Tell Tail Heart: A Cat Cafe Mystery By Cate Conte: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Aug 3, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Cate Conte

We have a bunch of pet mysteries this week including Tell Tail Heart, a Cat Cafe Mystery by Cate Conte aka Liz Mugavero, and Cate/Liz shares a guest post with us about cat rescue. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Tell Tail Heart, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

Tell Tail Heart: A Cat Cafe Mystery by Cate Conte
Review by Sandra Murphy

It’s off season on Daybreak Island, a time to repair, update, and plan for the next tourist season. Some businesses remain open, at least on a limited basis, for islanders. Maddie’s business, JJ’s House of Purrs is no exception. If you can stand the noise of the carpenters working to redo the layout of the old house, then the cat café is open, serving pastries and drinks, and furnishing a cat or ten to keep you company. If you should fall in love with one of them, no worries, they’re all available for adoption.

For days, a man has come in with his laptop. He does pet the cat who sits on his lap, but his concentration on his work is complete. Maddie didn’t recognize him, but her sister Val did. It’s Jason Holt, famous thriller writer. mystery

When a possible customer wanders in, Maddie’s surprised to see Jason and the woman seem to know each other. They don’t speak, and Jason leaves quickly, but there was definitely a look that passed between them. They were not happy to see each other.

When Jason’s body is found floating in the canal shortly after, Maddie has to wonder if it had anything to do with the odd woman. Jason’s widow arrives to collect his belongings, as does his writing partner, and the coroner rules that Jason was hit by a car. How did he end up in the water?

Add in missing items from the yacht club, a nosy board member, an eccentric resident called The Leopard Man, a huge Thanksgiving dinner for Val to plan, a potential cat napper, the renovations at the cat café, and romance in the air—Maddie’s life is never dull.

This is the third book in the series. Maddie doesn’t put herself into risky situations, at least not without telling someone where she’ll be. Her personal cat (NOT up for adoption), is JJ who loves to nap, ride in the car, and charm customers in the café. Although the suspect list seems short at the beginning, Maddie discovers not everyone was a fan of Jason. Maddie’s grandfather used to be the police chief and now dabbles in private investigation. He usually consults Maddie about his cases, but this time has firmly shut her out.

For an intriguing plot with several subplots to add to the tale and confuse the clues and characters you’d like to know, this is a good read whether for summer downtime or Thanksgiving recuperation. With a bit of a cliffhanger ending, readers will be anxious for book four’s arrival.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won’t see coming.

A Journey Through Rescue
By Cate Conte (aka Liz Mugavero)

I started doing cat rescue in my twenties, after my mother found an abandoned litter of kittens on her street. She wasn’t a cat person, but she knew I was. I had two cats at the time, and they were my best buds. So she called me in a panic, and I left work early to rush over and fish these babies out of the bushes in which they’d taken up residence.

My first thought, naturally, was to call a rescue group. In my inexperience then, I naively thought any rescue group would be delighted to take four adorable little kittens and find them good homes. What I didn’t know, being a rescue virgin, was that it was kitten season and these adorable little munchkins were coming out of shelter workers’ ears. And that no matter how much they wanted to help them, sadly the story was common, and there wasn’t any room at the inn. So I took matters into my own hands – I found homes for two of them, and the other two came home with me. As a matter of fact, I just lost them both last year at age seventeen. They passed away within six months of each other. They were awesome cats, and the thought that someone just threw them away still makes me crazy.

I decided after that experience that I needed to get involved in rescue so I could understand why space was so limited and the need was so great. So I did. And two decades later, with “only” four cats left from once-substantial herd, I’ve been doing some reflecting.

mysteryA lot of kitties have passed through my doors and my heart over the years. I think it’s fair to say animal rescue has dominated my life since those two kitties came into my life. With four cats at home, I went into the shelter at which I chose to volunteer, and within a week I’d found another kitty who absolutely needed me. His name was Tweetie, and he was the product of a terrible interbreeding and hoarding situation. He had chronic upper respiratory disease and giant, double – and in one case, triple – paws, and he was the sweetest guy you could ever want to meet. I adopted him at nine months and lost him at age eleven, way too young.

I’ve fostered (and failed), I’ve cleaned cages, I’ve done adoptions, I’ve set Hav-A-Heart traps in nasty areas to trap both feral and friendly cats alike, I’ve worked at feral cat clinics in Trap-Neuter-Return programs, and I worked on the ground floor with the team who started Connecticut Votes For Animals, a non-profit group that works for better laws for animals in the state.

I also took on too much. It’s a definite “thing” in the rescue community – this notion that you’re the only one who can take a certain animal home. Or you see a sign advertising free kittens and answer the call in order to offer spay/neuter services and end up taking responsibility for a super sick cat and her kittens—all before work one morning. Rescue workers can definitely burn out. It’s a delicate balance of caring for the animals and caring for yourself. Because if you don’t do that, you’re not giving your best to them.

I think back through the long list of furries I’ve touched in some form or another during this journey. I’ll treasure the memories of every one of them. My “legacy” rescue cats at the moment consist of four babies: 23-year-old Snow, 22-year-old Katsi, 14-year-old Jack, and 14-year-old CC. Having this few cats is like going back to the start of my journey, only with a lot more experience. It’s also more aligned with my current living situation, and I have two rescue dogs, too.

Animals will always be part of my life. What I’ve learned, though, is that there are many ways to help them, and that I have to look at all areas of my life and make sure they are balanced. It’s the most loving thing for everyone.

Meanwhile, though, if I see a sign for a free litter of kittens, I’m sure I’ll still call and point them toward some spay/neuter services…

To enter to win a copy of Tell Tail Heart, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “tail,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 10, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. 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. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week!

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

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

Liz Mugavero writes the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, the first of which was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. The seventh book in the series, Murder She Meowed, was released in January 2019. As Cate Conte, Liz also writes the Cat Cafe Mysteries. She lives in Connecticut with her rescue pals. She lives in Connecticut with her rescue pals.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. 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. Thank goodness for rescues. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. I love books with cats. Wish I could rescue more cats but the little girl I have now seems to be the jealous type.

  3. Wonderful feature and giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. rescues! I would love to read Cate’s book! A new author for me! Yea! almaj80(at)suddenlink(dot)net

  5. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. this would be a new series for me.
    Sounds interesting. I keep thinking
    about getting a fur baby (cat or dog)
    but haven’t gotten past that.
    thanks for helping those who have
    been abandoned.

  7. My son used to volunteer for our local humane society. He would take shelter pets to local nursing homes to visit with the residents. I support the shelter with donations and items that they need. I don’t think I could work in the shelter because I’d bring every animal home with me.

  8. We have a winner!


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