by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Trick or Deadly Treat, along with a link to purchase the book.
Carolyn, Eve, and Sam all rent rooms from Phyllis. They may be retired teachers, but nothing has slowed them down. Carolyn and Phyllis enter magazine cooking contests, Eve’s taken up needlecrafts, and Sam—he’s decided he needs a dog.
Phyllis and Sam (who are an item, if you want to know) head to the shelter to find the perfect dog. Sam’s easy—he’d take every one of them home if he could. On their way out, an employee rushes in with an injured Dalmatian. Since the dog hadn’t been processed yet into the shelter, Sam was able to take him then and there. Off to the vet they go to get the dog’s broken leg set.
Hank Baxter has a way with dogs. He’s not always good with people, but dogs know a good guy when they see one. So does Sam. Unfortunately, Hank’s wife, Susan, doesn’t agree. She worked to put Hank through veterinary school and then he returned the favor so she could become a surgeon. Now she feels like he’s not a “real” doctor and that’s caused a lot of stress between them.
When Susan is found dead in her office shortly after Hank visited, he’s the natural suspect. He’s arrested during the vet clinic’s Halloween party. Phyllis, Sam, Buck the Dalmatian, and Carolyn are on hand to witness it. Sam is sure Hank’s innocent. Since Phyllis has had good luck in the past with solving murders, he thinks they should try again. Phyllis promised her son she’d stop getting involved, so Sam is in charge of this one—at least to start.
Of course, Phyllis can’t help herself and works behind the scenes to keep Sam pointed in the right direction. Soon she’s going along, just for support—and then, you know, it would be more efficient to split up and cover twice as much ground. Sam’s relieved. He knows when he’s in over his head. The job of assistant investigator is much easier!
There are other suspects to consider. There’s the Golden Retriever breeder who used to be Hank’s client. Neither will say why that changed. Susan was suspected of having an affair, but with whom? Susan’s sister and brother-in-law are both nasty people and it would be nice if it were one of them … just because. Her sister seems to think she’ll inherit everything with Hank in jail.
This is a good mystery, with plenty of clues and red herrings to keep readers guessing. Sam and Phyllis are a cute couple. It’s a nice change to see older characters (older than mid-to-late twenties of so many books). They have the good sense to not put themselves in senseless danger. Buck makes a great addition to the cast, especially when he’s so easily able to move from his outdoor doghouse to the laundry room to Sam’s bed, as well as keep Phyllis company while she cooks.
The competition between Carolyn and Phyllis (mostly on Carolyn’s part) over the recipe contests is fun to see. They both generously share their recipes for white chili casserole, hearty breakfast casserole, peanut butter sweet potato dog biscuits, pumpkin dog biscuits, coconut cream pie cookies, hero sandwiches, and oatmeal berry streusel muffins. Also at the back of the book is an excerpt from the next book, The Candy Cane Cupcake Killer, available now.
To enter to win a copy of Trick or Deadly Treat , simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Treat,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 17, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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