some good tense moments.  The wrap-up was short but sweet.

This debut book has a good foundation of a former crime reporter with an intuitive cat sidekick that delivered a good plot idea with creative writing and fun characters.  I am looking forward to many installments in this new series.  If you enjoyed the Lillian Jackson Braun books in their early years, you will probably love this series.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

Evergreen Hurricane Candles

Bring a touch of elegance to the dinner table or to your holiday display with these simple holiday hurricane candles.

You'll Need:

Glass hurricane candle holder
Evergreen pieces
Spray adhesive
Pillar candles

Before you start make sure you scrub the hurricane glasses completely with window cleaner. Pick nice flat greenery pieces & spray them liberally with the spray adhesive.

Let the greenery set a few minutes until the spray adhesive has become tacky, then carefully seat them on the hurricane glass.

Give it a few minutes time to dry, then trim the bottoms with decent scissors or shears.  I believe that the adhesive spray will keep the greenery from turning brown and brittle, but this is my first time.  If you wish to use artificial, I'm sure that would look just as lovely.

Finally, add a candle!

I found this project at Budget101 (click here).

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