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Dig your claws into Claws for Alarm

Claws for Alarm: A Nick & Nora Mystery

by T.C. LoTempio

Berkley Prime Crime

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date: November 3, 2015


“The purrfect sleuthy duo”* is back, and this time murder hits close to home for Nora Charles and her partner Nick, a stealthy little feline gumshoe groomed to solve a shocking crime.

Since inheriting her mother’s sandwich shop, Nora Charles is more about hot grilled paninis than cold-blooded murder—until her sister Lacey is arrested. The victim, an esteemed art collector and Lacey’s bullying professor, was stabbed in the heart. Apparently, all over a lousy grade.

Off campus, things were just as dicey. The prof had an ex with secrets, a trophy wife set to inherit a fortune in masterworks, and a scorned student mistress. Going undercover, Nora realizes that investigating this crime is the biggest test of her sleuthing career. Because if she fails, even Nick’s animal instinct won’t be enough to rescue Lacey from a perfectly executed framing.



Even if you aren't familiar with The Thin Man, you will enjoy these wonderful mysteries featuring Nora Charles, a former investigative journalist and Nick, her indomitable feline companion. Nick has the instincts of his dapper PI namesake. He possesses a unique ability to ferret out clues, guiding Nora through scrabble tile hints and segments of his previous owner's case journals. Together they form the purrfect sleuthing team.

In Claws for Alarm, Nick and Nora's talents are put to the test when Nora's sister Lacey is arrested for the murder of her art instructor. All the circumstantial evidence points in Lacey's direction – she was discovered standing over the body holding the murder weapon, and was heard threatening the victim earlier the same day. With the prosecuting attorney pressing for a fast trial, Nora and Nick have a limited time to find evidence proving Lacey's innocence. To top everything off, a former flame is in charge of the investigation. Nora goes undercover at the art school, where much more is going on than painting.

Claws for Alarm is a fun mystery well suited to animal lovers. The dapper and enigmatic Nick steals the show. Without the clues and insights he provides, Nora would be far less effective. I loved the way he kept dragging out the Mickey Mouse watch to indicate a Mickey Finn (a knockout drug) was used.

LoTempio ramps up the tension by setting a deadline for the trial. It is an effective technique, but it feels a little artificial, as trials are rarely scheduled for a week after an arrest is made.

On the whole, Claws for Alarm is a terrific cozy, and would make a perfect holiday gift for any cat lover or mystery lover. And for those hungry for more than a delicious mystery, LoTempio includes recipes for Nora's signature sandwiches.


I received an ARC of Claws for Alarm from Berkley Prime Crime in exchange for an honest review.


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