Death Steals the Spotlight (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries)
by T. C. LoTempio
About Death Steals the Spotlight
Death Steals the Spotlight (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Beyond the Page Publishing (June 27, 2023)
Paperback : 202 pages
ISBN-10 : 1960511173
ISBN-13 : 978-1960511171
Digital ASIN : B0C62G13J9
It’s exit stage left, permanently, for a big-time director who lands the starring role in an unscripted death scene . . .
Desperate to find a director for their annual production, the Fox Hollow Players have a stroke of luck when Shell McMillan’s actress mother lands a prominent theater director for the job. He’s more gruff and demanding than the small-town cast and crew are used to, but his soft side for animals quickly endears him to pet shop owner Shell. Persuading her to let him use a shed on her property where he can work in peace, Shell is horrified when she finds his dead body there. And with obvious signs of foul play, she can’t help but investigate the murder.
As she digs into the man’s past, it becomes apparent that at one point or another, he was romantically entangled with just about every woman involved in the play. And just when Shell discovers he may have been blackmailing one of them, other clues surface that suggest a more sinister motive. With her hands already full with a beautiful stray cat she found and christened Princess Fuzzypants, Shell will have to fill two roles, caring for the Maine coon and trying to track down the killer before it’s her turn for a fatal curtain call . . .
The Fox Hollow Players are getting ready for their annual production and they are in dire need of a director. Shelle’s actress mother, Clarissa McMillian thinks she has found the perfect man for the job in Raymond Terrill but he may be too big for a small-town production. He is drawn to a Maine Coon cat that was found behind Shelle’s pet shop though. Their interactions spur Shelle to offer her backyard shed as a place where he can spread out all his papers and work without being interrupted. That works out fine until the stray, now named Princess Fuzzypants, alerts Shelle to come to the shed where she finds the man’s dead body.
He was a demanding director but who would want to kill Raymond Terrill? With the murder happening in her backyard Shelle feels emboldened to direct an investigation of her own. Can she cat-ch the killer? or will the killer cat-ch her?
Reuniting with these characters just makes me happy. Shelle is a fabulous protagonist. She is smart and funny and she really enjoys owning the Urban Tails Pet Shop that was left to her by her aunt. Her mother still thinks Shelle needs to pick up her acting career and get back to California but in this book Clarissa has much more to worry about. I love the friendly relationship between Gary and Shelle. He has her back and she has his. Shelle’s heart belongs to homicide detective Josh Bloodgood but the current murder case has a personal connection to him so his hands are pretty much tied. I also enjoy Shelle’s feline companions and the new cat, Princess Fuzzypants.
The mystery was complicated as Raymond Terrill had a past with several characters and as each clue/secret was revealed it shined a new light on different one of them. The police make an arrest but Shelle doesn’t believe it especially when Josh asks for her help. The author throws in some nice twists and a crucial clue that gives Shelle an “a-ha moment”. That clue sets up an exciting showdown that puts Shelle in danger. Thank goodness that girl can think on her feet. I really enjoyed the way Purrday and Princess Fuzzypants were involved in the story. Kalua seems to have no interest in the trouble Shelle gets into but she’s a pretty cool kitty.
While the murder mystery is solved the final page sets up another mystery when Shelle receives a package.
Death Steals the Spotlight is a captivating mystery featuring genuine characters set in a charming Connecticut town. Ms. Lotempio balances all the cozy elements with a precise hand to put forth a very entertaining read. I am very excited for this series to continue!
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About T.C. LoTempio
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 her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing. They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and rebranded last year as “Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries.” Number three in this series debuted June 27, DEATH STEALS THE SPOTLIGHT. Recent other releases include Book six in the Nick and Nora mysteries, A PURR BEFORE DYING, and book one in the new Tiffany Austin Food blogger series, EAT, DRINK AND DROP DEAD.
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