Divas, Diamonds, and Death By Elizabeth Ashby, Sally J. Smith, & Jean Steffens

Aug 12, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

This week we have a review of Divas, Diamonds, and Death, a Pet Sitter Mystery by Sally J. Smith, and Jean Steffens, and we also have a sweet animal rescue related guest post by Sally.
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an amazing giveaway-First place: Continental US ONlY–a signed copy of Divas, Diamonds, & Death AND an Adopt-Don’t-Shop t-shirt (sizes Small to 3X and a variety of colors).
Second place: TWO readers can win a print or eBook of Divas, Diamonds & Death (outside the US is eBook only).
We also have a link to purchase the book from Amazon.

Divas, Diamonds, and Death: Danger Cove Pet Sitter Mystery By Elizabeth Ashby, Sally J. Smith, and Jean Steffens
Review by Kathleen Costa

Divas, Diamonds, and Death is part of the Danger Cove franchise from Gemma Halliday Publishing. Several authors, including favorites Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, join fictional mystery novelist and resident of Danger Cove Elizabeth Ashby to pen their own book set in this small town in the Pacific Northwest. From renovations to a farmers market, cocktails to a bakery, quilting to pet sitting, bookshops to hair salons to B&Bs, more than a dozen books, and more in the works, take readers on a delightful adventure with wonderful characters. As they say, “Don’t let our name fool you–we’re the friendliest (even if deadliest) town in the Pacific Northwest!”

Check out Danger Cove!

Lizzie Jones, veterinarian grad student, is helping Fran Upton, owner of Second Chance Animal Rescue Center, with the annual fund raiser. Pet grooming, children’s games and activities, food booths and an adoption center are overshadowed by the participation of Sabrina Ramirez, the renowned Critter Communicator. book

Jimmy John Jones, Lizzie’s grandfather and Fran’s boyfriend, used his celebrity as a former network field correspondent, in the “vein of…Ed Bradley,” to get Sabrina Ramirez to agree to attend the event and demonstrate her unique abilities to communicate with animals. Partnered with Rosie, her beloved piglet, Sabrina makes a true Hollywood-style entrance and casts her eye on Lizzie’s grandfather. Then, along with Fran taking exception to Sabrina’s eye on her man, we get pushy ex-husbands, laced pasta, kidnapped pets, missing diamonds, and…a dead body?

Just another day in Danger Cove…

Although I have read other books from the writing team Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens (Check out Mystic Mayhem, Mystic Mistletoe Murder, Murder on the Aloha Express, and Kangaroo Dreaming) and I am a dedicated fan, their Danger Cove Pet Sitters Mystery series is new to me. This book proved to be a great place to start: Pet Whisperer? Pretty Pink Piglet in Pajamas? Who knew Pet Sitting could be so precarious?

I never felt out-of-the-loop with the backstory and character connections. Not having read the previous book, the authors provided enough to make this newbie feel comfortable. The story is a clever page-turner keeping me engaged as our heroine enlists her family, her boyfriend, and her little pug “Vader” to weed through more than a few motives.

The characters are well-developed, even this early in the series, which may be due to the authors’ talents in providing great personalities. My favorite, of course, is Lizzie. She is clever in her in

vestigation and her loyalty to her family and friends helps to motivate her. The setting of Danger Cove referencing places and people from the series, and the ‘ins and outs’ of pets and pet sitting play out in the background spiced up with a recipe for Mama Politano’s Pesto Penne Primavera sans the potent paralyzing potion…perfect!

Divas, Diamonds, and Death earns 5/5 Little Pink Piglets!

It all began here…

Passion, Poison, & Puppy Dogs earns 5/5 Pet-Sitting Predicaments!

bookA great story to introduce you to Lizzie Jones, who has been living with her grandfather Jimmy John. She is getting her vet degree, but finds herself pet sitting to help pay the bills. This, of course, puts her into a precarious position of discovering a dead body, supporting the ‘person of interest’ with her own investigation and leading readers on an entertaining journey to an “Oh my!” conclusion. We are treated to a fun grandfather/granddaughter dynamic, growing love interest, signature Smith & Steffens’ twists and turns, and an easy to follow vegetarian delight, The Thirsty Leprechaun Vinegar and Salt Potato Bites.

Become a Fan!
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On the Web Smith and Steffens

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Ruby–A Gem of a Girl
By Sally J. Smith

I was broken-heated. I’d lost my Casey, my beautiful Japanese Spaniel. While she was still in my heart she was no longer in my arms, and I’d begun to think about another fur baby to come and live with us. We’ve always had dogs, and until then they had always been raised from pups, but there are so many dogs without homes that I thought I’d look around and see if I could find a sweet and sympathetic soul at one of the rescue centers. I began to haunt rescue websites, watching and waiting for a sign that one of the dogs was meant for me.

It wasn’t all that long before I saw video of a Pekingese mix–a blonde with a cute little smooshed face whom the videographer had caught looking up into the camera with big sad eyes. Adorable, sure. I kept looking other places, but I also kept going back to the video of the little blondie walking around the yard of the rescue center stopping to look up into the camera and wag her tail.

I decided I wanted to meet her and sent a query. There was a pet store adoption event the next weekend. Just in case, I filled out the adoption application. The Saturday came–cloudy, dreary. I wondered if that was a bad omen. We bundled our other two dogs into the car, so we’d have an idea if things even stood a chance of working out with the new dog.



The rescue shelter lady was having one of those days, running very late and leaving us and several others who were hoping to meet their possible new lovelies waiting over an hour and half.

Eventually things started to roll. One car pulled up, and two women began to scurry around, pulling out boxes of records, a long table and a few chairs. Next came a van with several kennels occupied by a Heinz 57 variety of dogs. The little girl I’d come to meet wasn’t among them.

Finally another van arrived.

I just had a feeling of anticipation, thrill. I stepped to the edge of the sidewalk and when the panel door slid back, there sat a kennel with a beautiful little dog weighing maybe 25 pounds. I caught my breath as one of the volunteers lifted the kennel from the van and set it on the sidewalk. I bent down and found myself looking into a precious, squished little face. Her tail swished and to this day I swear she smiled.

For some inexplicable reason I began to cry. My heart swelled and there was no doubt we belonged together. Ruby came home with me that day and she’s the sweetest, most lovable dog I’ve ever had.


t-shirt in giveaway

Ruby had been waiting at the no-kill shelter for over two months when I saw her. The lovely woman in charge said she’d been stumped as to why no one was interested in taking her home, but I knew right away that Ruby had been waiting all that time for me to find her. The day that I adopted her I learned from the shelter lady my girl had been on the E-list at the county facility and only a day or two away from being euthanized. The thought of such a beautiful being put down still breaks my heart.

When I come home and she’s so glad to see me that she prances like a show horse, or when I wake in the morning to see those big brown eyes, blinking slowly as she patiently waits for me to join the world of the conscious, I have to stop and wonder–did I rescue Ruby, or did Ruby rescue me?

Adopt, people! It’s one of the best things you’ll ever do.

To enter to win one of the following-First place: Continental US OnlY–a signed copy of Divas, Diamonds, & Death AND an Adopt-Don’t-Shop t-shirt (sizes Small to 3X and a variety of colors).
Second place: TWO readers can win a print or eBook of Divas, Diamonds & Death (outside the US is eBook only), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “diamonds,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 19, 2017. U.S. residents only for the print copy. 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.

You can use this link to purchase this book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:


Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens are the USA Today bestselling authors of The Mystic Isle Mysteries, Danger Cove Pet Sitter Mysteries, Aloha Lagoon Gabby LeClair Mysteries, Jordan Welsh & Eddie Marino Novels, and Digby Sloan Mysteries. The two Arizona writers began working together a few years ago when they figured out two heads are better (and faster) than one.
Arizona native Sally J. Smith lives in Phoenix with her husband. She stays busy at her chosen professions of writing (novels, short stories, and articles) and part-time freelance editing. “First and foremost I love my God, family, friends, and puppies. Somewhere further down the line–I love Mexican food, dogs in general (I could easily be one of those crazy ladies with 40 or 50 of them roaming around), and going to movies. Music feeds my soul whether it’s happy, sad, rockin’, flowin’, majestic, or gospel. I’m a collector of people (different shapes, sizes, colors, & opinions). Having traveled the world, I’ve seen many, many awesome things, as well as many things that weren’t so awesome. If I had to describe my life in one word, it would be blessed.” Visit Sally and Jean at: www.smithandsteffens.com and sign up for their newsletter.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This book sounds delightful and such a cute cover! Love the piglet!

  2. Thank you Kathleen for the review of this fun cozy! I’ve been reeled in to another series that I have to check out! Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs has all the right stuff. nschwenkner (at) gmail (dot) com Adopt don’t shop!!

  3. Sounds adorable and we should serious adopt before just going off and buying! On my list! Thanks!

  4. What a great giveaway and what a sweet rescue story! Sally, congratulations on you and Ruby finding each other! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. I am so pleased to see s mystery about saving aninals. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity (I just hope the t-shirt isn’t small because I am not).

  6. Great cover! Like that it is a pet sitter mystery. I really enjoy reading books featuring pets in the storyline.

  7. Love this series of books & such a wonderful tale of rescuing a wonderful dog.

  8. What a great article. I really like the Danger Cove series and anything by Sally and Jean. Thankyou for the opportunity! minishoes(at)msn(dot)com

  9. We have a winner!


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