Pawprints & Predicaments
By Bethany Blake
Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #3
The Tail Waggin’ Winterfest is the highlight of the season in the famously pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. But despite attractions like an ice sculpture display, a dogsled race, and gourmet hot chocolate, Daphne Templeton finds herself annoyed by TV producer Lauren Savidge, who’s filming the festivities. She’s critical, controlling, and as chilly as the January air. Daphne would like to tell her to go jump in a lake—and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what they’re both going to do . . .
It’s the first-ever polar bear plunge in Lake Wallapawakee, and Daphne and Lauren are among the eighty or so people who charge into the frigid water to raise funds for animals in need. Daphne makes it back to shore—with the help of a mysterious St. Bernard—but Lauren is dragged out stone cold dead. Now, with her trusty basset hound Socrates at her side, Daphne intends to assist Detective Jonathan Black in his investigation—whether he wants her to or not . . .
Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!
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Bethany Blake has become one of my very favorite cozy mystery authors and there’s no way she could ever write fast enough to satisfy me. There’s so much to enjoy about the Lucky Paws Petsitting series and this newest release, Pawprints & Predicaments, is another gem. If you enjoy a well-written and humorous mystery, especially one involving animals, you will not be disappointed in any of Blake’s stories.
First, there’s the humor … sometimes subtle, often laugh-out-loud funny. Impossible to read without smiling all the way. It’s a clean story, which I very much appreciate. The setting is delightful and Blake has the ability to pull you right into the small-town community of Sylvan Creek in the Pocono Mountains. These are just a few things readers can look forward to … the Sylvan Creek Tail Waggin’ Winterfest, polar bear plunge, cardboard Iditarod, and even a spectral Saint Bernard!
I’ve read several good mysteries that involve pets, but there’s something special, even unique, in the way this author writes about them. In fact, I think that both Bethany Blake and her lead character, Daphne Templeton, are animal whisperers. The pets – especially Socrates, Daphne’s basset hound, and Artie, the one-eared Chihuahua – have distinct personalities and I love the way Daphne interacts with them.
There’s a lot more to Daphne than might first appear and we get to know her a little better in this story. Romance isn’t really a theme, yet I sensed the beginnings of that indefinable something between Daphne and police detective Jonathan (I’m definitely on #teamJonathan)! Both of these characters have backgrounds that will hopefully unfold as the series progresses.
The mystery itself is well-crafted and the solution nowhere near obvious to me. I haven’t finished reading yet, as I only received the book yesterday, so I’ll update more about this later. However, I can reveal that the murder victim, Lauren Savidge, had “a name that the rest of us had probably subconsciously avoided speaking, just like one might not utter the name of a demon out loud, for fear of summoning the evil spirit.”
Pawprints & Predicaments truly stands out in the cozy mystery field. “Best of the best” for me, highly recommended.
I was provided a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert.
Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.
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