by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of Groomed for Murder as well as a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Trendy Tails Pet Boutique owner Isabel “Izzy” McHale has her hands full planning two very different weddings. The first ceremony features an octogenarian bridezilla as Izzy’s normally sensible mentor Ingrid Whitfield finally marries her high school sweetheart after sixty years apart. One week after Ingrid follows her Ring Dog down the Trendy Tails aisle, Izzy hosts the “pupptials” between the appropriately named greyhound Romeo Tucker and his beagle bride, Pearl Collins. That the sons of their human companions seem to be vying for the position of Alpha dog when near Izzy will either be flattering or a complete headache. Some of Ingrid’s bridezillaness may be attributed to her former apartment being rented to Daniel Colona, a closed-mouthed writer whose secretiveness has the neighborhood buzzing.
In an incident that bears an unfortunate resemblance to a previous celebration at Trendy Tails, the human wedding ceremony is interrupted when Daniel’s body tumbles down the stairs with Izzy’s Aunt Dolly holding the smoking gun. Once it’s revealed Daniel was an investigative reporter on the trail of a story, Izzy, her two sisters (one a rule follower and the other an experienced rule breaker), and her best friend/baker Rena, all lend their dubious detecting skills. When Daniel’s surveillance is linked to a condo development spurred by the mayor, Izzy finds herself clashing with his wife and Pris Olson of Prissy’s Pretty Pets. From here on readers are treated to a delightful mystery that features a rogue guinea pig, a pet salon with massages for pups and a double-wedding that combines human and canine bridal parties.
This is a story of love and forgiveness, and how the former permits the latter. Savvy readers may pick up on clues far ahead of Izzy, but she has her own distractions with two suitors whose occupations and links to Izzy’s past make them mortal enemies. The humor is embodied in the eccentric characters every neurotic family has, in the form of Izzy’s troll and orc village-carving father and her erotica writing mother. Mom’s over-dramatizations compare to William Shatner’s. The humor is never at the expense of the emotional development of characters. The attributes that make this Merryville, Minnesota town unique also enhance the novel. Izzy and Rena prepare a canine wedding party with proper formal attire and “barkery” treats while the humans dine on Tater Tot hotdishes and Norwegian delicacies. Affection for animal companions prevails throughout the novel, making this an enjoyably realistic and complex mystery that explores the power, limitations, and varied incarnations of love.
Check out our review of Paws for Murder, a previous book in this series, along with an interview with Annie!
To enter to win a copy of Groomed for Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Groomed,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 13, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL!