"Dial M for Meow" By Ruth J. Hartman: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Murder, Mayhem, and MEOW!

Christy Bailey learned about hardships the “hard” way. Her, now ex-boyfriend Tony, cleaned out her bank account and loaded up her credit cards. Deeply disappointed and with limited recourse, as well as resources, she’s decided to leave behind her failed relationship, financial woes, and Philadelphia. Her Aunt Betty came to the rescue suggesting she move to Green Meadow, Indiana, help run her bookshop, Words to Read By, and set up a children’s section. Christy should be good at that since she is the author of a children’s book series starring her own rescue kitties as “furry sleuths.” A new destination. A new direction. A new life.

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Image Source Gemma Halliday Publishing
Dial M for Meow
Earns 5/5 Strawberry Tarts…Compelling & Clever!

Christy arrives in Green Meadow with her fur buddies, Milton and Pearl, in tow. She’d not been to visit her Aunt Betty for quite awhile, but she’d loved being there on her summer holidays. The residents seem to know her due to Aunt Betty bragging about her books, especially her childhood friend Janie Lambert, who, with her own failed relationship tale to tell, owns a delightful pastry shop a few doors down from the bookshop. Christy does learn from Janie that her Aunt Betty had been acting odd as of late, not her regular energetic personality, and today, the bookshop had yet to open. Aunt Betty knew she was arriving today, so alarm bells were ringing. When she went into the shop to find her, she instead finds a gray-haired woman, sitting in a chair, dead, and nearby, her aunt dazed and covered in blood. Oh, my, what terrible thing has happened here? A threat. An argument. Then nothing. Just waking up to a murder.

Meow-velous! Ruth Hartman has penned an engaging mystery with what on the surface looks to be a messy romantic triangle, maybe a quadrangle. However, Christy’s love for her aunt, part of the romantic geometry, and penchant for mysteries leads her to delve deeper into the situation where she uncovers competitive relatives, a lady’s man reputation, hostile workplace, and rumors of a hidden treasure. The victim was not well liked; it seems she wielded quite the poisoned pen at the Green Meadow Gazette, but she may also have discovered a secret connected to John Dillinger that might have added greed to the motives. The drama is delightfully complicated with this twist and that turn and a few perilous predicaments for family, friends, and felines tempting me to fast forward to the end, but I resisted and totally enjoyed the journey!

Hartman’s writing style is descriptive with entertaining banter and multi-generational characters to entertain readers of all ages. The town, of course, is key to the direction of the story with its small businesses, close knit community, and gossip that causes some insights as well as interference. Christy is somewhat an outsider since she’s not a longtime resident which works for and against her, yet her aunt is well-liked so she in turn is accepted. Of course with cozies, the relationship between amateur and professional detective is a tricky dynamic, sometimes antagonistic and sometimes collaborative, but for Christy it seems a little of both. Cats can be an enigma in reality, and Hartman uses that to give Milton and Pearl their own spotlight even if it’s Christy who perceives them to be more like their literary persona. Romance is an element I enjoy and expect in my cozies, and Hartman does give Christy a few options to help move on from her ex. It’s great fun with murder, mischief, mayhem, and strawberry tarts!

Be a Big Fan of Ruth J. Hartman!

“Cozy Mysteries with a feline twist!” is Ruth J. Hartman mantra in her professional life, but her house full of felines offer some practical experience. Along with this new Bookshop Kitties Mystery, she writes the KittyBeret Cafe Mysteries with Ellie Warren, owner of the Kitty Beret Café, spending her time finding forever homes for rescued cats, serving lattes, and solving murders and the stand-alone Ring of Death: A Dorey Cameron Mystery with a sneaky cat, a mysterious caller, and murder. Meow-velous!

Facebook Friends: Ruth J. Hartman (Ruth Hodgkin)

Website: Ruth J. Hartman

Be a Big Fan of Gemma Halliday Publishing!

Facebook: GHPublishing

Website: Gemma Halliday Publishing

To enter to win an ebook copy of Dial M for Meow, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "meow,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 21, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. 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 in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
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. Thanks so much for hosting me on your site! :)

  2. I would love to win and read this book! Thanks so much for the chance! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. This sounds so good. I love books with cats. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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