Dial M for Meow (Bookshop Kitties Mysteries)
by Ruth J. Hartman
About Dial M for Meow
Dial M for Meow (Bookshop Kitties Mysteries)
1st In Series
Setting – Green Meadow, Indiana
Gemma Halliday Publishing (January 10, 2023)
Number of Pages 153
Digital ASIN : B0BKHF9T7K
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!
Christy Bailey is glad to answer her Aunt Betty’s call for assistance at her bookshop. Her now ex-boyfriend has left her broke and given her no reason to stay, so she packs up her cat, Milton and Pearl, and leaves the big city behind for small-town Indiana. To her shock, when she arrives at the bookstore, she finds a woman dead inside – and her aunt unconscious on the floor with blood on her hands. Literally. And when she comes to, Aunt Betty has no memory of what happened. Local law enforcement doesn’t seem too keen on looking far for other suspects, since Aunt Betty and the deceased had a bit of history. But Christy and her cats are on the case.
What an adorable start to a new series! I love the way life imitates art in the story. Christy writes children’s books about the crime-solving kitties, Milton and Pearl. In her real life, Christy’s actual cats seem to communicate with each other and with her to help track down clues and unravel the mystery. They aren’t just pets. They have purr-sonality! Milton and Pearl are the stars of the story in my opinion.
Hartman gives us other likable characters as well. Aunt Betty is a treat! I’m not sure how old she’s supposed to be, whether she’s middle-aged like me or closer to the elderly end of the spectrum. But she is full of sass and wants to be involved in sorting out what happened. Christy’s childhood friend, Janie, is also a lot of fun. Prone to being a little more huggy/touchy than I would be, but she’s very sweet and a good friend to Christy.
I also liked the spark of potential romance between Christy and hunky ER doctor Micah. He seems like a genuinely good guy, with a personality that likely makes him a really good doctor. I hope to see their relationship develop in future stories.
The one thing that didn’t hit quite right for me was the sheer number of curmudgeonly and outright unpleasant characters in the story. Small towns have characters, sure. I grew up in a small town. I live in one now. You’ve always got those people that everybody knows, and just accepts how they are. But to have so many unlikable characters in one small town? Maybe they didn’t have to all be QUITE so disagreeable. Although that did make it a challenge to figure out which one of them was the killer, so perhaps there’s some logic to that after all!
Clever cats, likable characters, a bookshop, and a well-written mystery all add up to a five-star read for me!
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Gemma Halliday Publishing. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
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.
Purchase Link – Amazon (affiliate link)
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