Thursday, December 15, 2016

T.C. LoTempio's Crime and Catnip Blog Tour with a Spotlight, Excerpt, Guest Post and Giveaway


I am so excited to have T.C. LoTempio here at Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight, Guest Post and Giveaway.

Thanks T.C. and Goddess Fish Promotions for allowing me to join your Crime and Catnip Blog Tour!

Please take it away, T.C.! 

Guest Post

My Love Affair with Nancy Drew (and Others)

I’ve had a love of mysteries ever since I was ten years old and I read my first mystery: The Secret in the Old Attic, a Nancy Drew mystery! That sparked a lifelong hobby of collecting antique children’sseries books, which has culminated in the six banker’s bookcases full of series books that I have in my apartment today!

Nancy,of course, was the first one I read, the one (as with so many other writers) that inspired me to write my own mysteries. I loved all of her books. The thing that drew me to her in the first place, I’ll admit, were the covers – that skull peeping out at her from the wardrobe in the darkened attic set off many ideas in my ten year old mind! When I started reading the books, they had come out with what is referred to as “yellow spine”, and for years that was how I thought the books orginated. As I got older, though, and into collecting, I frequented the used book shops that used to be plentiful in NYC (a dying breed now – SO sad!) and soon learned that there were many, many other incarnations of Miss Drew!

For example: The first 34 Nancy Drew books in the original texts published from 1930 to 1956 contain 25 chapters and around 210 to 225 pages each. The first group were thick books with blue covers and the title in orange lettering. These books had a frontispiece illustration, and also what was referred to as “Internals”. Usually three internal drawings scattered throughout the book. The first editions ( or first printings) also had what was referred to as “blank” endpapers, the papers just inside the cover of the book. Later on I would learn that books like this are considered very rare indeed – a pristine copy of the first volume, THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK, with a dustjacket in excellent condition (no rips or tears) with blank endpapers can sell for thousands (yes, you heard me right – THOUSANDS) OF dollars!

Through the years, Grosset and Dunlap, the original publisher, put Nancy through many incarnations. The thick blue books got thinner, and the internals were reduced from three and the frontispiece to just the frontispiece; the blue cloth cover was replaced by a blue tweed one; in the late fifties/early sixties the dust jackets were abandoned altoghether in favor of a yellow-spined one piece book. And still later Nancy evolved into a paperback heroine! Applewood Books also issued reprints of the first twenty-two original Nancy’s with reproductions of original cover art and internals where applicable, which are also considered collector’s items.

There were other series that also had the dust jackets and internals, which I also collected as my mystery reportiore expanded – The Dana Girls, Hardy Boys, Judy Bolton to name a few. Later series were developed, with tweed books and dust jackets, focusing on gals with careers that I also found enjoyable: Vicki Barr, Flight Stewardess and Connie Blair, who worked in advertising. And who could forget Cherry Ames, Nurse?

This is just a brief listing of all the series books that I have tucked away in those six, five shelf banker’s bookcases. Mind you, these are the complete series of each one:

Nancy Drew, original hardcover with dustjackets, tweed hardcoverwith dustjackets and yellow spine- also Applewood reprints one through twenty-one.

Judy Bolton, original hardover w/dust jackets and green spine

Vicki Barr, original hardover with dustjackets

Kay Tracey, original hardcover with dustjackets

Connie Blair,orginal hardcover with dustjackets

And others too numerous to mention!

Most of the books are the ones that I bought when I was a child, either at the regular store or the used bookstore; however, a lot ofthem were acquired through Ebay (in the later years). And my collection isn’t finished by a long shot – I’m always on the lookout for a good, old YA mystery book!!!!!!! Plus, let’s not forget those foreign editions!

For those of you interested in finding out more about these vintage series, here are a few good resources:

About the Author

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE msyteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

Crime and Catnip
by T. C. Lotempio
GENRE: cozy mystery


While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him.


I twisted the knob and the door swung inward, almost hitting another furry shape crouched behind it. The cat that charged at me out of the darkness had a white body and an orange and white face. It’s fluffy white tail waved like a flag signaling surrender. It landed on all four paws and stood, back arched, bright blue eyes glittering.


I looked at Nick who’d sat back on his haunches and was calmly regarding the newcomer. “Is this what you wanted me to find, Nick? You wanted me to let this cat out of here?” I made an impatient gesture. “I told you I had things to do.”

I could swear that Nick shook his head. “Meeoow,” he yowled.

The other cat turned around twice, echoed Nick’s cry, and then shot like a guided missile back through the door. I peered cautiously inside. The room beyond was black as midnight, and I had no flashlight – nor did I have the cat’s extraordinary range of night vision. I felt along the wall and found a switch, which I flipped. Illumination revealed a flight of steps leading downward into what was most likely a basement or a storage area. Nick and the other cat were halfway down the stairs. Both paused, turned and looked at me and meowed plaintively.

“I do not have a good feeling about this,” I muttered. I cautiously crept down the stairway, emerging into what appeared to be the museum storeroom, filled to overflowing capacity with boxes, cabinets and trunks of varying sizes. I walked over to one and read the white and red printed label:


“Oh great,” I muttered. This was obviously the place where the packing was stored for the exhibit articles. The cats were dashing madly around the room – off to a large trunk on the left side, then back to me, around in a circle, and then back to the trunk. The orange and white cat began to mew pitifully as Nick chased a few red threads on the floor. Fighting the tingling feeling inching up my spine, I moved forward and saw a black Mary Jane dangling over the side, partially obscured by a swath of red satin.

With a sinking feeling, I walked all the way around, stopped and bit back a scream.

Daisy Martinelli sat sprawled in the trunk’s center, her neck cocked at a rakish angle, the red scarf tied around it pooled like a puddle of blood in her lap. One finger was caught in the scarf’s frayed edge, almost as if she were pointing. Her sightless eyes stared straight ahead, and a little bit of drool trickled out of the side of her mouth. Her arms were tangled in the folds of a scarlet cape looped carelessly around her shoulders.

I didn’t need to feel her pulse to see that she was quite, quite, dead.

AUTHOR Bio and Links

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM. #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog:


Amazon - Crime and Catnip

Amazon: All Books Page




T. C. Lotempio will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Please follow the rest of the tour here, thanks: