Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Brushed Up on Murder by Ruth J. Hartman

Posted April 26, 2023 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, mystery/suspense, Ruth J. Hartman / 10 Comments

Mobile Cat Groomer Mysteries #1

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Level Best Books
RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2023
PAGES: 275

The life of a cat groomer isn’t just pampering purring felines, it’s murder.

Mobile Cat Groomer Molly Stewart loves her job. Until she finds the dead body of one of her pet parents stabbed with a garden implement in his back yard. When Molly’s uncle Russ becomes the prime suspect in the murder and the sheriff won’t consider anyone else, Molly claws through obstacles as she prowls for clues.

With help from handsome veterinarian Hank Chenowith and Molly’s two cats, Percival and Jasper, will Molly succeed in proving her uncle’s innocence before the real murderer pounces on her?

I very much enjoyed Hartman’s Dial M for Meow and I’m eagerly waiting for more in that series. In the meantime, I picked up the first book in her newest Mobile Cat Groomer Mystery series – Brushed Up On Murder. As with the Bookshop Kitties Mysteries, this series is also an ode to cats and their quirky personalities. And, despite the fact that I’m definitely more of a dog person, I have found some cats IRL who are growing on me … and so are Hartman’s endearing feline characters.

From the moment I read about this book, I found Molly’s occupation unique and intriguing. A mobile cat groomer? I’ve read about pet groomers… and dog groomers… but not specifically a cat groomer. While she has a brick and mortar shop too, her mobile grooming van also serves as a story device, allowing her excuses to be in certain parts of town where she can also investigate. Might as well, right? lol. And if the mobile grooming job itself doesn’t provide her the opportunities she needs, just wait for Percival to take matters into his own… uh… paws. I loved Percival (cat hat!) and Jasper too, and I thought the subplot of them not getting along (until they found something that bonded them) added humor as well as layers to the story.

Something else I liked? Hunky Hank the vet. He adds a dash of romance potential for Molly which always makes me happy, and he made a good sidekick when it counted, too. Veronica and Jillian also shone in the sidekick department, and I enjoyed their meddling when it came to Molly and Hank (though sometimes it was a bit too obvious and overdone). Their teasing banter with Molly balanced nicely with their sincere care and concern for her as their friend, and I look forward to seeing how the roles for all three of these supporting characters continue to evolve as the series progresses.

Bottom Line: Brushed Up On Murder by Ruth J. Hartman is an entertaining cozy mystery with likable characters (both human and feline) and an intriguing plot with several layers to unpack. While I correctly suspected the culprit’s identity early on, I did not see the events unfolding the way they did – that ending kept me on my toes! I hope to spend more with Percival, Jasper, and – of course – Molly and Hank in future books soon!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!

Content: completely clean

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Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning mysterious tales. She, her husband, and their cats love to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies. Well, the cats sit in the people’s recliners. Not that the cats couldn’t get their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else’s.

Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find trouble without even trying.

Ruth’s husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her despite her insistence all of her books have at least one cat in them. See updates about her cozy mysteries at

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10 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Brushed Up on Murder by Ruth J. Hartman

  1. Janice Moore

    I’m interested in reading about this clean and entertaining book, especially to learn about cat grooming!

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