A Dog Gone Murder
By Elaine Viets
November 4, 2014
Paperback, 271 pp., $7.99
Reviewed by Gloria Feit
This newest book in the series featuring Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper extraordinaire, now 34 years old and mother of 12-year-old Amelia, has her mystery-shopping three St. Louis-area dog day care centers, the results of which will help decide which of them does and does not acquire a critical accreditation with a Certified Pet Care Center seal. The first of these is Uncle Bob’s Doggy Day Camp, whose owner personally promotes the establishment with ubiquitous tv commercials. It soon appears, however, that Bob’s love for the animals under his care is only minimally greater than the dislike his employees have for him.
Josie, who was a single mother, is about to celebrate the first anniversary of her marriage to Dr. Ted Scottsmeyer, a veterinarian and co-owner of the St. Louis Mobo-Pet Clinic. She is deeply in love with him, and very happy, the only problems in her life at present being the normal ones for mothers of tween girls. Amelia attends, on scholarship, the exclusive Barrington School, and is in the throes of planning to attend her first ‘grown-up’ party, with all its attendant problems. The combined pets in the household include Stuart Little, Josie’s mother Jane’s shih tzu, Josie’s cat Harry, and Ted’s cat Marmalade and his black Labrador, Festus. The reader feels intimately familiar with each of them at this point in the series.
Before marrying Ted, Josie had lived for eleven years in the downstairs apartment in her mother’s house, where one Frank Hyzy is presently living and, her mother insists, is “only a renter,” Josie’s suspicions that there is more to the relationship to the contrary. Frank has only recently been employed at the aforementioned Uncle Bob’s Doggy Day Camp, and on the day Josie goes there to begin her mystery-shopper duties, Frank has quit his job there. On the very same day, Josie goes into the owner’s office to interview him, only to find him unconscious on the floor. The police, in their inimitable way, suspect Frank of having poisoned him. Not for the first time in the series, Josie determines to find the real culprit when “Uncle Bob” dies.
Josie, and by extension Amelia, Dr. Ted and Jane, are protagonists to whom readers can relate. The author has given us another interesting murder mystery with several possible culprits; the book makes for a perfect beach read, and is recommended...Continua