New Cat Cafe Mystery: Cat About Town by Cate Conte

The first novel in a frisky new mystery series set in a small New England town, where an unlikely citizen is called in to solve the purrfect crime. . .

Maddie James has arrived in Daybreak Island, just off the coast of Massachusetts, eager to settle down and start her own business—and maybe even fall in love. When a stray orange tabby pounces into her life, she’s inspired to open a cat café. But little does Maddie know that she’s in for something a lot more catastrophic when her new furry companion finds the dead body of the town bully. Now all eyes are on Maddie: Who is this crazy cat-whisperer lady who’s come to town? If pet-hair-maintenance and crime-fighting weren’t keeping her busy enough, Maddie now has not one but two eligible bachelors who think she’s the cat’s pajamas . . . and will do anything to win her heart. But how can she even think about happily-ever-after while a killer remains on the loose—and on her path?

Maddie, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? 

Thanks for having me! I’m Maddie James, and I’ve just returned to Daybreak Island, where I grew up. My grandma just died, and my grandpa Leo needs me. But that’s nothing new – my family thinks I’m their own personal Dear Abby. You readers may pick this up as you start reading the series, but they all really love it when I solve their problems. Even when I was out west, it was inevitable – once a week I’d get a call from someone with a crisis to handle or problem to solve. Like the time my dad needed talking points written for an event he was attending and his assistant couldn’t do it. Then my sister Sam called me from the hairdresser’s chair once to ask me how many inches she should get cut off her hair! I mean, seriously. I’m not sure what any of them would do if I got hit by a bus.

Which character do you get along with the best?

Aside from JJ the stray cat I picked up? My best friend Becky. We’ve known each other since we were kids, when I was a burgeoning entrepreneur and she was dreaming of being editor of the Daybreak Island Chronicle. We stayed friends throughout my travels west, and now that we’ve both reached our goals and I’m back in town, we’re just picking up where we left off. She’s my voice of logic, my sounding board—and my main source of news, both on and off the record.

Which other character do you have a conflict with?

Officer Craig Tomlin, my high school boyfriend. It’s an interesting conflict—neither of us will admit it’s really a conflict! First he’s in the uncomfortable position of having to interview my grandpa – his former boss! – in a murder. To make it worse, I think he’s thinking we can rekindle our romance. I’m not sure I want that, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings. It’s kind of a dilemma.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

Ha! Love this. She needs to write faster! I have so many more stories to tell and adventures to have. And she needs to stop procrastinating too. I’ve heard that’s her worst habit…

What’s next for you?

I’ve got to get the cat cafe up and running! That’s if I decide to stay on the island…Keep reading, though. I assure you JJ and I will have plenty more adventures to tell you about.

About The Author

Cate Conte is the alter ego of Liz Mugavero. Liz is the author of the Pawsitively Organic Mystery series from Kensington Books, the first of which was an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She currently lives in Connecticut.

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New Paranormal Cozy Cat Mystery from Vicki Vass: Bloodline

>>> Enter to win a coffee mug and a print copy of the book <<<

Fleeing from the witch trials in Salem, Terra Rowan finds herself in modern day Asheville, North Carolina.

A dark spirit from the past hunts this last witch of Salem. With the help of the ladies of the Biltmore Society, Terra must discover the secret within the forest to preserve the bloodline.

Thank you so much, Frankie, for inviting me. My name is Terra Rowan, I am the heroine of Bloodline: A Witch Cat Mystery.

Island Confidential: Welcome, Terra! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

TR: I’m not as confident as I appear. I’ve had glimpses of my future, and it scares me.

Who’s the character you get along with the best?

TR: I have a kinship with Abigail and a great love for Mrs. Twiggs but to narrow it down to one if I have to, it would have to be Pixel. He is a gentle soul who takes pleasure in the simple things. He’s brave and a faithful friend and will not waver in dire straits.

Which other character do you have a conflict with?

TR: That would be Tracker. My first instinct is to avoid creatures of his ilk but there is a strength in him that I admire.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

TR: I think that she understands my world. She knows the hard work and research to earn my trust. She struggles with forming the perfect words to tell my tale but that makes her even more endearing. I believe the true measure of a person is in the effort not the result.

What’s next for you?

TR: To continue the journey that was set forth in Bloodline, my companions at my side.

About the Author:

With a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.

Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief.

She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, writer and musician Brian Tedeschi, son Tony, Australian shepherd Bandit, kittens Terra and Pixel, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

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New Kitty Couture Mystery and Character Interview: Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase

Lacy Marie Crocker’s whimsical pet couture has gained a following in New Orleans’s cozy Garden District, and word of mouth has traveled all the way to her favorite fashion designer, Annie Lane. Lacy’s thrilled when Annie schedules a private session at her home to discuss a companion line for her evening wear, but when Lacy arrives for the appointment, she enters the kitchen to two mewling Siamese cats–and one very dead Annie.


Lacy takes the kittens home to care for them until they can be properly claimed by Annie’s family or friends, but after a busy day of work, she returns home to find them missing. And when Lacy learns the cats are set to inherit Annie’s fortune, she begins to wonder if the killer was after the kittens all along. Now Lacy will stop at nothing to save the Siamese and find justice for Annie–if the killer doesn’t sink his claws into her first.

Luckily, Lacy has the help of handsome NOLA PD homicide detective Jack Oliver to help her catch the cat-napper before its too late in Cat Got Your Cash, the endearing second Kitty Couture mystery from Julie Chase.

Lacy, welcome to Island Confidential. Tell us a little bit about yourself–both something we learn from Cat Got Your Cash and something that readers might not guess? 

LMC: Hmm. Well, Louisiana is my home. Specifically, the famed New Orleans Garden District. I left for college about ten years ago, hoping to find myself and break free from my parents’ money. I came bouncing back on my broke behind last summer, after an awful breakup with Pete-the-Cheat. Life, right? I decided to put my Yankee fashion degree to use NOLA style by opening Furry Godmother, a custom costume and clothing boutique for pets. It’s my personal slice of heaven, and I’m not sure why I ever left. I’ll blame naivete and youth. Also, my mother. I guess everyone knows that about me by now. What they might not know is that I’m a hopeless romantic. I put up a good front, but all I really want in life is a marriage like my folks’ and enough sequins and glitter to jazz up the world.

Who’s the character you get along with the best?

LMC: I love my best friend, Scarlet. She’s been my partner in crime since we were in diapers. Unfortunately, she has three little ones in diapers at the moment, so she’s a little busy. I’m on my own for most of my adventures, but when she slips in to join me, the mischief is 100% more fun.

Which other character do you have a conflict with?

LMC: I have an ongoing conflict with New Orleans homicide detective, Jack Oliver. He’s a pill, but he’s really easy on the eyes and he means well, so we work out the differences. For example: He wants me to stay out of his investigations, but I want to solve the crimes. He threatens obstruction, so I promise to behave. And the dance continues.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of Julie Chase? 

LMC: She’s a worrier. I’m fine. This is my town. I tell her to relax and enjoy the story, but every time I check in on her, she’s got her shoulders pressed to her ears, and she’s puffing into a paper bag. Just breathe, Julie. I’ve got this. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

What’s next for you? 

LMC: In September you can read about the trouble I got into after my dad was accused of murder in Cat Got Your Secrets. That experience was a doozie, but I got to kiss a devastatingly handsome man, so the whole near death experience trauma kind of evened out.


About The Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency.

Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Learn more about Julie at






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New cozy cat mystery: Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio

>>>Enter to Win a Print Copy<<<Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.


About the Author

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 ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog | Website | Amazon | Twitter



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New #Audiobook: Murder Strikes a Pose

new-murder-strikes-a-pose-book-blast-large-banner640Murder Strikes A Pose
by Tracy Weber
Audio Edition

Written by: Tracy Weber

Narrated by: Anne James

Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher’s Summary

Seattle yoga instructor Kate Davidson often acts more like a champion fighting rooster than the Dalai Lama. When she’s not teaching yoga, she spends her time hiding from her creepy landlord and dodging her best friend’s relentless matchmaking attempts. Even though her father was a cop, Kate has zero crime fighting aspirations. She has enough trouble keeping her struggling yoga business afloat while trying to live up to yoga’s Zen-like expectations.

Then she stumbles over a body in the studio’s parking lot.

The police dismiss the murder as drug-related street crime, but Kate knows that George – a homeless alcoholic she had befriended-was no drug dealer. And if the police won’t take his murder seriously, she’ll just have to solve the crime herself. After all, “Drunk Dies in Drug Deal Gone Bad at Yoga Studio” isn’t exactly the free publicity she’s been hoping for.

Kate stretches herself and takes on two new challenges. First, solve George’s murder. Second, find someone-anyone-willing to adopt his intimidating, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, before Animal Control sends her to the big dog park in the sky.

But with Bella’s time almost up and the murderer hot on her trail, Kate will have to work fast. Or the next time she practices Corpse Pose, it may be for real.

©2014 Midnight Ink (P)2016 Tracy Weber


“Weber’s debut, which launches the Downward Dog series, should appeal to anyone who likes canines, yoga, and a determined sleuth. … Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment.”
Publishers Weekly

“Weber’s debut fits into that newest of intriguing niches, what I call “extreme cozies.” While the yoga and the animal rescue (and a potential romance, of course) neatly fit the amateur sleuth mold, Weber breaks new ground with her protagonist’s desire to remedy a social ill, in this case, urban homelessness. The series has tremendous potential, particularly with Kate’s BFF’s humorous help, and some seriously good yoga tips.”
Terry Jacobsen
Library Journal

“What a treat! A charming heroine, a cantankerous pooch, and a clever page-turner of a mystery make for delightfully original entertainment. You don’t need to love yoga to love this series—its good karma makes it an instant winner.”
Hank Phillippi Ryan

“Make room on the cozy mystery bandwagon—there’s a new dog in town! Cozy mystery readers will love the soft-hearted, self-deprecating yoga teacher and her German shepherd sidekick in Tracy Weber’s debut, Murder Strikes a Pose.”
Lucy Burdette

“Weber’s debut novel is a yogalicious romp. She mixes yoga with sleuthing and the perils of second-time-around dating into a compelling, inviting read.”
Maggie Toussaint
DIME IF I KNOW (Five Star/Cengage)

“Kate Davidson’s pluck, humor, and determination make her a welcome addition to the ranks of amateur sleuths. Reading Murder Strikes a Pose made me want to study yoga. It also left me hoping for a sequel so that I can visit with Kate and Bella again.”
Laurien Berensen

Murder Strikes a Pose, by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davison, a caring but feisty yoga teacher who’s recently opened her own business, Serenity Yoga. When Kate meets a homeless man named George and his loud but loving German shepherd Bella, life in her colorful Seattle neighborhood turns upside down (or dare I say Downward Dog…). Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!”
Penny Warner

“When a good dog seems to go bad, a yoga teacher comes to the rescue in this charming debut mystery. Murder Strikes a Pose pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn’t put it down!”
Waverly Fitzgerald

“We hope to see more Downward Dog Mysteries. Our judges thoroughly enjoyed reading this murder/mystery/suspense manuscript. The writing is fresh, the story is relevant on several levels, and the suspense keeps the pages turning. A hands down winner!”
Chanticleer Book Reviews

“Three woofs for Tracy Weber’s first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose. Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogs—what more could we want? Ah, yes – the next book!”
Sheila Webster Boneham


Tracy Weber Small HeadshotAbout Tracy Weber:

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.

A certified yoga therapist, Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, as well as the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible.

Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their crazy new German shepherd pup, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website:

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I’m on the W.E.T Podcast with professor/noir author Erik Marshall

That’s Writing, Education, Technology.




We discuss mysteries, campus feuds, online ed, head colds, online reviews, and more. Come listen!


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#Book Blast: Dandelion Dead by Chrystle Fiedler

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Dandelion Dead
by Chrystle Fiedler


Dandelion Dead: A Natural Remedies Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Pocket Books (September 27, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1476748931


In a cozy mystery filled with natural cures and edible plants that you will love, an organic winery becomes the backdrop for murder! Fortunately, solving crimes comes naturally to charmingly unconventional amateur sleuth and holistic doctor, Willow McQuade, as she looks for clues that will reveal a killer’s true vintage.

Business is blooming at Nature’s Way Market & Café, and shop owner, holistic doctor, and amateur sleuth, Willow McQuade has never been happier. Her new medicinal herb garden is a hit, so is her new book, she’s in love with ex-cop and animal rescuer Jackson Spade, and enjoying teaching seminars about edible plants and natural remedies.

But everything changes when Willow’s old boyfriend and TV producer, Simon Lewis, winemaker David Farmer, and his wife Ivy, ask her to cater a party at Pure, their new organic vineyard, to kick off North Fork’s Uncorked! week and the competition for Wine Lovers magazine’s $200,000 prize. Pure’s entry, Falling Leaves, is the favorite to win, and the wine flows freely until after Simon’s toast when smiles give way to looks of horror. Ivy’s twin sister, Amy has been murdered! Turns out, the poison that killed her was actually meant for David. But who wants him dead? A rival vintner? Or someone closer to home? This time the truth may be a bitter vintage to swallow.


About the Author

CHRYSTLE FIEDLER is a freelance journalist specializing in natural remedies, alternative medicine and holistic health and healing, and is the author of the Natural Remedies Mysteries series. Her many consumer magazine articles have appeared in USA Today’s Green Living, Natural Health, Remedy, Mother Earth Living, Spirituality & Health, and Prevention. She is also the author/co-author of seven non-fiction health titles including the Country Almanac of Home Remedies with herbalist Brigitte Mars, and The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty with Vegan Beauty Review founder, Sunny Subramanian. Chrystle lives on the East End of Long Island, NY in a cozy cottage by the sea. Visit

Author Links

Website link:


Twitter: @ChrystleFiedler




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Character Interview and #giveaway: Nine LiFelines, a Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery

>>>Enter to win one of eight Kindle copies of Nine LiFelines<<<
The elevator won’t go to the tenth floor, someone is breaking into condos, and the well-heeled Ukrainian renter isn’t paying the rent.

Beth and Arnie have retired to the building where Beth’s last rental unit is located, and Beth, the klutzy landlady, has declared herself through solving mysteries. Then, her renter is arrested for the murder of the neighbor who fell (was pushed?) from the tenth-story balcony and the dead neighbor’s grandchildren are left with only their wheelchair-ridden grandmother to care for them. Beth feels compelled to help out. Are Sylvester’s psycho-cat behaviors providing clues? Is the renter actually the killer? Do the break-ins and elevator problem have anything to do with the murder? Even Arnie, who has always told Beth to keep her nose out of police business, gets involved—for the sake of the children.

Today we have Beth’s sister, Meg Knells, visiting our blog. 

Q: Meg, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something readers might not guess?

A: You may think I’m a staid middle school teacher, but I my younger years, I was a party girl. Beth’s and my mother died when we were teenagers, and I tried to help guide my little sister. Later, I dropped out of college for a couple of years to bartend and travel. In Europe, I hitchhiked across the continent until I met my future husband, Paul, in Italy. We came home and settled down.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? Why?

A: I get along with my sister, Beth, now. We’re best friends. She has an adventurous spirit. A few years ago, she flew to the Virgin Islands to find my missing stepdaughter who was accused of embezzlement. (Catastrophic Connections) Since then, I’ve helped her solve other problems.

Q:  Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why?

A: I’m not a fan of Detective Renquire. He never seems to do enough to find the real killers. Well…I mean…I guess he comes through in the end.

Q:  Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

A: To tell the truth, I am the result of a bit of a learning curve in Joyce Ann Brown’s mystery writing exploits. Sure, I was there as the sidekick to her sleuth, Beth Stockwell, from the beginning. But, in Nine Lifelines, her latest book in the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series, the development of the characters and the twists and turns in the plot make this her best book yet.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Oh, I’m done helping Beth solve her mysteries. I’ve retired from school teaching and want to relax. I’m taking a quilting class and am thinking about writing a family history. Sigh…I suppose if Beth asked me, I’d be there for her. After all, she is my little sister. Her causes are compelling. I do come up with clever ideas to help gather information. Sigh…Smile.



“Don’t tell me. Let me guess. We stopped on the wrong floor—again.”

Beth’s lanky husband, Arnie, his bottom half inside and his top half outside the elevator, held the Open button with one finger while he twisted his head around his grocery sack to see the number above the door in the hallway. He had pressed 10 in the lobby, and the display read 10, but the number in the hall didn’t match.

“It took us to the eighth floor this time,” Arnie said, “and there’s no one here waiting—again.” He pulled his head back inside and punched the 10, none too gently, his irritation emphasizing the wrinkles on his suntanned forehead.

“This has happened every time.” Beth shifted her bulky grocery bag to the other arm and ran her hand through her undisciplined silver-blond curls. “Don’t you think we’d better tell the management? Darn it, I’m getting tired of this.” She bumped her bag with the arm she jerked down to emphasize her words. “Oops.” Arnie caught and stabilized her load before the groceries could fall all over the elevator floor. “Thanks.”

“Sure.” Her husband took Beth’s habitual klutziness in stride.

“This problem has probably been reported,” Arnie said. “We just moved in. We don’t want to start complaining so soon.”

Beth sighed and leaned her small frame back against the wall to relieve the weight of her package. “But this is inconvenient and…and spooky and…”

She glanced through the opening from her new viewpoint just as the doors were about to snap together. With her free hand, she slapped the Open button, and the doors swooshed aside as if this unruly machine was always obedient to her every command. As if.

“Arnie, look. Something’s going on. Half the people in the building are standing in front of a door down there.” She took a step out into the hallway and crooked an index finger at Arnie.

With a skeptical frown, he followed. “Maybe they’re getting ready for an outing or something. We aren’t invited. It’s none of our business.”

“No, it looks like they’re looking at the door. Let’s go see what’s going on. We can explain we’re new to the building and accidentally got off on the wrong floor.”

“Humph. Here, give me your bag. I’m going on up. You can satisfy your curiosity without getting me involved.”


Beth heard snippets of conversations as she neared the cluster of people. “Something needs to be done.” “I’m having double locks installed.” “One of these times, someone will be home, and then what will happen?”

At the edge of the noisy crowd, Beth sidled up to a young teenaged girl who was holding a phone that emitted a constant series of beeps and chirps. Sending and receiving text messages, Beth decided.  She must be telling the world, or at least her sphere of friends, about whatever was happening.

“What’s going on here?” Beth asked.

The kid, her wavy red hair half over her face, glanced sideways at Beth and then back at her phone. Somehow she kept her thumbs busy punching letters while she answered. “Another lock was picked. That old woman’s apartment got robbed.”




Joyce Ann Brown, the author of the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series, set in Kansas City, was a librarian, a landlady, and a Realtor before becoming a short story and novel writer. She also has two mischievous cats.

Her actual tenants have never disappeared, murdered, or been murdered. Nor have any of them found a skeleton in the attic. Joyce has never solved a crime. Moose and Chloe, her cats, haven’t sniffed out a mystery, at least not yet.

Joyce spends her days writing (with a few breaks for tennis, walking, and book clubs) so that Beth, the landlady in the series, and Sylvester, the Psycho Cat, can make up for her real-life lack of excitement in a big way.

Author website with Blog:



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The Cat, the Collector, and the Killer

Coming August 2, 2016

the cat, the collector and the killer

The Cat, The Collector and the Killer (Cats in Trouble Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
An Obsidian Mystery
An Imprint of New American Library
Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451477408
E-Book ASIN: B01839Q396
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret, a cat collector is suspected of murder.

Jillian Hart and police chief Tom Stewart are enjoying peaceful, newly wedded bliss in Mercy, South Carolina, until a woman is found wandering the streets one night. She’s in her night clothes, disoriented, and carrying a kitten in a tote bag. A search of the woman’s house reveals many more cats, a maze of cardboard boxes—and a dead man.

Although the evidence suggests the frail woman is the killer, Jillian doesn’t believe she’s capable of such a crime. The dead man had many enemies in town, which means finding the real murderer may prove to be its own cat and mouse game…

leann sweeney

Find out more about Leann and her books on her webpage here. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Also by Leann Sweeney


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Author Interview: Clea Simon

Last Month, Library Journal said a number of nice things about The Musubi Murder. But the nicest was this:

VERDICT Certain to appeal to readers who love well-drawn settings or academic cozies such as Sarah Shaber’s “Simon Shaw” series or Clea Simon’s “Dulcie Schwartz” books.

The Dulcie Schwartz series began with Shades of Grey, in which Dulcie, a doctoral student at Harvard, receives a lifesaving warning from the ghost of Mr. Grey…her cat. Shades of Grey was followed by Grey Matters, Grey Zone, Grey Expectations, True Grey, Grey DawnGrey Howl, Stages of Grey, and her newest, Code Grey.

Booklist, the review publication of the American Library Association, had this to say about Code Grey:

Working on her dissertation, Dulcie Schwartz is one of the few people remaining at Harvard over spring break. Her scholarly pursuits are interrupted when she comes to the defense of a former Harvard student, Jeremy, now homeless, who is found at a construction site, holding a long-missing, valuable book. Police like Jeremy for the rash of recent campus break-ins, but Dulcie doesn’t buy it. With the help of her friend, rare-books librarian Mr. Griddlehaus, she begins to research the history of the missing book, which was part of a collection donated to the library decades ago, when Griddlehaus, Jeremy, and the head of facilities were all students. Cats play a role, of course, in sorting out the mystery, and Dulcie’s abilities to communicate with felines comes in very handy. This unusual and intelligent series continues to surprise, with additional backstory on some of the characters adding layers of interest. Readers will not want Dulcie to finish her dissertation anytime soon.– Booklist, July 1, 2015

Code Grey CLEA

I’m thrilled to have Clea here today, kicking off the blog tour for Code Grey.

Q. Can you tell us what the book is about?

A. This is the ninth Dulcie Schwartz mystery. Dulcie is a graduate student, writing her dissertation on an 18th Century Gothic novel, so as you can imagine her own life takes a Gothic turn, full of ghosts and odd happenings – but the one friendly constant is the ghost of her late, great grey cat, Mr. Grey. Mr. Grey looks out for her (and for her boyfriend and new cat, Esmé). In “Code Grey,” Dulcie is doing research over spring break,when she stumbles over a former student at the college and a rare book that has been missing, assumed stolen, for years…

Q. What kind of research did you do for Dulcie’s life and daily routine? Were there any surprises when you were doing your research?

A. By now, I know Dulcie’s routine fairly well! I never went as far as Dulcie did in my education, but I spent my years in the library as an undergraduate! For Code Grey, I did research both book conservation and stolen books. Did you know there’s an online registry of stolen books? The idea is that rare book dealers should check whenever anyone brings anything suspicious in to sell and they can check everything from watermarks to the provenance of various publications… Creepy, huh? The restoration part was incredibly fun – learning how conservators stabilize centuries-old paper and what ancient ink looks like after a few hundred years… I think of Code Grey as a love story to books, in part.


Q. I love murder mysteries set on college campuses, from Gaudy Night onward. Is there something about the academic environment that gives rise to murderous passions?

A. I think readers love bookish things – and academia is the world of books. Don’t we all fantasize about a life where reading is our work as well as our play? Beyond that, for a mystery, it’s a perfect setting – a small, enclosed world full of rivalries and petty jealousies

Q. How do you keep a series fresh? Where do you allow your characters to change, and what do you keep constant?

A. It is hard! For me, part of what keeps changing is Dulcie’s work on her dissertation. She has to keep progressing, so that’s always new. And she’s getting close to finishing. One of her friends has already graduated and gotten a post-doctoral position. As time passes in the books, the relationships change in a natural way, I hope. For instance, Dulcie is now quite secure in her relationship with her boyfriend – but she does wonder about some of her friends these days…

Q. On your blog, you list twenty-one books, several short stories, and quite a few articles in high-profile publications. Do you have any productivity tricks that you could share?

A. It’s not really a trick – I make myself write every day, Monday through Friday. This is how I want to spend my life, so I figure I need to view it as a job. Being a journalist was great training for this – you can’t afford the luxury of writer’s block when you have a deadline. Not if you want to get paid and keep your job. So I write every day. What I write might not be good. It might get thrown out, but I write!

Q. Writing can be very solitary. How do you balance the need for solitude with the need to get out and be with people?

A. I spend too much time on Facebook! But also I do make a point of making social dates with friends – going out for lunch every now and then or seeing people on the weekends. Otherwise when my husband comes home from work, I’d talk his ear off!

About The Author 

Clea Simon worked as a journalist and non-fiction author before turning to crime (fiction). She is the author of 18 mysteries in the Theda Krakow, Dulcie Schwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series. Clea grew up in New York, before moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Harvard. She fell in love with the city and lives there still with her husband, writer Jon Garelick, and their cat, Musetta.

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THE MUSUBI MURDER August 2015 Amazon / B&N /Powell’s /Audible / iTunes