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Two paws up for Ali Brandon's newest mystery

Plot Boiler: A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery

by Ali Brandon

Berkley Prime Crime

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date: November 3, 2015


The New York Times bestselling author of Literally Murder returns to Pettistone’s Fine Books, where the silence of Hamlet the cat speaks volumes about two mysterious deaths… It’s almost Fourth of July, and to boost customer traffic in their Brooklyn neighborhood, bookseller Darla Pettistone decides to throw a block party. All the local shop owners are thrilled—except the proprietor of Perky’s Coffee Shop, who thinks Darla is trying to poach his customers by selling her own caffeinated brew in her new bookshop café. But when Hamlet comes upon the owner’s not-so-perky wife, it’s clear a killer has crashed the party. And when a second local business owner shuffles off this mortal coil—as Hamlet’s namesake would say—Darla and her curious cat must perform some fancy footwork to shine a spotlight on a secret worth killing for…


Count on Ali Brandon to write a mystery that will make cozy lovers purr. Plot Boiler is a page turner, with a cat who is more than able to make his presence known. Hamlet, the mascot of Pettistone's Fine Books is a local celebrity who has had more than one rendezvous with murder.

In order to boost flagging sales, Darla and the other stores in her neighborhood are throwing a Fourth of July block party, complete with live music, performances by dancers and martial artists, and of course food and drinks. The only nay-sayer is George, the owner of Perky's Coffee Shop, who views the bookshop cafe as a threat to his business. The block party is a smash hit, but Hamlet's discovery of the body of George's wife Livvy puts an end to the celebration.

One reason I enjoyed Plot Boiler was the clever integration of vaping into the plot. I like mystery authors who use original methods in their murders. This is the first time I've seen E-juice used as a murder weapon. Another reason I like Ali Brandon's writing is that she not only has a strong understanding of human nature, she is good at surprising the reader.

Hamlet, as always steals the show with his eloquent felinity and timely interventions. He is definitely a far better long term prospect for Darla than Detective Reese.

If you are looking for a holiday gift for someone who loves cats and mysteries, look no further. Plot Boiler is a fantastic read.


I received an ARC of Plot Boiler from Berkley Prime Crime in exchange for an honest review.


Two paws up for Ali Brandon's newest mystery


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