by Cynthia Chow
& V.M. Burns
This week we have a review of the latest Dog Cub Mystery by V.M. Burns, along with a fun pet related guest post by V.M. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of The Puppy Who Knew Too Much, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
The Puppy Who Knew Too Much: A Dog Club Mystery by V.M. Burns
Review by Cynthia Chow
After proving herself innocent of the murder of her almost ex-husband, Lilly Echosby left Indiana for Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of her dog-loving best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. Lilly impulsively made the move along with her recently acquired rescue toy poodle Agatha, which makes finding a new living arrangement all the more difficult. So it seems like incredible luck when Lilly and Dixie are overheard discussing the matter in a restaurant by Jo Ellen Hansen, who offers Lilly the chance to rent her son’s pet-friendly house while he’s away on military business. Not only that, but a personal referral from Mrs. Hansen lands Lilly a temp accounting job with the Chattanooga Museum of Art. While Lilly’s good fortune just seems too good to be true, they could never have predicted that they would discover at the home a lost golden retriever, obviously in need of medical treatment. Or that Agatha would live up to her mystery author-name by digging up a dead body.
When another murder occurs, this one of a man whom Lilly decked during a town meeting, she unbelievably once again lands in the spotlight and under suspicion for murder. Her visiting daughter Stephanie fully supports her mother’s mission to prove her innocence, although Stephanie is more than a little distracted by the adorable golden, who is so winning her heart that they all fear for when his owner claims him. Which seems to be occurring quite often, as a succession of questionable men arrive all declaring that the dog is theirs. A break-in at their rented residence has Stephanie’s policeman boyfriend bringing in Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent Red Olson as their bodyguard, and he is proving to be a pleasant distraction for Lilly. Further interrupting her attempt at investigating is Freemont Hopewell, the attractive but inept accountant Lilly replaced at the museum. It’s an abundance of riches, but Lilly has more than enough intelligence and experience at this point in her life to make the choices that will give her the best chance at finding happiness and staying out of prison. A hilarious bad date helps to steer Lilly towards the right direction, but it’s her friends, canine companions, and accounting skills that will ultimately lead towards the truth.
This second in the series is even better than the first, with Stephanie an effective ally in Lilly’s activities. While the debut novel hinted at Stephanie being an overprotective daughter, here she and her mother have a refreshingly adult and loving relationship. Just as entertaining as the main mystery are scenes depicting Dixie’s expert dog training classes, which are so instructive that it had me buying hot dogs as training treats for my strong-willed Maltese. The elements of dog behavior are naturally and fascinatingly incorporated throughout the novel, even playing a role in the final solution. Lilly is an engaging and relatable heroine, and the new confidence she displays as she starts a new phase in her life is as rewarding as it is admirable. V.M. Burns continues to expand upon this cast of characters who are only growing more likable and fun, and the next installment just can’t come soon enough.
For the Love of Dogs?
By V.M. Burns
When I mention that I once belonged to a dog club and competed with my dogs in canine performance events, most people respond with a blank stare. That’s when I ask, “Have you ever watched the Westminster Dog Show?” At that point, a spark of recognition fills their face. The Westminster Dog Show is one type of dog event (conformation) which has been hosted since 1877 by the Westminster Kennel Club, a dog club located in New York.
The Westminster Kennel Club is a club where people who are passionate about dogs come together to educate, train, compete, and promote dogs. Westminster is located in New York, but similar clubs exist all over the United States and abroad. In fact, there are thousands of dog clubs in towns and villages which offer everything from training classes for the community to sanctioned trials (like The Westminster Dog Show).
When I lived in Michigan, I was a member of ECHO Dog Club which is located in Buchanan, Michigan. ECHO offered dog training classes and performance events like obedience, agility, and rally, to name a few. ECHO is a small club (especially when compared to clubs like Westminster), but the passion and dedication are the same. In fact, you would be amazed at what a handful of dedicated people can accomplish. Hosting a competition on the scale of The Westminster Dog Show requires hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who volunteer their time and effort. Even small shows which are not televised require countless hours of work in all types of weather (not all trials are held in arenas like Madison Square Garden). The preparation for an event can be as labor intensive and exhausting as the actual trials, but few people complain.
Initially, I joined ECHO to provide an outlet for a rambunctious Poodle, but after spending time with the other members, both my dogs and I learned so much. I met some wonderful people and had a great time learning and spending time with people who love dogs and dog sports. It was a great experience which has left an indelible mark and provided some amazing memories which I try to share in my Dog Club Mystery Series. If you’re curious about dog clubs and want to learn more, check out the websites of one of the three major registries in the United States: The American Kennel Club (AKC), the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) for a list of local dog clubs in your community.
To enter to win an ebook copy of The Puppy Who Knew Too Much, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “puppy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 23, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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