Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
by Dane McCaslin
I am very happy to welcome Dane McCaslin to Escape With Dollycas today!
Books – and reading them – are among my favorite things to collect. My cozy mystery collection is still in a growth spurt, and the bookcase holding my poetry books is threatening to dump the double-layered shelves on the floor if I don’t get another bookshelf. It’s all my own fault, of course: I simply cannot pass up “just one more book” over and over. I blame it on my genetic makeup. We are collectors by nature and readers by choice, and the more books we have around us, the better we like it.
When I was young, I loved visiting my grandmother. Her book collection was amazing, and my favorite book in it was a collection of poems by James Whitcomb Riley. There were a couple that I always requested to hear, and one of them was a delightful poem called “Knee-deep in June”. The first stanza goes like this:
Tell you what I like the best —
‘Long about knee-deep in June,
‘Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, — some afternoon
Like to jes’ git out and rest,
And not work at nothin’ else!
The visuals in his words were magical to me, even at a young age. When I became an English teacher, I was absolutely delighted to introduce my students to Riley’s poetry. And yes, “Knee-deep in June” was always included. Not only was this the perfect way to show my high schoolers how to create imagery, it also exposed them to the vernacular of a place and time they’d never see.
And I loved every minute of it, of course.
Which brings me to this: Have you ever read anything that sticks in your mind simply because the words sang to you? If so, consider sharing them with those around you. You might just open a whole new world for them the way my grandmother did for me.
And you might just be the one to induct another devotee into the magnificent world of words.
Thank you Dane so much for visiting today!
Keep reading for my thoughts about Playing Possum.
About Playing Possum
Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher : Lyrical Press (October 5, 2021)
Number of Pages: 300 (approx.)
Digital ASIN : B08SJ2VFHP
The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service is purring along, thanks to the entrepreneurial talents of retired schoolteacher Gwen Franklin and her bestie and business partner, Nora Goldstein. But when the fur starts to fly, they become partners in crime detecting as well . . .
At Nora’s request, Gwen is happy to accompany her to a meeting with ex-hubby #3’s lawyer. Much to Nora’s surprise—and dismay—she’s been named executor of said ex’s will. The fact that the man has been missing for years and was just declared legally dead only makes an already complicated process more so. And besides, is he really dead? What’s not a surprise is that Nora’s twin ex-stepchildren are pressing for access to their father’s dry cleaning fortune . . .
With Gwen’s assist, it’s time for Nora to do a little digging. It turns out that the twins’ catering business is failing—and that their dad’s business was laundering more than clothing. Soon, Gwen and Nora are infiltrating a long list of dirty deeds, including fraud and illegal gains. And the perpetrators are all too close to home. The police may want Gwen and Nora to stick to their own line of work, but the pair are determined to make sure the truth comes out in the wash—before someone ends up in the discard bin . . .
Gwen Franklin and Nora Goldstein have turned 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service into a very successful small business but they need to leave their employees in charge when Nora is named executor of ex-hubby number 3’s will. Apparently, the man has been missing for years and his children have had him declared dead. That raises some red flags for Nora and Gwen. There is no love lost between Nora and her twin ex-stepchildren and she knows they may be up to something hinky. So she and Gwen hit the road and find out that their dad’s laundry business is laundering more than just clothes and surprise, surprise, the twins catering business is on its last legs. She is also not sure if her ex is really dead? With no body, she wouldn’t be surprised if he was playing possum and laying low somewhere. The police would like them to just back off and leave the investigating to them but Nora and Gwen are not going to stop until all their questions are answered and all the truth comes out.
Okay, Nora has finally won me over and I love Gwen even more. Nora is still her pushy self but Gwen is really starting to hold her own. These women have been friends since childhood but now with Gwen’s retirement, they are together almost 24/7 so it took a little time for this closeness to evolve. They do make a great investigation team. I also like the way Brent and Rachel’s relationship has grown. She really is the perfect match for him. I am also enjoying Gwen’s blooming relationship with Roger. She deserves to have a happy relationship. I am over the on again and off again relationship of Nora and Marcus. At times it is hard to tell who is using who. She seems to be wasting a lot of money backing his business as he continues to cheat on her. She doesn’t have a good track record with men. I wish she would find someone to really love and love her back even with all her faults.
The new characters introduced in this story run the gambit of swarmy to criminal. They really put Gwen and Nora through the wringer but these ladies are like dogs with bones, they keep going back again and again as they strive to find the truth but their luck may have run out. The mystery they are trying to solve is a twisted one, each clue drags them in deeper and deeper. They were treading very close to “too stupid to live territory” though with their persistence.
The author did temper the mystery with plenty of humor. Even in the direst straights, she knew when to bring the funny. She also cracked me up with Brent’s way to get into Gwen’s house. I knew what he was going to say when she asked him but it still gave me a good giggle. The road trip that included Brent, Rachel, and Marcus was pretty funny too. You can’t take Nora anywhere, she just has to make trouble.
Playing Possum is definitely my favorite book in this series. I was totally entertained following along with all the crazy chaos these characters brought to this story. I hope this series continues because I am anxious to see what the author has in store for them next.
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About Dana McCaslin
McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.
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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.”