Dial M for Meow
Bookshop Kitties Mysteries, #1
Ruth J. Hartman
1st In Series
Setting - Green Meadow, Indiana
Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing
Publication Date: January 10, 2023
Number of Pages: 153
Digital ASIN: B0BKHF9T7K
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About Dial M for Meow:
When children’s book author, Christy Bailey, receives a call from her aunt Betty to help out at her bookshop, she drops everything to go. Christy packs up her two cats—Milton and Pearl, the stars of her children's mystery books—and leaves busy Philadelphia for tiny Green Meadow, Indiana. The timing of the call is perfect, as Christy’s letch of an ex-boyfriend has just cleaned out her savings, leaving Christy with a pile of unpaid bills and a desire to start over. And what better place to do that than a charming small town in Middle America?
But when Christy reaches her aunt's bookshop, instead of small town hospitality she finds a dead body! Even worse, her aunt is passed out in the corner, hands covered in blood. The dead woman is an old frenemy of her Aunt Betty, and while Christy knows her aunt is innocent, the local detective isn't so sure. With Milton and Pearl prowling for clues, Christy is determined to find the real killer and clear her aunt's name... before her story ends in tragedy!
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Get ready for a new cozy mystery series that’s quirky and full of feline fun!
Dial M for Meow is the debut novel in Ruth J. Hartman’s new cozy mystery series, the Bookshop Kitties Mysteries. With a loving cat-mom main character, a caring but needy sidekick-friend, two suspiciously smart felines, a puzzling homicide, and a more-than-the-usual drama-filled small town, get ready for a cozy mystery that’s fun and unique.
Christy Bailey, children’s author and devoted cat-mom to the inspirations for the feline sleuths in her books, Pearl and Milton, seems like such a genuine young woman. She was completely taken in by her ex-boyfriend, and I felt so bad for her. I truly wanted her to succeed and save the day for her aunt from the very start. I felt like I was still getting to know Aunt Betty in this book, but so far, she’s a strong and caring woman who loves her niece. Janie Lambert has apparently had a rough past, and I feel there is much more to learn about her in the future. She constantly clings to Christy, and there’s got to be more to this behavior than we know.
The murder victim proves to have a number of individuals with a grudge against her, providing fodder for Christy’s snooping. A couple of warnings from the killer only urge her on with her questions, especially when reporting them to the local police only seems to draw increased scrutiny of Aunt Betty. I wondered how the police could possibly believe Aunt Betty might have knocked herself unconscious after committing the murder.
The story is well done, and the action certainly held my attention but one difference that made this cozy debut stand out from others was that the quaint little town of Green Meadows is populated by the nastiest bunch of people ever! The town sounds lovely with its collection of fun, cleverly-named shops, but each one seems to be owned, operated, or managed by a weirdo or an ill-tempered jerk who certainly doesn’t want any business. After Christy’s first experience at Petals and Stems, I couldn’t believe she even bought something there. The murder victim’s visitation or “calling,” though universally disliked, drew quite the crowd, but even her closest relatives couldn’t be bothered to receive visitors on her behalf. The attendees were most definitely there for the spectacle. Thankfully, some bright sparks, such as Dr. Yummy, provide a vestige of normality and, in his case, a possible love interest later down the line. I will definitely be waiting anxiously for the next book in this series, if not for the mystery or the hint of romance, for more of this collection of awful townspeople.
I highly recommend DIAL M FOR MEOW to cozy mystery readers who enjoy bright, young female sleuths, cats who act like cats, and incredibly quirky small towns.
About Ruth J. Hartman:
Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning mysterious tales. She, her husband, and their cats love to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies. Well, the cats sit in the people's recliners. Not that the cats couldn't get their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else's. Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find trouble without even trying. Ruth's husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her despite her insistence all of her books have at least one cat in them. See updates about her cozy mysteries at Ruthjhartman.com.
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