Death by Chocolate Lab (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Setting – Pennsylvania
Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01GBAG2T0
Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.
Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.
Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?
Includes recipes for homemade dog treats!
A Chocolate Lab names Axis, a Chihuahua named Artie, 3 huge rottweilers named Macduff, Iago and Hamlet and a Basset Hound named Socrates are all on a walk with pet sitter, Daphne Templeton and her sister Piper as the book starts out. Piper is a veterinarian and with the exception of her love life things are going well for her. Daphne lives with her rent free as she tries to get her new pet sitting business started. Piper’s ex Steve Beamus, is also part of this animal world in Sylvan Creek. He runs the Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. They are all going to be together for a dog agility event at Piper’s farm. But when Steve is found dead in a unlikely place on Piper’s property, the event come to a barking halt and Piper is the first name on the list of prime suspects. Plus Steve’s dog Axis is missing. Daphne has no choice. She needs to find that dog and prove to Detective Jonathan Black that her sister had nothing to do with Steve’s murder. But she may be biting off a little more than she can chew.
As a dog lover I was in love with the canine characters well before the end of chapter one. Socrates belongs to Daphne and she is fostering little Artie in hope of finding this unusual little dog a forever home. The rottweilers belong to a very well to do client. Axis, the victims dog is missing throughout most of the story and I was as anxious as Daphne to know that he was safe.
In addition to the 4 legged characters the story is filled with an great and unique cast of human characters. In addition to the sisters and the deceased, we meet Detective Jonathan Black. He is new in town, easy on the eyes and really doesn’t think Piper is guilty. Daphne, if she is honest with herself, would like to get to know the man better. Virginia Lockhart, owns the rottweilers with her politician husband but I think she loves those dogs more than she loves him. Mr. Peachy lives in a cottage on the farm and is sort of like a grandfather figure to the girls and helps out around the farm. We also meet some Sylvan Creek merchants. All the characters are well fleshed out and believable.
The story starts out at a good clip. The murder happens in the early chapters. Then the pace slows down almost too much but does pick up again. I usually read a book in two evenings. The slower pace gave me a good stopping point the first night and then I quickly finished it up on night two.
The mystery itself had plenty of suspects and when we reached the big reveal it just knocked my socks off. I was absolutely, and totally surprised. The story also reached a happy place at the end for two of the doggies and that made the reader very happy.
These characters were very engaging so I am excited for their next story. The Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries are off to an excellent start!
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”