Doggone Dead by Dane McCaslin has Gwen Franklin looking forward to sleeping in on her first day of retirement. Gwen cannot wait for relaxing days spent reading the books in her mystery collection now that she is no longer teaching high school English. Unfortunately, her best friend, Nora has other plans for their day. Nora Goldstein suggests that they open a dog walking and pet sitting service despite Gwen’s allergy to anything with fur and feathers. They name their new venture Two Sisters Pet Valet Services, print off cards, and head off to solicit clients. When they return to Nora’s apartment, they find her neighbor and nemesis dead on the kitchen floor. Nora becomes the prime suspect. So, Nora decides they need to become detectives and solve the crime. They hire Brent Mayfair, a former student of Gwen’s, to take over the pet services while they question the long list of suspects. After receiving a death threat and finding another murder victim, Gwen begins to wish she had never retired.
Doggone Dead by Dane McCaslin is the debut of The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries. I thought Doggone Dead was a quick book to read. Gwen Franklin and Nora Goldstein have been friends since they were children. They are as opposite as two people can be from looks to disposition. Gwen is a newly retired English teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is looking forward to sleeping late and reading mystery novels. Nora has been married several times and came out of each marriage richer. She is loud, pushy, and dresses like a woman in her twenties. Nora has more money than sense and comes up with various business ventures. The last one was a fish pedicure salon that the city nixed. There are a variety of quirky characters in Doggone Dead. I was not a fan of our main characters. Nora is a bully who pushes people into doing what she wants or pays them. She is also rude. Nora comes up with the pet sitting and walking business knowing Gwen is allergic. Nora refuses to listen. Of course, Gwen should have stood up for herself. I know this is supposed to be campy and funny, but I was just plain irritated. Brent Mayfair is hired to handle all the pet clients plus a variety of other odd jobs. Gwen treats him like a blithering idiot. Brent does come across as a few cards short of a full deck, but now and then, Brent will surprise you. The murder occurred in the first chapter and then nothing until a third of way into the story. The mystery took a backseat to the zaniness. The whodunit can easily be solved. One piece of information gives readers the identity of the killer. The clues were obvious (might as well have been a giant neon arrow pointing out each clue). As you can tell, Doggone Dead was not my cup of tea. Those readers who prefer lighthearted, humorous cozies will find Doggone Dead right up their alley (my mother says I was absent the day sense of humors were passed out in heaven). Doggone Dead is a madcap cozy mystery with a bawdy bird, a piddling puppy, a knifed neighbor, covetous stepchildren, a distasteful detective, and two fast friends.
Doggone Dead is available from Amazon*. The next book in The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mystery series is Cat's Meow which publishes March 23, 2021. While I was not the right type of reader for this book, it might appeal to you. That is the beauty of books. There is something for every one of us. I suggest you obtain a sample of Doggone Dead and see if it suits you. Thank you for joining me today. Next time I am reviewing A Shot of Murder by J.A. Kazimer. It is the 1st book in A Lucky Whiskey Mystery series. I hope that you have a joyful day. Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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