Whoever had built the fire had tossed what appeared to be a manuscript in with the logs. The edges of the document were singed and curling, and as I watched, part of a flaming sheet drifted upward into the chimney.
Title: Dial Meow for Murder
Author: Bethany Blake
Publisher: Kensington, September 26, 2017
Format/Source: eBook provided from publisher via Netgalley*
ISBN: 9781496707406 Series: Lucky Paws Petsitting
Flynt Mansion, venue of Sylvan Creek’s Halloween Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue fundraiser gala, is the scene of the crime and pet sitter Daphne Templeton is the center of the investigation—again—when a search for a tempestuous cat leads her to a bathtub containing the dead body of the mansion’s owner, Lillian Flynt.
- Those details describing the Halloween season: the “bittersweet aroma of falling leaves”, haunted hayrides, orchards “full of mushy apples”, “dangling, jangling skeletons and cackling witches riding brooms” on storefronts, vendors with spiced nuts and pumpkin-spice ice cream
- Daphne’s pet-friendly treats (with seasonally appropriate names such as Pumpkin-Peanut-Butter Ghosts and Tricky Treats)
- Moxie’s sincere and at times hilarious homages to the blonde muses of Alfred Hitchcock
It is always a good thing when a reader can really connect with and enjoy getting to know a narrator, a feat Blake has achieved with protagonist Daphne Templeton. Laid-back but awkward, smart (she has a Ph.D in Philosophy) but not pretentious, curious but not crazy, Daphne is just the girl you’d want to accompany into a spooky mansion to search for clues. Her sidekick, Socrates, with his knowing looks and quietly stubborn style is just as likable. And the newest addition, Tinkleston, is a fast favorite with his spastic wariness. Blake has a knack for truly humanizing the pets in her novels, making them not mere props but depicting them exactly in the way their loving owners view them.
Her human characters are just as well-developed. Sylvan Creek is teeming with assorted personalities: a cranky and possibly murderous cat lady; a disgruntled librarian; an increasingly exasperated (yet still calm) detective; a mysterious and well-connected executive with eyes on owning Flynt mansion (and possibly more). The suspects are aplenty. Plus, the plot is straightforward with just enough twists, the pace is swift, and the setting is bursting with small town charm.
This second entry in the Lucky Paws Petsitting series is a lot of fun. I anticipate the next book, Pawprints & Predicaments, coming out February 2018.
* I received a free copy of this eBook from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.