Mew is for Murder

Mew is for Murder

""Mew Is for Murder" is the newest mystery for cat lovers. It's also one of the best."

Theda Krakow is in a funk. She desperately needs a headline to get her life back on track.

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About the Book

Theda Krakow is in a funk. Her sometime boyfriend’s gone for good. The death of her beloved cat opened a bigger void. And the career leap she’s made from copy editor to freelance writer has left her finances—and her spirit—flat. She desperately needs a headline to get her life back on track.

One day, out for a stroll in her Cambridge neighborhood, Theda spies an adorable stray kitten. This charmer leads Theda to an old woman holed up in a decrepit house full of cats. Is this one of those “crazy cat ladies,” a classic hoarder, or is the old woman a neighborhood do-gooder? More important: is this the story to catapult Theda out of the dumps? But when she returns to interview Lillian Helmhold, Theda finds her fascinating subject dead of an apparent accident. The neighbors are celebrating, the police aren’t interested, and the cats are removed to a shelter. End of story? Not for Theda—one or two things don’t compute. So Theda marshals her investigative journalism skills to turn gumshoe.

Why is the purple-haired punk Violet, a barista at Theda’s favorite coffee house, hanging around Lillian’s home? Then there’s Lillian’s neighbor who’s only too anxious to clean up an eyesore. What’s the story on Lillian’s disturbed son? Theda’s inquiries lead her from a halfway house in the hills of Western Massachusetts back to Boston’s happening rock scene. Enter a music-loving artist, the one who jumpstarts Theda’s pulse. He’s handsome, he’s interested—but is he a bit too mysterious? Theda’s quiet life, her heart, and her bank account are about to be shaken to the core.

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Journalist Simon (The Feline Mystique) makes an auspicious fiction debut with a well-plotted cat mystery that's not your usual four-footed cozy caper. Theda Krakow, an appealing freelance feature writer, really gets down to "kickin' " blues and the Boston rock scene. When Theda goes to interview "cat lady" Lillian Helmhold at home in Cambridge, she finds Lillian dead and her cats circling the woman's big Victorian house in distress. Lillian's death appears to be an accident, but someone keeps breaking into her house, which is rumored to contain treasure in the late owner's stacks of boxes and papers. Suspects include a coffee-bar waitress who helped Lillian with the cats, Lillian's schizophrenic son and an avaricious realtor who lives next door and hates cats. Simon writes well about the visceral tug of today's rock music. We feel the feral heart of true hard rock, and the way the sound, the dancing and the booze all blend into something close to good sex. If the ending borders on the saccharine, and a cat named "Aslan" who saves the day is a little much, this is still a strong start to what one hopes will be a long series.
– Publishers Weekly
Boston journalist Simon wisely sets her debut novel in the city she knows best. In fact, sharing a native's insight into Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, and other Boston-area haunts does much to make up for a somewhat predictable plot. Simon's protagonist, Theda Krakow, is a copy editor who has recently made the move to freelance writer. Desperately seeking stories, Theda sells her editor on an idea to interview Lillian Helmhold, a "crazy cat lady" harboring numerous felines. When she shows up for the interview, Theda finds the old lady dead. Is it murder? A punk rocker named Violet, who helped with the cats, definitely thinks so. Theda feels that she owes it to Lillian--and her now homeless cats--to find the truth. With Violet's help, Theda tracks down Lillian's mentally challenged son, looks for a motive, and indulges in her after-hours passion--the rock scene in Boston's small clubs. Although the mystery is easy to solve, Simon brilliantly evokes the Boston music scene and imparts interesting tidbits about freelance writing. Perhaps most thankfully, she avoids the hypercutesiness of some cat cozies.
– Booklist
"Mew Is for Murder" by Clea Simon is the newest mystery for cat lovers. It's also one of the best.
– The Oregonian
Series: Theda Krakow, Book 1
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Year: 2005