Death Steals the Spotlight An Urban Tails Pet Shop Mystery By T.C. LoTempio: Review/Giveaway

Jul 8, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card, and a link to purchase the book.

Once the star of the cable television series Spy Anyone, Shell Marlowe left her life as an actor behind after the show’s cancellation and she inherited her aunt’s pet store. Going back to her real name Crishell McMillan, Shell is fully embracing life in Fox Hollow, Connecticut, and happily running the Urban Tails Pet Shop.

Following her to the small town with the intention of dragging her back to Hollywood, Shell’s former costar Gary Presser instead found himself similarly charmed by this new lifestyle and has moved in as her culinary-gifted housemate. Less willing to leave the entertainment business life entirely is Shell’s mother Clarissa McMillan, who despite becoming a silent partner in an antique shop, continues to volunteer as the Fox Hollow Players theatrical manager. When they need a director for their upcoming production, Shell’s classically-trained mother uses her connections to lure in Raymond Terrill, a renowned Shakespearean stage director with a reputation for being as difficult to work with as he is talented. It’s that former characteristic that takes the forefront when he has arguments with the crew and with one of the guest actresses, Taylor Tyson, who just happens to be the cousin of Shell’s detective boyfriend.

When Shell unfortunately is the one to find Terrill’s dead body, it also means that her Detective Josh Bloodgood must recuse himself from the investigation due to a conflict of interest. Taylor had been involved with the director despite his lothario tendencies, and her alibi gets weaker as rumors against her become stronger. Using Gary’s baking skills as ways to bribe her way into a gossipy law office, Shell discovers that there is a growing list of motives to permanently remove the director from the production. Another mystery arrives in the form of an injured Maine coon cat, who more than lives up to newly-given name Princess Fuzzypants and makes herself at home in Shell’s home along with her felines Purrday and Kahlua. So, in addition to hoping that no one responds to her notice of a lost cat in the local newspaper, the former TV spy duo Shell and Gary continue their real-life investigations into the director’s murky past and shoebox of incriminating notes and photos.

This third in the series is a very fun depiction of the theater world with the added element of adorably quirky pets. Shell’s mother has very opinionated, if inaccurate, assessments of her daughter’s current living arrangements, but their relationship has grown closer as they accept one another’s life choices. It’s a good thing that Shell has an understanding and competent staff working at Urban Tails, as she spends a considerable amount of time tracking down witnesses and sifting through questionable stories. It’s easy to jump into the third of this series, but the fun dynamic between Shell and Gary will have readers going back to the start to further enjoy their banter and quips. The cover of this book is irresistible, and the intriguing plot and engaging characters deliver on that promise and provide an extremely enjoyable romp filled with theatrical characters, relatable friendships, and charming animal companions.

To enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “spotlight” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 15, 2023. You must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. The book sounds great and I love the cover!

    • Thank You Joannie!

  2. Thank you for the lovely review! T.C. Shell, Gary, Purrday and Princess Fuzzypants

  3. This sounds really good! There aren’t that many former child star detectives.

  4. Always enjoy T.C.’s books. Looking forward
    to reading this one. thanks

  5. Awesome cover! Really like the pet shop storyline. On my TBR list.

  6. I enjoy this author!

  7. I have read and enjoyed other books by this author. i would love to read Death Steals the Spotlight also!

  8. We have a winner!


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