by Cynthia Chow
& Sandra Murphy
As we end 2017 we have 3 more mysteries from Kensington authors-2 with pets and one involving a funeral home-The Persian Always Meows Twice: A Cat Groomer Mystery by Eileen Watkins, Dial Meow for Murder: A Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery by Bethany Blake, and Cremains of the Day: A Tallie Graver Mystery by Misty Simon. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3 books, along with links you can use to purchase them.
The Persian Always Meows Twice: A Cat Groomer Mystery by Eileen Watkins
Review by Sandra Murphy
At a first glance, a grooming shop for cats only might not make sense. Cats don’t always like a bath, don’t like barky dogs, and like everyone else, want special treatment from someone who understands them. Cassie’s Comfy Cats is the result.
A new business always needs clients, and although she’s not going to make a habit of it, Cassie takes to making house calls to groom Harpo, a Persian, for wealthy George DeLeuw. The bi-monthly visits help pay the rent, even though she has to close for a couple of hours.
On her regular visit, she’s surprised George doesn’t meet her at the door as usual. He’s got a good excuse though—he’s dead, the usual blunt force trauma head wound. George was a nice man, so Cassie can’t figure out who would want to hurt him.
Soon, suspects are found—his ex-wife, the housekeeper, someone from business. George’s estate agrees to let Cassie board Harpo rather than leave him alone in the huge house. George’s sister, his ex, and others all offer to provide Harpo with a new home, but they seem to be more worried about any possible inheritance Harpo may receive than about the cat’s welfare.
A possible attempt to break into the shop and a late-night fire, convince Cassie someone’s after Harpo. There’s an equal chance the problems stem from Cassie’s ex who was abusive. Cassie didn’t mention that part to her mother who thinks they should get back together. Helpfully, her mom tells the ex where Cassie’s living and about the shop.
The mystery has good twists and turns to keep readers guessing. There’s potential for a new romance for Cassie. This is the first in the series with “The Bengal Identity” coming soon. Pet lovers will enjoy Cassie’s adventures and sympathize when the fur flies.
Dial Meow for Murder: A Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery by Bethany Blake
Review by Sandra Murphy
Daphne Templeton majored in philosophy. Working as a pet sitter/dog walker, her mother thinks she’s woefully underemployed. Her sister, Piper, is a veterinarian. Daphne had been staying with her but is now moving into a tiny cottage on the property with her Basset Hound, Socrates.
The Fur-Ever Friends Pet Rescue fundraiser will be held at the home of Lillian Flynt, the town’s most arduous volunteer. Her house is reputed to be haunted, so it’s fitting location for the October event. Miss Flynt is usually front and center to get everything ready, but she’s nowhere to be seen. However, Daphne does see someone she recognizes—her mother, Maeve, who is much scarier than Miss Flynt or any ghost. Maeve says Lillian has decided to sell the house, and of course, Maeve has just the right buyer. She dispatches Daphne to corral Lillian’s cat, Tinkleston, since he has a habit of pouncing and biting.
During her search for the cat, Daphne finds Lillian, dead. Maeve is frustrated since this will keep her buyer from viewing the house and signing the contract. It looks to be an accident, but just in case, Jonathan Black, police detective, is on hand. He and Daphne have a tentative friendship. She gets involved in murders. He gets annoyed about it.
Once the death has been officially declared a murder, the search is on for suspects and motives, the most likely being money since Lillian was rich. The suspect list grows longer at the reading of the will, and Maeve jumps to the top spot since she may lose her listing and fat commission for selling the house.
Daphne never intends to find herself in weird situations, but they manage to occur. Like the one where Maeve’s buyer for Lillian’s home is none other than Jonathan’s ex-wife who may have designs on getting him back.
This is the second book in the series. Daphne is someone who does what she enjoys, doesn’t worry much about money, and in spite of good intentions, finds herself in the middle of murder investigations. Her BFF, Moxie, runs a hair salon that caters to both pets and people. She’s enthralled with the 1950s and has the wardrobe to prove it. Look for big changes for some of the characters in the next book, “Pawprints and Predicaments,” available in spring 2018.
Clues and red herrings will keep readers guessing until the end. My favorite parts include Socrates. Who could resist lines like this where Socrates sits next to Daphne. “He’d refused my offer to share the blanket and was staring at the fire, meditating like he did when he needed to center himself again.” Comments like this are not overdone but scattered throughout the book, a gem to discover and a chance to laugh as you read. Blake may well earn a permanent spot on my Best Books of the Year List.
Daphne shares recipes for dog treats like Liverin’ It Up, pumpkin peanut butter ghosts (don’t use peanut butter with xylitol, it’s dangerous for dogs), Batty for Turkey treats, and Honey I’m Home cookies.
Cremains of the Day: A Tallie Graver Mystery by Misty Simon
Review by Cynthia Chow
Just a few months ago, Tallulah Beverly “Tallie” Graver was living the life of a wealthy Pennsylvania socialite. In the two months since divorcing Walden Phillips III—Tallie prefers to call him Waldo—she has taken to cleaning the very homes she once visited as a guest. For Tallie, cleaning the bathrooms of men with poor aim is preferable to working full-time at her family’s business, the appropriately named Graver Funeral Home. Living above the funeral parlor means she still helps out occasionally, which explains why Tallie is assisting the catering of their latest funeral. Less understandable is why Tallie discovers her friend’s cousin tied up in the café or Waldo tasered in the back alley.
Waldo manages to survive, but Tallie’s most recent client does not. Tallie only returned to the imperious socialite’s home to retrieve a vacuum cleaner, but it’s an explanation not readily accepted by the investigating Detective Burton. After all, Tallie spent much of her marriage using her husband’s name and wealth to get out of trouble, and she wasn’t above telling a fib or two either. Being part of the unseen workforce has helped to mend her ways though, and Tallie uses that very invisibility to help her investigate and observe her suspects. A mysterious flower delivery man may be the key to helping her solve the puzzles, if only she could figure out whether she should date him or have him arrested.
The Graver family business takes place mostly in the background as Tallie focuses on the cleaning jobs that are only slightly less gross than the funeral ones. Her parents proudly uphold their dedication to the three I’s of Indulging, Interring, and Inspiring, but continuing the family tradition would place Tallie too much under the purview of her lovingly controlling family. This version of Tallie is far more preferable than the six years she spent as the pretentious Mrs. Waldo, as she is on a redemptive mission to repair her old friendships and forge her independence. It’s fortunate for both readers and Tallie that she retains her acerbic wit and wry humor, as Waldo and her former neighbors will test both her patience and her sanity.
Tallie’s observations on her old lifestyle are an absolute delight, as are her snarky quips and willingness to stand up to her ex. Tallie may be motivated by the need to stay out of both jail and the figurative poorhouse, but in truth she is mending her relationships with her hometown. A completely unexpected reveal will have Tallie finding sanctuary in the most ironic of places, with the results satisfying and hilarious. Tallie’s grounded humor, willingness to sacrifice her dignity, and snappy banter kick off the start of a promising debut series.
To enter to win a copy of all 3 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “pets,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 2, 2018. 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.
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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.
I love mysteries with animals. Thank you for the contest.
These are all new authors to me. Would love discovering new authors and series.
Thanks for the reviews. Have a happy holiday season.
kckendler at gmail dot com
Thank you so much for the chance. I would love to win these books. lamonicaks at gmail dot com
Merry Christmas to everyone. Mt to be read pike is empty. I would love to win.
These all look sooooo good! Please enter me.
I would love to win this.
All 3 of these books sound great–I’d love to read them! email@example.com
Love pet stories! firstname.lastname@example.org
How fun!! great authors and i’ve not read any of these. thank you for the chance to win the titles!
Thanks for the opportunity!
Wow what great books! I would love to win these! Thank you for this chance!
All three books look like great reads. Thanks for the chance to win.
Hi. These all look very good! Thank u.
jsomers421 at g mail dot com
I would love to win these!
Thank you for the chance to win some wonderful books.
jenbates1967 (at)gmail (dot)com
‘Cremains of the Day’ sounds really interesting!
This crazy cat lady would love to win these. I have not yet bought them. Thank you for the chance to win!
What an amazing Mystery giveaway! I’d love to read all three books and to win them would be totally awesome. Thanks for the chance!
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Thank you for the opportunity to win these books. I’m always looking to reads books by authors I have never read before.
I read Bethany Blake’s first book in the series and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for the chance to win the 2nd book in her series as well as 2 other fun sounding mysteries. I enjoy all the punny cozy mystery titles and Cremains of the Day is very catchy. manatee717-letters(at)yahoo(dot)com
Thank you for the great reviews. I look forward to reading!
Great article, spot on about The Persian Always Meows Twice!
We have a winner!