Release Date: December 2, 2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Series: Nick and Nora Mysteries
Nora Charles was a crime reporter in Chicago, but has recently returned to her hometown of Cruz, California to run her family’s sandwich shop, Hot Bread. Nora’s best friend Chantal Gillard considers herself a psychic and predicts a dark, handsome stranger will appear in Nora’s life. Nora has doubts about her friend’s extrasensory abilities, but technically Chantal’s prediction does come true. A “stranger” appears on Nora’s doorstep, but he is a plump black and white cat!
Although Nora gave up her crime reporting job in the big city, she continues to write articles for a local online magazine. She begins investigating the death of socialite Lola Grainger. The police are calling it an accident, but Lola thinks it’s murder. She has an unlikely supporter of her theory – the stray cat she has named “Nick”, which is coincidentally the name of a private investigator who disappeared investigating Lola’s death and was the former owner of her new pet. Nick makes it clear he agrees with Nora by spelling out clues to the murder with Scrabble letters and trying to keep them both out of the sights of a killer.
I really enjoyed this book and think it’s an excellent start to a new series. I love how Nora uses her experience as an investigative reporter to launch her own investigation. Nora is brave and intelligent and the reader gets to follow her as she conducts her investigation. There is plenty of action and real investigating in which to read, which I enjoy. Nora and Chantal are believeable and likeable as best friends and Nick, the cat, is an excellent sidekick. He’s more likable, intelligent, and helpful to Nora’s investigation than most human partners in mystery books. All three main characters are excellent. Then, there is the mysterious Daniel, who is also investigating the murder. Sparks fly between him and Nora, but his true motives are also a mystery. Nora sometimes ends up in dangerous situations during her investigation, but she never seems flighty or reckless, but instead appears daring and determined to get to the truth.
Don’t be fooled by the “clever kitty” aspect of the book. Nick comes across as another main character, not just a cute cat to add “coziness” to the book. Meow If It’s Murder is a cozy with depth. The characters have layers and the plot behind Lola Grainger’s murder is complex and intriguing. Nora’s investigating and sense of humor will appeal to fans of Hank Phillip Ryan or Sue Grafton. The book also includes two recipes from Nora’s sandwich shop at the end of the book. I enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end and am hoping a sequel follows soon.