3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder (Sleuth Sisters) By Maggie Pill

Jan 3, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of 3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder, along with a link to purchase the book.

The three sleuths of the title are sisters Barbara Ann Evans, the “serious” one, Faye Burner, the hard-working, “responsible” one, and Margaretta “Retta” Stilton, the youngest “pretty” one. The two dogs are Retta’s adorably oversized Newfoundland Styx and the motley mutt Faye rescues from the side of the road. The one murder is that of Stacy Kern, the wealthy wife of Winston Darrow and the sisters’ newest client.

After leaving her career as an attorney, Barbara Ann was lured into forming the Smart Detective Agency with Faye, but only with the caveat that bossy Retta would be joining them only as a consultant. However, when they learn that Darrow’s alibi for the murder was that he had spent the night with Retta, they don’t have much of a choice. Retta is certain Winston Darrow is incapable of committing murder, despite the fact that he neglected to mention that he still currently had a wife. Even the knowledge that Darrow, who is not Winston Darrow at all, has spent a lifetime as a trophy husband fails to sway her doubt.book

Barb and Faye are less sure of Darrow’s innocence, but Barb is willing to consult Police Chief Rory Neuencamp for advice and some inside information. That it means going on a second date with him – or at least, a first “real” date – is just a side benefit for the woman who has so far declared herself independent of any need for an attachment. As the one who spearheaded the formation of the detective agency, the normally insecure and self-doubting Faye grows more confident with each capable decision she makes.

Despite the veneer of charm glossing over the geriatric Don Juan, none of the sisters buy into Darrow’s smarm, and though they are intent on doing their job they’re not about to be hoodwinked by their petulant and immature client. After an incident of police incompetence, they prove that their fledgling detective agency may actually be up to solving the murder of a woman who was as illusionary as her caddish husband.

This second in the series builds on the relationships between the sisters and highlights how, as much as they irritate one another as only sisters can, they have grown to completely trust and rely upon one another. The early labels placed on them had often become burdens to establishing their own identities, and it is fascinating to watch them develop past them now that they are in their late forties and early fifties.

While her sisters have always believed that Retta got through life by relying on her attractiveness, she herself has always felt underestimated because of her appearance. As the oldest, Barb was assigned the role of being the mature one in charge, but now she is finally being tempted into losing her need to control everything and instead open herself up to a new romance. Faye’s path may be the most unusual of them all, as after a lifetime of hard work she continues to sacrifice her own needs out of love for her recently disabled husband and demanding mother-in-law. The humor continues throughout the novel as the sisters banter, raise eyebrows over each other’s antics, and yet accept their eccentricities with the gloss of nostalgia and familiarity. Alternating chapters narrated by each sister does require some recalibration for different scenes, but this also expands on their characters and heightens the suspense as they gather for a suspenseful and entertaining showdown.

To enter to win a copy of 3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Sleuths,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 10, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. We’ve [SMFS] just had an interesting debate about head-hopping–glad she managed to pull it off effectively.

  2. The aspect of these 3 sisters, makes this an interesting read. I am really a fan of well developed characters.

  3. anything with a dog!! Love them!!

  4. Coming from a family with three girls, and having giant breed dogs, this sounds like it’s right up my alley.

  5. Sounds like a good read and I adore dogs so must be good, thanks for chance to win a copy!

  6. If you haven’t read the first book – it’s at least as good as the second one. I love the Grammar Ninja; she has more guts than I do, although I’ve often contemplated doing some corrections of my own. Funny book, great characters, good mystery.

  7. I HAVE to find the #1 in this series! Sounds to me like I’ve been missing out on some good reading. I’d love to win this 2nd installment of this series. Thanks for the intro and the chance to win!

  8. Maggie Pill is a new author to me and I have to say that this book sounds fantastic. I love the author’s sense of humor in her bio: balancing librarian cardigans and buns with motorcycle riding and tatoos! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!


  9. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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