Welcome! It is International Ask a Question Day (parents be glad you have Google) plus Popcorn Lover's Day (yum). It is also Brain Awareness Week (goes well with the Ask a Question Day). God's Acre by Dee Yates will be released on April 2 along with Murder at the Marina by Janet Finsilver. A Dream of Death by Connie Perry releases on April 9. Sarah Ladd's The Governess of Penwythe Hall will be out on April 16. It is the first book in The Cornwall Novels.
Death by Dog Show by Arlene Kay is the first novel in A Creature Comforts Mystery series. Persephone “Perri” Morgan is leatherworker who creates and sells harnesses, leashes, collars and other assorted items for dogs and horses through her business Creature Comforts. Perri is currently heading to Eastern States Expo Center in Massachusetts with her best friend, Babette Croy for the Big E Dog Show. They are traveling in Babette’s luxury RV with Wing Pruitt’s daughter, Ella and an assortment of canine companions. Wing, an investigative journalist and Perri’s boyfriend, will meet up with them at the dog show and Perri cannot wait for their reunion. After the event’s welcome party, Perri is out walking the dogs when she stumbles upon Lee Holmes with a pair of pink poodle grooming shears sticking out of his chest. The victim had plenty of enemies as Perri comes to learn when she digs into the case on behalf of Yael Lindsay, Lee’s wife. A couple of days later after Lee’s funeral, Perri stumbles upon another victim with bloody leatherworking tool nearby. Someone is setting Perri up to take the fall. Perri with her trusty sidekicks, Keats and Poe, sets out to track down the killer.
Death by Dog Show is not the type of cozy mystery that readers are used to reading. There are numerous references to the male physique (Wing’s especially) and how it affects Perri’s “nether regions”. The sexual exploits of other characters are referenced throughout the story along with their looks. The author seems focused on appearances along with people’s finances. There is an emphasis on the financial disparity between characters (the rich versus Perri who grew up in the foster system). I found the writing to be awkward and the pacing slow. Some of the author’s word choices were unusual and it felt like the author had swallowed a dictionary and thesaurus (peripatetic and plutocrats are two examples). Arlene Kay used some unusual names for her characters. They include Yael Lindsay, Roar Jansen, Wing Pruett and Persephone Morgan. There is an abundance of foul language (which is unusual for a cozy mystery) and repetition of information. The characters lacked development. Do not expect warm, friendly characters (that includes Keats and Poe) in this cozy. Perri is an unlikeable protagonist who is focused on people’s looks and finances (comes across as shallow and jealous). Perri is one of those people who judge based on first appearances. She is especially intent on getting the “handsome” Wing Pruett undressed and into her bed. Babette seems perpetually on the prowl for her next bed partner and husband (she always manages to pick the wrong type of man). As I was reading Death by Dog Show there were references to a previous crime which I found mystifying since this was the first book in the series. The mystery was straightforward. There are multiple suspects since the victim had numerous enemies. Most readers will have no problem uncovering the solution before the reveal. I thought the dog show elements were confusing and not explained properly (I ended up skimming). I am not sure what the author was aiming for with this story. It seemed out of date (reminds me of the 90s). I found Death by Dog Show to be “ruff” and it missed the mark for me. I did have my mother have a look at Death by Dog Show and, for once, she agreed with me (she could only read a chapter).
The next A Creature Comforts Mystery is Homicide by Horse Show which releases on October 15. I believe I will say neigh (I couldn't resist). You can find out more about Arlene Kay here (her website). While Death by Dog Show was not for me, I suggest you obtain a sample to see if it appeals to you. Thank you for reading my review today. Next time I am going to discuss A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot. It is the final book in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy. I hope you will return to see what I thought about this Christian romance. May you have an insightful day. Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader