Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!
I am very excited to welcome Bethany Blake to Escape With Dollycas!
Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved three things: pets, books and cozy stuff.
For my 10-year-old self, the perfect day was rainy or snowy, just right for creating a blanket tent in the attic and retreating with a Nancy Drew novel and my dachshund, Greta.
Some things never change. As an adult, my house is filled with animals and books, and I recently traded my master bedroom for my daughter’s smaller room, even though I have to smoosh all my clothes into one tiny closet, while she gained a walk-in for her wardrobe.
Why did I make what seems like such a bad bargain?
Because small spaces are awesome – and my new room has a secluded alcove that I’m transforming into the adult version of that blanket tent.
My addiction to the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from being in the perfect, snug spot with your furry friends and your favorite stuff is why I started reading, and ultimately writing, cozy mysteries. I dreamed of creating a town filled with charming shops, cute cafés, and quirky characters. I suppose, when I set out to write the first Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery – Death by Chocolate Lab – I was conjuring up a vacation spot for my imagination.
If you open my books and “visit” Sylvan Creek – the pet-friendly setting for the Lucky Paws stories – you’ll find yourself spending time at Winding Hill, a lovely, restored 1800s farmhouse, complete with a tiny caretaker’s cottage. You’ll also visit Espresso Pronto, purveyor of hot coffee and homemade biscotti. And, while the locals crack crabs at the Lakeside – a dive bar on a rickety pier in Lake Wallapawakee – there’s fine dining at the Wolf Hollow Mill, a Revolutionary-War-era building with two fireplaces and a working mill wheel that spins against a stone wall.
The second book in the series, Dial Meow for Murder, is set during one of my favorite times of year: Halloween. You can probably guess that there will be autumn leaves, pumpkins, chilly nights spent by blazing fires, and maybe even a costumed pet parade through town.
The funny thing is, the “escape” I created is actually based upon my hometown of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I used to live in the Victorian house that is the setting for Moxie Bloom’s garret apartment. The fictional pet boutique, Fetch!, is based upon a real shop. And the haunted mansion in Dial Meow is modeled after a spooky, hilltop estate called the Slifer House.
If you’re a fan of all things cozy, I hope you’ll join me in Sylvan Creek as pet sitter and amateur sleuth Daphne Templeton tries to solve a mystery in the mansion with the help of her sidekick, a taciturn basset hound named Socrates. (Daphne will also be navigating an increasingly complicated relationship with handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black.) So grab a copy of the book, put on your favorite toasty warm socks and pj’s, and curl up in your comfiest chair with your furry friend. We’re never too old to recreate that blanket tent we loved when we were 10 years old, right?
Happy fall, everyone!
Thank you Bethany for stopping by today!
Dial Meow for Murder (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Kensington (September 26, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 342 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01MR1SVWX
Even an experienced pet sitter like Daphne Templeton can be fooled by animal behavior: how can an adorably tiny fuzz ball named Tinkleston be capable of sudden flying leaps with cat claws bared? But human behavior remains even more mysterious, especially when Tinkleston’s owner is murdered on the night of a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue.
Accompanied by her unflappable basset hound, Socrates, Daphne plans to take charge of Tinks the Terror and leave the crime-solving to handsome detective Jonathan Black. But while luring the prickly Persian out of hiding, she uncovers clues that might take suspicion off her own mother. Maeve Templeton already has a reputation as a killer—in real estate. How far would she go to bag Sylvan Creek’s most coveted property, the Flynt Mansion?
To expose the truth, Daphne finds herself donning a deranged clown costume on an autumnal adventure that might just be crazy enough to work—if it doesn’t get her killed.
Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!
Daphne Templeton arrives at Flynt Mansion just a little late to set up for the Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue fundraiser but she and Socrates look darn good in their costumes. Wait, why isn’t anyone else wearing costumes? Daphne is going to kill her sister, Piper, okay not actually kill her but scream at her maybe.
Some screaming does occur and there is a dead body, but it is not Piper. It is Lillian Flynt, owner of the mansion where the fundraiser is taking place. It is also a property their mother, Maeve, is trying to sell and she has a client willing the pay the huge asking price. Will the owner’s death halt the sale? Who killed the Lillian Flynt? The only witness appears to be a Persian cat named Tinkleston, and he is the crankiest cat Daphne has ever met. He definitely is not going to help Detective Jonathan Black find a killer. Heck! the detective even puts Maeve on the list of suspects. Daphne tries to stay out of the investigation but while trying to corral the kitty she uncovers an important clue and ends up in another costume to try to catch the mansion murderer.
Daphne is an excellent protagonist. She is a strong willed woman and not shy about getting her point across with the good detective. Her relationship with her mother is another story but Daphne is getting stronger at getting her point across with her too. Maeve is a pushy woman, that is what makes her a successful realtor, but she does get on both her daughter’s nerves. I get a kick of of Daphne’s BFF and her homages to actresses in classic films too.
Ms. Blake has written a twisty mystery with surprising developments. A family connection turns the case in a whole new direction. The deceased’s will provides more questions than answers and even included Daphne. Another surprise early in the story is the potential buyer of Flynt Mansion. Plenty of action to keep us readers entertained.
The author has given readers a first class story. Her descriptive details bring it to life. The characters are well fleshed out. The pace of the story builds throughout to an exciting ending. I found everything I want to find in a cozy mystery within the pages of this book. I am really excited Pawprints & Predicaments coming in February 2018.
ABOUT BETHANY BLAKE:
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.
Next time Bethany visits I want to hear all about her pets 🙂
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