Lilly may be losing a husband but she's gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly's dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimboexcept for one problem: Albert Echosbys just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect.
With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it's a good thing her best friend Scarlett """"Dixie"""" Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to take a break from the dog club circuit to pay a visit, along with her own prize pair of poodles. With help from Dixie, her defense attorney daughter, and a blue-eyed man in blue with a K-9 partner, Lilly is determined to collar the real killer. But when a second murder occurs, it's clear they're dealing with one sick puppy . . .
Read an Excerpt
"YOU TWO-TIMING LOW LIFE WEASEL!"
I'd always prided myself on being in control and maintaining my dignity, but I was on the verge of not only humiliating myself, but committing physical violence.
"Mom, calm down." Stephanie placed her arm around me and helped me back into my seat.
I glared at my soon-to-be ex-husband, thankful there was a large conference table in between us. He refused to make eye contact, looking everywhere but directly at me. The twenty-year-old home-wrecking hussy sitting next to him looked bored. The bleached-blond, heavily made-up twig was actually filing her fingernails.
I was shocked he'd had the nerve to bring the floozy he was leaving me for to the meeting with our lawyers to discuss divorce proceedings and the distribution of assets.
Less than five minutes ago I was on the verge of tears. My marriage of twenty-five years was ending. That was until Albert walked in with his lawyer and his super-slim girlfriend, who happened to be younger than our children. I shouldn't have been surprised. Even though he'd said he still loved me, I knew there was someone else. Wives always knew. When he started working out, dyeing his hair, and spending lots of late nights at his car lot, I should have known. He said he needed something new. Turned out the "something new" was a twenty-year-old dancer who was younger than both of our children.
Little Miss Home-Wrecker stopped filing her nails and smacking her gum long enough to yawn, and that set me off again.
"Are we boring you?"
She looked at me with a snide curl to her lip and a shrug of her shoulders, and before I knew what came over me, I was halfway across the table with my hands wrapped around her throat. It took three people to pry my hands off her scrawny little neck.
"You're crazy," she croaked.
"I am crazy, you little bimbo."
She backed up to the door. "I'll be in the 'Vette." She marched toward the door. "And the name is Bambi." She turned and left.
The white-hot rage that propelled me across the table subsided, and I allowed myself to be placed in my seat.
Albert stood in place, torn between his current wife, who was all but frothing at the mouth, and his girlfriend, who'd just walked out. He made his choice when he turned and walked out.
His attorney followed not long afterward, leaving Stephanie and me alone in the conference room. We sat in silence for what felt like a long time but was only minutes. Then I hopped up from the upholstered wingback chair and paced in front of the large plate-glass window that looked out over the city of Chicago onto Lake Shore Drive. I was so angry I wanted to swear, but I'd never said the kind of words I saw spray-painted on the sides of buildings or scratched onto the walls in public restrooms. I was raised to believe well-bred ladies didn't use those types of words. I trained my children that the English language was so rich, a well-educated person should be able to express themselves without resorting to those types of words. Today, I learned I was wrong. Well-bred ladies did use those types of words. In fact, I felt like stringing all of them together and saying them loud and repeatedly. Nevertheless, close to fifty years of training and Catholic school guilt didn't dissolve in an instant.
Instead, I said the harshest word I was capable of, "Rassa-frazzin'-fragdaggle-blasted-tater sauce!" "Mom!" Stephanie feigned a look of shock, but couldn't prevent her lips from twitching or her eyes from sparkling. However, the look was brief, given the magnitude of the occasion.
"I'm sorry, dear." I stared at my daughter, embarrassed I'd lost control in front of her. "I shouldn't have said those things about your father. Or tried to strangle his ... whatever she is. This has to be hard enough for you, watching your parents split up, without your mother losing control like that."
"You've got to be joking. You should be furious. You should be swearing, with real curse words, throwing furniture and slashing his tires. Maybe not trying to kill the girl — at least not with so many witnesses." She smiled briefly, but then she banged her hands on the desk, causing a glass of water to shake, sloshing water onto the table. "Get angry and let it out. I know I would."
Old habits die hard. I hurried to the table, grabbed several tissues, and mopped up the water before it could stain the lovely mahogany table that dominated the room.
Stephanie sighed as she watched me clean. "You've spent your entire life cleaning up after other people — Dad, David, and me. After twenty-five years of marriage, he leaves you for a woman younger than me, and here you are, still cleaning up. You shouldn't let him get away with it." She reached across and grabbed my hands, preventing me from continuing. "I'm not going to let him get away with this."
I stared at the determined look in my daughter's dark eyes and the set of her chin. For an instant, instead of the polished, intelligent, high-powered Chicago attorney, I saw the scrappy tomboy who got sent home from school for beating up the neighborhood bully when he tried to steal a younger kid's lunch money. Stephanie had always been a defender of the poor and downtrodden. At twenty-five, she was still doing it. I felt a moment of pride, knowing I'd had a hand in creating such a strong, beautiful woman. My conscience pricked when I remembered that her father had also contributed to making her the woman she was.
"I shouldn't have allowed you to get involved like this. You shouldn't take sides. He's your father. I —"
"Mom, stop." She grabbed me by the shoulders and gave me a shake. "He is my father and I love him. I always will, but you always taught me it was our duty as good citizens to stand up for what was right and to fight for justice for those unable to fight for themselves." She smiled. "That's why I became a lawyer."
I pulled her close and hugged her. When we separated, we both needed tissues to wipe away the tears. We sat down and composed ourselves.
Stephanie pulled some notes from the large folder on the desk. "Daddy's attorney is asking for the house, the car, everything. He claims, as the sole provider, he's entitled to all of the assets."
I swallowed the lump in my throat. "But your father never wanted me to work outside of the home. He said my job was taking care of my family."
"I know. Don't worry. I won't let him get away with that." She scanned the papers. "He claims business hasn't been good, so he can't pay alimony or any type of spousal support." She tapped her pencil on the table and mumbled, "We'll see about that."
"I don't want anything from him. I kept my CPA license, and I can always find a job."
"Mom! That's not the point. You worked harder than anyone to help him build his business. You even did the books for years, plus you raised two kids, cooked, cleaned, and sacrificed. You deserve better than to be tossed aside after more than twenty-five years, like an old discarded newspaper."
Stephanie looked out the window.
She spent several hours explaining things and making phone calls to Albert's attorney. By the end of the day, she had a smug, satisfied look, which told me she'd gotten more than she'd given up in the negotiations. Between the shock of learning the man I'd pledged my troth to over twenty-five years ago not only wanted to call it quits, but he'd been unfaithful, too, had my head pounding beyond anything mere aspirin could soothe. Stephanie wanted me to go to dinner with her, stay overnight, and take the train back to Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, in the morning, but I wanted to go home, while I still had a home to go to.
The South Shore commuter train ran between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. Lighthouse Dunes was about forty-five miles west of South Bend. The ride from beginning to end took two hours and twenty minutes and was popular, especially in the summer months, for Indiana residents to go to baseball games, museums, and shopping without the hassle of dealing with the often bumper-to-bumper traffic and parking in the Windy City. For me, the ride provided time to sit and think.
When Albert first moved out, I was in denial. I felt like a statistic. At fifty, I was part of the 40 to 50 percent of marriages that end in divorce. Initially, I thought he just needed a little distance to realize he was making a mistake and would eventually come home. I spent the first few months cleaning the house and working out. I even read magazines and books on how to rekindle the spark. I actually replaced my warm flannel pajamas with flimsy negligees. Initially, I was embarrassed by the sheer fabric, which left nothing to the imagination. However, I had to admit they were perfect for coping with hot flashes and night sweats. After six months, the divorce papers arrived. That was when I burned the magazines, tossed out the books, and cried. I cried a lot. When my credit cards were declined and I could no longer get money from our bank account, I called Stephanie. I suspected there was another woman, but I never dreamed she would be so young.
As the train sped through the night, I looked out the window as the trees and buildings sped past. In many ways, that ride mirrored my life. It felt like yesterday I was a new bride, in love and confident our love would conquer anything. Then came the children. Stephanie and David were the joys of my life. One minute they were chubby little babies, and the next they were graduating from college. The years rushed by as quickly as the scenery outside my window. In all likelihood, my life was more than half over, and what did I have to show for it apart from two children who were now adults with little need for me?
I leaned my head against the cool window and pulled my coat tight. I didn't realize I was crying until the woman next to me handed me a tissue.
"Honey, whatever he did, it ain't worth all them tears."
I took the tissue and stared at my neighbor. She was a large African American woman with a round, kind face and a head full of thick gray hair. "Excuse me? How did you ..."
She laughed a low, throaty chuckle that caused her eyes to crinkle at the corners and her belly to shake. "You wanna know how I knew you was crying 'bout a man? Or, how I knew he wasn't worth them tears?" She laughed again. "Only a man can make a woman cry like you was crying. And, baby, ain't no man worth crying over." She leaned close. "Tears are a precious commodity. You shouldn't waste them on someone that done you wrong."
I sat up straight. "I don't know what you're talking about."
She shook her head. "Alright, why don't you tell Miss Florrie what's bothering you."
I stared at the strange woman, who didn't seem to think anything strange about asking personal questions of a complete stranger on a train.
Miss Florrie looked at me expectantly. Her soft brown eyes were patient and kind, and before I realized it, I was telling her about Albert, our life in Lighthouse Dunes, Stephanie and David, and even my pitiful excuse for a garden.
Miss Florrie listened patiently without interrupting. She listened and nodded at the appropriate places and tsked her disapproval at the right time.
When I finished my tale, I felt spent but calmer than I'd felt in months. I looked at Miss Florrie and waited for her pronouncement. Part of my brain wondered why I cared what this stranger thought. However, another part of me was more than curious.
Miss Florrie sat quietly for several moments. Then she smiled. "Well, you been done wrong, that's for sure, but ain't nobody on this earth gets off without no trouble. I reckon you done had yo share. Now, whatchu gonna do 'bout it?"
I blinked. "What do you mean?" The irony of telling my troubles to a complete stranger on a train hit me. I had no intention of reenacting the Alfred Hitchcock movie where two strangers met on a train and committed murder for each other.
She must have read my mind, because she laughed again. "Honey, you ain't got no cause to worry 'bout Miss Florrie." She chuckled. "I like watching dem old movies too, but I ain't 'bout to kill nobody." She laughed.
Her hearty laugh and sincerity made me realize I was being ridiculous.
"Your husband left you." She stared intently at me. "Whatchu gonna do now?"
I shrugged. "Well, my daughter is an attorney and she's working on negotiating for support and the house —"
"You mean that house you just told me you can't stand?"
I stared at her. "Yeah, that house."
"Why you want it? Seems to me that man done you a favor."
"I don't understand."
"Well, you don't like the house. He wants the house. Why fight for a house you don't want?" I shrugged. "I guess it's the principle of the thing."
"Pshaw. You gotta pick yo battles, and that one ain't worth the energy. Now, I ain't saying you just give him the house. No. You entitled to a fair share. He should pay you half of what the house is worth. Then you take that money and you do the things you've always wanted to do."
She laughed. "Baby, only you can answer dat."
She chuckled. "But I can tell you, if it was me and I had a chance to start over, I'd leave this snow and cold and move someplace warm."
I smiled. "Florida?"
"Noooo." She shook her head. "Florida is too hot and humid for me, plus they got gators in Florida. Miss Florrie can't do no gators."
There was something lyrical in the way she spoke. Florida sounded like Floor-y-da, and I wanted to smile.
She shook her head. "Naw, I got a sister lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I ain't seen her in ten years. I'd move there."
"Chattanooga? I have a friend in Chattanooga, my roommate from college."
I shrugged. "I'm not really sure. I've never been there. We were best friends in college, but we drifted apart," I said vaguely. "You know the kids came, and well, we just lost touch."
Miss Florrie looked at me as though she could see through my soul. Heat rose up my neck, and I knew I was blushing. She saw through all of my lies, but she didn't say anything.
Instead, she shrugged. "It's warm most of the time in Chattanooga. It gets hot in the summer, but that's okay with me." She leaned closer. "The older I get, the harder it is for me to take the snow and cold." She shivered. "I feel the cold down in my bones and it gets in my soul. The long, cold winters do somethin' to folks. They gets depressed and sad with all dat snow and cold." She shook her head as though shaking away the memory of the cold. "They got mountains and lots of green in Tennessee." She nodded. "Yep, if it was me, that's what I'd do. I'd buy me a house and a little building where I could start a restaurant down south and start over. Life is too short to be unhappy."
"A restaurant? Are you a chef?"
She chuckled. "Naw, I ain't no chef. You gotta go to school to be a chef. I'm just a cook. Been cooking all my life." She sat straight and tall. "Pretty good at it too, if I do say so myself."
"What if you move away and you don't like it?"
Miss Florrie laughed. "Baby, that's easy. I'd sell the house and the restaurant and try someplace else, and I'd keep trying until I find my happy place."
* * *
Later, when I sat in the cold cookie-cutter house Albert insisted would be a great investment, I thought about what Miss Florrie said. I thought about finding my happy place. If I was honest with myself, I hated the house. I'd always hated it. Almost all of the houses looked exactly the same. The same builder built most of them, and there were only three different plans in the entire subdivision. The same house, but with different color siding, shutters, or brick façades. I hated the fact the house had very few windows. I hated that the neighborhood association dictated my life, right down to the type of plants I could have, and refused to allow a fence. They even had rules about the type of Christmas decorations I could put up. I'd always wanted a dog, but the association would only allow invisible fences. At one time, I thought about fighting them, but Albert was allergic to dogs anyway, so it all became a moot point and I eventually gave up. If I moved, I could get a house with a fence and I could get a dog. Heck, I could get several dogs if I wanted. The children were grown and had both moved away, Stephanie to Chicago and David to New York City. There was nothing holding me to Lighthouse Dunes. No job. No husband.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "In the Dog House"
Copyright © 2018 V.M. Burns.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a great start to a new series. The main characters are fantastic (smart and sassy) and the dogs, oh how I loved the dogs, especially, Aggie (short for Agatha Christie). As soon as I finished this one I started the second and new one. If you have not read this book, I recommend you grab it now and enjoy the first two in this series. Lilly Echosby is being dumped. Her husband is divorcing her for a bimbo named Bambi that he met at a strip club. While trying to come up with a settlement, Albert is shot dead in a supposed robbery gone bad. Lilly, of course, is the prime suspect, isn't it always the spouse? Fortunately for Lilly, her BFF, Dixie has arrived with her RV and two standard poodles in tow. As well, she has a toy poodle that she has rescued from a puppy mill, who is absolutely adorable, yet needs a lot of training. Lilly names her Aggie and they fall in love. With her two grown kids in town for their dad's funeral (one a defense attorney, one an actor) along with Dixie they decide they need to investigate on their own if they are going to clear Lilly. When a second murder occurs, she is blamed for that as well and gets arrested. With the help of a handsome, blue-eyed, K-9 officer named Joe and his dog Turbo, they get into some funny scrapes, yet are able to solve the mystery. This was a great story. There was so much happening with the divorce, murders, embezzlement, family drama, crazy animal action and some romance (not Lilly). Lilly was not someone who was going to back down, even when it came to a couple of physical altercations. As much as I loved Lilly, Dixie and Stephanie, I hated Bambi. She gives women a bad name. The male characters, who were somewhat secondary, were still a large part of the plot and story. The author does an amazing job of tying all these plot-lines together in a fantastic ending. There were enough clues dropped along the way that I did figure out what was going on and who the murder was, but how they solved the crime, and the tension packed showdown, kept me reading quickly until the end. Dixie is a fantastic sidekick, she is funny, yet smart and sassy. Lilly's kids, Stephanie and David were amazing. I loved the relationship they had with their mom and the way they jumped in to help find the murderer. The dogs were definitely stars. Poodles may not be attack dogs but, these dogs had one man shaking in his boots and were able to take down another, I loved them. There was just enough humour in this story to keep me smiling throughout. I will definitely look for me books by V.M. Burns. I definitely recommend this book and the next in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Dollycas’s Thoughts First, I couldn’t resist that cover. That face, that face, that puppy dog face. I just had to find out what the poodle was up to. It turns out that poodle belongs to Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, best friend of our protagonist Lilly Echosby, and she owns not one but two show poodles. She also has a toy poodle with her that Lilly quickly adopts and names Aggie, a nod to Agatha Christie. Dixie has come to town, taking a break from the dog show circuit to be with Lilly as she deals with her pending divorce. Her husband has left her for a child, well a woman who could be his child. I would say Albert Echosby was a low down dirty dog but that would insult dogs more than him. He hasn’t told his family about the divorce and actually expects Lily to still host his grandmother’s birthday party. She agrees after some negotiations, but tempers run high at the party. The next day Lilly continues to make plans for his life sans Albert. She is going to pack up and head to Tennessee with Dixie. Her plans come to a screeching halt when she learns Albert has been murdered and she is the prime suspect. That makes no doggone sense. She does have one member of the police force on her side because he has clearly fallen for Lilly’s defense attorney daughter. They both, along with Dixie and Lilly’s son are going to help Lilly do everything they can to put the real killer in a cage. When another murder occurs they must double their efforts but realize they could be putting themselves in the line of fire. This series is off to an amazing start. I love Lilly, close to my age with two grown children, it was easy to identify with her. When she adopted Aggie so fast I loved her even more. I liked that the romantic entanglement had to do with her daughter as Lilly had enough on her plate with Albert and his bimbo, Bambi Love. Oh my starts, Bambi was truly a piece of work. The aspect of Dixie coming to Lighthouse Dunes after receiving an email from her friend was fantastic. Advice from a total stranger and Dixie helped Lilly make crucial decisions and also brought out her strength. The rest of the characters are also very well developed for a first book in a series and easy to envision. The dogs stole my heart and added so much to the story. The plot flowed so well. Perfectly penned and full of humor, I loved every minute of it. The descriptive writing style took me right into the story and into these characters lives. It turned out there were plenty of suspects and a variety of clues to follow. An unexpected twist brings the story to a very entertaining conclusion. Reading In the Dog House was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I can’t wait to get my hands on The Puppy Who Knew Too Much. Lighthearted and Fun! This was a Perfect Escape!
fantastic story, people and it has dogs!
In the Dog House by V.M. Burns is the debut novel in A Dog Club Mystery series. Lily Echosby is getting a divorce after being married for twenty-five years. Her husband, Albert cheated on her with Bambi Love (I am betting that is not her real name). After a disastrous divorce meeting, Lily meets Miss Florrie on the train home who gives her some excellent advice. Lily reconnects with her old friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Upon hearing what Lily has been going through, Dixie arrives the next morning in her RV with her two Standard Poodles and an adorable toy poodle in need of a home. Lily promptly adopts the endearing puppy and calls her Aggie (short for Agatha Christie). The morning after a disastrous party to celebrate Albert’s grandmothers ninety-fifth birthday, Lily is surprised to find police on her doorstep. Albert was shot by someone who broke into his residence during the night and he did not survive. Since Lily’s alibi will not hold up in court (Aggie), she is the number one suspect. Lily with the help of Dixie, Stephanie (her daughter), and David (her son) set out to find Albert’s killer. When Lily’s next door neighbor is murdered, it leads to her being collared. Can this foursome prove Lily’s innocence and keep her out of prison? Orange is not Lily’s best color. In the Dog House is a light-hearted, humorous cozy mystery. I thought the story had a steady pace and I found it easy to read. I wish, though, that the author had taken the time to develop her characters. Since it is the first book in the series, I wanted more information on Lily (not just her immediate background). It also would have been nice to have details on the town where Lily lived (I missed the small town feel). A lot of time is spent on the day-to-day activities. I do not need to know every little detail about Lily’s life (cooking, laundry, getting dressed, doing dishes, walking dogs). The mystery is uncomplicated, and the solution was handed to readers on a silver platter. There are limited number of suspects and the pointed clues make solving the crime a cinch. There are cute dog antics and Aggie sounded adorable (I wanted her). I liked that Lily used creative curse words (instead of real ones that offend me), but the same could not be said for Bambi Love. There was a stakeout scene that included dogs that I found amusing. In the Dog House is for the cozy mystery reader who prefers a light mystery with comical antics.
In the Dog House by M.M. Burns, is a clearly outstanding light mystery and I want the next book NOW! As a fan of her Mystery Bookshop, I wasn't surprised to discover that I love the new series, but I was surprised to love it even more the the first series. Both books have a great balance of plot versus character with a slight lean towards the development of the characters, and great characters they are. The distinction may just be that I often favor the book I finished most recently or it may have a bit mare character interaction, which I love. The difference is the difference between a 5 star and a 5.25 star rating. Readers of either series will come out the winner. The plot in every one of her books that I have read has been excellent and intriguing and has drawn me in from the beginning. V.M.Burns makes me care what happens in her novels and that is besides the wonders dogs who people her books.
This LOL cozy mystery is first in the new Dog Club Mystery series. It is outrageously funny and well-written, and I can almost see the author thinking “what else can possibly happen to Lilly this week?” The characters, in particular Lilly and her Dolly-Parton-haired friend Dixie, are designed for maximum impact. We get a tiny glimpse into the world of dog competitions. Underneath it all is the pervasive murder mystery awaiting resolution, so Lilly won’t have to find out if a well-bred Catholic girl can survive in prison. Lilly’s divorce from the man whose business she helped build in the early years of their marriage is almost complete. Albert has taken up with a sweet young thing who is younger than their children. Bambi’s assets are there for all to see, especially when he has the audacity to bring her to his and Lilly’s home for the 95th birthday party of his grandmother. Almost as irritating is that he told his family that Lilly is gay…that Dixie, the college friend she recently reconnected with is her partner. (NOT!) Lilly’s plan to pack up and move to Tennessee near Dixie, while made in less time than one can learn to spell Chattanooga, is a sound one. Both of her children are grown and living away from home. Their daughter is a very successful attorney and their son a highly acclaimed stage actor. The morning after the birthday party, the police come to advise Lilly that Albert is dead, shot when confronting a would-be thief in his and Bambi’s apartment. While Lilly doesn’t care a lot about what Albert does any more, she does care that he was murdered, and makes the funeral arrangements for the family. Bimbo…um…Bambi keeps calling with stuff like she needs money and she was shut out of Albert’s bank account. The corvette Albert gave her was stolen, and did Lilly take it. Things only go downhill from there. For several reasons, including that she would inherit the car dealership and Albert was found to have $1 million stashed in an offshore account, Lilly is accused of his murder. Before she has to find out how to pack for prison, she and Dixie team up for a slightly older version of Nancy Drew. Lilly’s son and daughter get in on the action, as well as Dixie’s elegant, well-trained standard poodles and Lilly’s new toy poodle, Aggie. Lilly is a fabulous new protagonist in the cozy mystery world! She has a wicked sense of humor evidenced throughout. I felt as if I got to know her well over the course of the novel. Other characters are as well-defined as fitting their roles, most are 3-D in HD color. I like Lilly and Dixie best, and am happy these college roommates have been able to reconnect. This cozy mystery has almost everything I love in the genre. It drew me in from the first page, the first sentence. It is at times serious, such as when Lilly is going to be arrested. There is also a great deal of humor, necessary to survive a really nasty divorce and murder allegations. The characters are unique, and there are pets that contribute to the story. The murder is complex, a challenge to solve. I was only partially right in picking the killer, completely missing the motives. There are several plot twists as well as a second murder and a couple red herrings that kept me turning pages. The ending brought some surprises, and all loose ends were tied up. I highly recommend this fun-tastic new series! From a grateful heart: I won a copy of this through a Goodreads First contest and was not required to post a review.
In The Dog House is the first book in the A Dog Club Mystery series. I love this wonderful new series from V. M. Burns. Lilly Anne has been married for twenty-five years and the marriage has provided two adult children, Stephanie and David. The story begins with Lily Anne shouting at her soon-to-be ex-husband, Albert: You Two-Timing Low Life Weasel. Words that she might wish she hadn’t said out loud. Well directed words at her soon-to-be ex had the nerve to bring his bimbo, Bambi Love to divorce settlement meeting. The day after the disaster at lawyers office Lily Anne contacts her college friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson asking for help in finding a place to live in Chattanooga. Two days later she arrives in her RV, along with her two Standard Poodle show dogs and an equally adorable rescue miniature poodle. The next morning they are awakened by some serious barking of the dogs. They find Albert backed up to the door by the dogs. When things are settled down Albert has the gall to remind Lily that “they” are hosting his grandmother’s 95th birthday. The evening at the party Albert informs his family that they are divorcing because Lily is a lesbian. Needless to say, the party went downhill from there. The next morning the police arrive at Lily’s door to inform her that Albert has been murdered. As the polices investigation progresses Lily soon becomes a prime suspect. With this news, Lily, Dixie, and Stephanie set out to find Albert’s name and clear Lily’s name. Albert had claimed that sales were down severely at his used car lot, but there seems to be a good selection of inventory. Plus, they need to find out where all the money that is in an off-shore bank came from. The story is well-plotted and told story with an enjoyable cast of well-developed cast of believable characters. Also enjoyable was reading about the Standard Poodles and help they provided in tracking down the murderer. I’m looking forward to the next book in this fabulous new series to see if Lily follows through with her move to Chattanooga.
In the Dog House by V.M. Burns was a great beginning to a new series (I hope). I've enjoyed her Mystery Bookshop series; and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this new series. Lilly Echosby and Dixie Jefferson are best friends and women who I would love to know in person. Ms. Burns' descriptive writing painted a clear picture for me of Lilly, her daughter and son, Dixie and Lilly's ex-husband and his family. As in her other series, Ms. Burns included dogs, 3 poodles who stole each scene when they appeared. The plot moved swiftly with twists and red herrings that kept me turning the pages to find out more. I confess that I did have an inkling of who the culprits might be before the reveal; but I was greatly surprised by how much more was involved than just murder. A well-crafted mystery that kept me totally intrigued until the last page. I want the next one in this series now! I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Lyrical Underground via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
I love cozies, poodles, and strong, capable female characters, so I definitely loved this debut book! Protagonist, Lilly Anne’s hubby of 25 years is divorcing her, and their daughter, Stephanie, is her lawyer while Albert lawyers up with high-powered attorney, Charles Nelson. Let the fun begin! Lilly’s longtime friend, Dixie (Scarlett Johnson), arrives to visit with 3 poodles along. One is a black toy poodle, Aggie, who absolutely stole my heart and Lilly Anne’s, too! Now, these two girl friends are going to have fun together and the dogs are going to help them! Before you can say ‘woof!’, however, somebody offs Albert! The books at the car dealership they owned look suspicious. Lilly Anne can’t believe Albert was so stupid and left her such a mess to decipher. Humor scenes galore kept me giggling throughout this entertaining storyline. The poor old man in the wheelchair—bless his heart—I loved his connection to Lilly Anne. I really liked Officer Joe and his K-9 dog, Turbo. Reading this new cozy mystery was a treat! I look forward to the next book in the Dog Club series. I reviewed an arc provided by NetGalley and Kensington Lyrical. Thank you.