Juliette “Jules” Bridge prides herself on the tender rehabilitation she provides for injured or abused rabbits on her New Hampshire rescue farm, but she has a very special relationship with one bunny in particular. Bun is a black-and-white rabbit who happens to have the ability to communicate through mental telepathy. Once she got over the shock, Jules found her furry friend had a lot to say.
One frigid March morning on their walk together, Bun spots a body. The police identify the frozen stiff as Arthur Freeman, aka Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty knew each other on the children's party circuit, where he’d perform magic tricks and she had an educational rabbit petting pen. With Bun egging her on, Jules decides it’s time they hop to it and put their heads together to discover who silenced the mime. But their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole of more suspects and lies, while a killer sets a trap for them . . .
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"It's quite blustery today," I murmured as a fine sheen of ice-crusted snow crunched under my feet while a steady wind buffeted us. The edge of the water, glazed with shards of ice, reminded me of broken glass. Tall grasses, stiffly encrusted with snow, barely swayed in the wind coming off Lake Plantain. Frosty boulders dotted the landscape. New Hampshire in March was frigid. I stopped abruptly when Bun's voice entered my head.
Bunny, my black-and-white rabbit, snuggled against my chest in the baby sling he rode in. Bun's head protruded from the sling opening, and his ears twitched as he glanced around.
"That looks odd, like a frosty hand rising from the tall grass over there." Bun dipped his head to my left. I followed his lead, slanting a look in that direction.
Holy crap, it did look like a frozen hand reaching upward. My heart began to pound, my breath came short and fast, and I veered toward the area.
"You don't think it's real, do you?"
"I'm sure it's just the way the frost has clumped the grass together. We'll have a look."
My name is Juliette Bridge, better known as Jules. I'm the owner of Fur Bridge Farm, where I raise rabbits, find good homes for them, and care for others that have been rescued from difficult and often abominable situations. Bun, my best buddy, lives in my farmhouse as my resident housemate. He has a personality that warms my heart, that is, when he's not poking his sweet little nose where it doesn't belong.
Not your average rabbit, Bun's smart, sociable, talkative, and very talented. His specialty is pure nosiness. He communicates with me by way of mental telepathy, which adds another dimension to an ongoing list of my problems. I know, it sounds ludicrous, but when Bun talks, I've learned to listen. I never thought I'd have a talking pet, but there you have it. He's never mentioned how this ability came about, and I've never asked. Uncertain if everyone can hear him, I can only assume they aren't willing to acknowledge his ability.
We've shared the farmhouse for the past couple of years, after I rescued him from a despicable family with no respect for animals. They were glad to see him go, saying he was in league with the devil. I figure they could hear him talk.
The first time I heard his voice, a soft, lilting, somewhat musical sound, I wondered if I'd imagined it. As time went on, he kept talking to me, and I continued to ignore him. One morning, about a year ago, we were taking our usual walk, when I ran into Margery Shaw. Margery had been Bun's previous keeper and there was no love lost between us. Having seen Margery coming before I did, Bun had huddled down inside the sling, burrowing as far as he could, trying to disappear. I heard a warning to take care before there was only silence.
The woman marched up and asked if I'd heard the rabbit talk. That was the dawning realization that Bun could, and often did, communicate with me. Unwilling to admit it to Margery, I shook my head and asked if she was imagining things. Her anger evident over my remark, I left her standing on the path as I jogged off, holding Bun close to my chest.
From that day forward, Bun and I have conversed on a regular basis. I doubt I can answer him telepathically and haven't tried. I'm careful where and when I speak aloud to him. It doesn't look good to prospective rabbit owners if I'm blathering on about something to Bun when they've come to the farm in search of rabbits of their own.
My face numb from the wind, I slipped and slid our way through the snow, focused on what looked like a hand, all the while mentally denying it was one. As we drew near, Bun started to quiver, a clear sign of his excitement. Bun always likes to be right, especially under these circumstances.
I came to a stop and leaned forward. The hand, a real hand, was connected to the arm of a man lying amid grasses that arched tunnel-like over his lower extremities. He seemed to reach out, maybe in hope that someone would take hold of his hand and lift him off the ground. I trembled, and then shook, before pacing back and forth while I muttered that this must have been an accident. I pulled my cell phone from the pocket of my jacket and dialed 9-1-1.
A female dispatcher answered the call and listened as I babbled on about my find and where it was located. Finally, she asked, "Are you still at that location, ma'am?"
"Stay there, emergency services will be with you shortly. Please remain on the line until they arrive." Her voice, calm and soothing, left me less frantic, and I stopped pacing. I detest murder, or violence of any kind, though I admit I'm a curious sort, though Bun is much more inquisitive than I am. My intuitive, long-eared pal is right quite often. That's why I listen when he speaks to me.
Moments later, sirens blared, and a police cruiser slid to a halt not fifteen feet away from us. A rescue vehicle parked, and four men scrambled over the snow, closing the distance between us.
Sheriff Jack Carver gave me the once-over as he came abreast of me, Bun, and the deceased.
"When did you find the body?"
I slanted him a look, shut off my phone, and tucked it into my jacket pocket. "Just now. I walk every morning, but not usually here."
"Why come this way today?"
"I wanted to see if there was an ice buildup around the lake. It's quite beautiful, without a dead man, that is."
Carver gave our surroundings a sweeping look and shrugged. "I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All I see is frozen ground and a slippery road."
Bun popped his head out of the sling. He sniffed the air, twitched his ears, and settled against my chest. "He might have a point."
"I suppose you're right," I said, not speaking just to Carver, but also to Bun. We watched as paramedics pulled a sleigh-type basket over the snow-covered ground. They stood back until given the go-ahead to take pictures and do their job before collecting the dead guy for his ride to the morgue. Ice chips dropped off his face and clothing as the crew wrestled him into the sleigh. Once he was strapped in and tightly secured, the team took him away. All that was left on the ground where he'd lain was a dark patch of something I thought might be blood.
The sheriff noted the spot at the same time I did, leaned forward, ripped one of the mashed stalks of grass from the ground, and held it to his nose. He bagged the grass and tucked it into his coat pocket.
Who was this dead person, and what was he doing by the lake? Inwardly, I shivered at the thought of him dying in the cold, and then turned my attention to what the sheriff was saying.
He waited for an answer to the question I hadn't heard and then repeated it as he tipped his head in the dead man's direction.
"Are you familiar with him?"
"No, I don't recognize him. Do you?"
I pointed to the dark spot. "Is that blood on the ground?" "It doesn't concern you."
Bun moved around, then wiggled his head out of the sling again. He watched the sheriff with keen eyes.
Jack gave Bun a glance, then offered me a cool attitude that surely meant he'd be asking the questions. "You're certain you've never met him before? Maybe he stopped by the farm, or you ran into him in town?"
"Not that I know of. If I did come across him somewhere, he didn't make an impression. Sorry, Jack."
We walked from the beach onto the upper part of the road where his patrol car sat running.
"Do you always walk with the rabbit?"
I smiled a bit. "Every morning. It's good for us both."
With a smirk, he nodded. "If I think of anything else, I'll be in touch." Jack tipped his hat-covered head and got into the cruiser. He drove off without a backward glance as I walked on while Bun chatted up a storm.
"Why was he so insistent on you knowing that man? Do you know him? Has he been by the farm? Why didn't I see him if he did?"
"Stop talking long enough for me to answer you. I have no idea why Jack thinks I've seen the guy. He hasn't been at the farm when I've been there, and that's why you aren't familiar with him." I heaved a sigh. "And, by the way, we aren't going to get involved in the investigation, so get that idea out of your head right now."
According to my Fitbit Surge watch, we'd reached the three-mile mark. It was time to return home. My face was so cold, I wondered if it might crack and fall off. The icy dead guy came to mind as Bun asked why we couldn't check into the death.
"Because it's none of our concern. Now stop asking questions and brace yourself while I jog back to the farm."
"If I had known you were going to jostle me around like a sack of potatoes, I wouldn't have come along. Though, if I hadn't come, I wouldn't have found the corpse, nor would you have."
Ignoring his jibber-jabbering, I picked up the pace and we made it to the farm in half the usual time it took. Unbuckling the sling at my shoulder, I leaned down, and Bun jumped free. He scampered into the house and ran into his bedroom before he hopped onto his cushioned bed and settled in. I poured food into his feeder, added fruit bits and lettuce to a bowl, then added water to the one next to it before leaving for the barn.
A short breezeway connects the barn to the house to keep me and my farmhands from becoming soaked by inclement weather. I'd had it erected about a year ago, after the wettest winter I'd ever encountered. At first my workers thought it was ridiculous, but they soon changed their minds when heavy rainstorms blew in.
Halfway through the breezeway, I met Jess Plain, my right-hand helper. A breath of fresh air, Jessica was a student at a veterinary college about fifteen miles from Windermere. Willing to do just about anything I asked of her, Jess adored the rabbits, had named them all, and they became excited when she entered the barn.
Tossing my jacket onto a peg near the door, I caught sight of my windswept, burnished-copper hair and tried to bring it under control using my fingers as a comb. My facial skin had returned to its normal peach tone, rather than the redness the wind had brought to my cheeks and nose. Tears seeped from the corners of my eyes and trickled down my cheeks from the sudden change in temperature. I gave up on my hair, dried the moisture around my blue eyes, and turned to listen when Jess started talking.
"Have you heard the news? Arthur Freeman is dead. It was on the news radio station."
"Is that the man I found dead on the lakefront? Bun and I saw him when we were there. It sure didn't take Sheriff Carver long to make an identification."
A look of surprise filtered across her face. "Good grief, don't tell me you're going to investigate Freeman's murder?"
"Since I'm not familiar with Arthur Freeman, why would I bother?"
"You didn't recognize him?"
"Hardly, he was frozen like a Popsicle. His name isn't familiar to me, either."
We'd walked into the barn and moved bags of rabbit feed from the trolley. We stacked them on shelves. I handed Jess the last bag when she said, "I can't believe you don't remember him. He was known as Arty the Mime."
It only took a second for me to make the connection from Arty to the dead guy. "You're kidding, right? I never saw him without mime makeup on. That's why I didn't know who he was. Son of a gun, who'd want to kill a man whose goal in life was to do magic tricks at children's parties?"
"Did Jack ask if you knew him?"
I nodded. "He must have had an idea who the corpse was because he asked me a couple of times." I rolled my eyes and drew a deep breath. "He probably thinks I lied."
With a shrug, Jess remarked, "True, but then, it won't be the first time he's thought someone lied to him." When I glanced at her, she hastily added, "I didn't mean you, of course. You and Arty had a run-in at the fall festival last October, didn't you?"
"We had a disagreement, nothing more. It was simply a matter of different opinions. While we weren't friends, we had respect for each other."
"What was his problem?"
I thought back to that day. "We differed on whether animals should be free or kept. He wouldn't listen when I tried to explain what we do and how we rescue rabbits who have been mistreated or maimed." I considered how much more to say. "The situation became heated until I invited him to come out and visit us. He stomped away, and never mentioned it again."
Jess prepared to feed the fifteen rabbits we housed and medicate those who needed it. Finished charting the dosage information, I set the clipboard on its peg and walked back to the house.
Later in the afternoon, a car rolled into the driveway. I looked out the window and thought Jack Carver must have had more questions. I scooted across to Bun's room and murmured, "Stay in here, the sheriff has arrived. The dead guy is Arty the Mime."
One ear flipped forward, which I took as a sign of agreement. Bun remained on his bed as I closed the door to his room. With his superb hearing he'd know what Jack had to say. I didn't want Bun underfoot and blabbing while I spoke with the sheriff. I flipped the coffeepot on and opened the front door as Carver reached for the doorbell.
"Come on in, it's cold out there. Can I get you a cup of coffee?"
His nod was answer enough, and I filled two cups with steaming brew. Setting them on a tray along with a sugar bowl and creamer, I carried it to the end table next to an overstuffed armchair in the living room, where Jack was seated. I handed him a mug of coffee and added cream to my cup.
Seated across from him, I rested my elbows on my knees cupping the mug with my hands. Not giving Jack the opportunity to accuse me of misleading him, I said, "Jess mentioned the dead man was Arthur Freeman. It was announced on the news."
"You knew Mr. Freeman, didn't you?"
I nodded. "Only in a professional manner, and only as Arty the Mime. We attended many functions as the entertainment du jour. He'd do magic tricks and I had the educational rabbit petting pen. I never saw him without his mime makeup on. Honest to God." I crossed my heart.
"I'm glad you admitted that, Jules. After all, everyone is aware that you two were frequent entertainers at kids' events and public affairs the town hosts. Especially the festival last fall. Didn't you have a falling-out of sorts?"
"I didn't make the connection, sorry. Arty was great at kids' functions, and we shared a few jokes now and then. He took miming seriously and was in tune with his audiences, no matter their ages. As to the falling-out, it was actually a difference of opinion."
"Different in what way?"
Quick to explain what had caused us to disagree, I mentioned Arty had been disgruntled. I left out the fury he had shown and how he'd walked away ranting about unfairness to animals.
Jack sipped his coffee. "Are you aware of anyone who might have had a grudge against him?"
"Not that I can think of offhand. If something comes to mind, I'll gladly let you know. Have you contacted his family?"
"He doesn't have any family that I can find."
"That's a shame. He was a nice sort, we enjoyed our stints together, and parents appeared to like him."
He placed the half-empty cup on the table and rose. "If you remember anything, anything at all, call me. I don't want time to get away from us. The longer the investigation goes on, the colder the trail becomes." At the door he reached for the knob and then said over his shoulder, "I know you might want to help out because you knew this fellow, but please don't interfere."
"I have no plans to," I blustered.
"I'm glad we're clear on that. Don't poke your nose where you shouldn't, I won't stand for it."
"What was the cause of death, by the way?"
"The pathologist is doing an autopsy on Arty's body now. He said it appears Arty was stabbed with a sharp instrument that pierced his skull. He won't have a full report until he's finished, but he thinks the man might have suffered hypothermia while cranial bleeding slowly killed him. Miserable death, for sure."
The thought of such a slow, horrible death sent shivers over my body. "What kind of weapon was used?"
Heaving a sigh, Jack rolled the brim of his hat with his fingertips and then put it on. "Nothing definite on that. And, before you ask any other questions, I have nothing else to say. Good day, Jules."
The door closed with a snap as I grimaced over his attitude. Scratching sounded at Bun's door. I swung the door wide and, hands on hips, I stared down at the furry creature.
"There's no gratitude for our brilliance."
"We haven't been brilliant, not yet anyway. Besides, the sheriff doesn't want our assistance."
"I think we should investigate, if not to satisfy our curiosity, then to get justice for Arty. After all, you might still become a suspect if Sheriff Carver finds out how bad your disagreement with Arty was."
"I had thought of that. If Jack presses me, I'll have to admit the situation got out of hand. Until then, I intend to keep that information to myself." I walked away before Bun could insist we become involved.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Left Fur Dead"
Copyright © 2019 J.M. Griffin.
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.
A protagonist duo, one of which is a talking rabbit named … Bun. Okay, you have to suspend belief a little bit here, but this is fiction after all. I normally steer clear of fantasy or supernatural elements in my reading, especially talking animals, but it works well in J. M. Griffin’s new cozy mystery, Left Fur Dead. I couldn’t resist trying this story and I’m so glad I did. This is a fun story, tender and emotional, with lots of light-hearted moments; impossible to read without smiling much of the time. Left Fur Dead is a fresh and different – dare I say, unique – novel in a cozy mystery field highly populated with cooking themes. I loved New Hampshire rescue farm owner Jules Bridge, and I adored her telepathic bunny. Meet Bun, who, according to Jules, is… Not your average rabbit, Bun’s smart, sociable, talkative, and very talented. His specialty is pure nosiness. He communicates with me by way of mental telepathy … when Bun talks, I’ve learned to listen. When Jules and Bun go for walks in the New Hampshire countryside, with Bun happily snuggled in a sling pouch, I am completely engaged in their conversations. I’m a big fan of animal rescue shelters, so this story was easy to connect with. I loved the farm and the rescue work of Jules, also with the potential future of a veterinary clinic on site, and I enjoyed learning about the care of these rabbits. Jules also reached out to the community with educational events and working with children at birthday parties, etc. It was through these parties that she met the murder victim, a fellow entertainer (mime) named Arty. Guilty party and solution weren’t easy to figure out and I enjoyed following along in the adventure with Jules and Bun. My favorite part of the story was the rescue farm and getting to know main characters of the series. The writing is strong and clean; I loved that there wasn’t a lot of unnecessary descriptive fillers to slow the action down. I didn’t fully understand why Jules wanted to investigate, but that’s okay. In future stories, I’d like to see a toning down of attacks on Jules and more logical, step-by-step investigation of the crime. Left Fur Dead begins what promises to be a truly engaging mystery series and I will be following the adventures of Jules and Bun. Recommended. I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
LEFT FUR DEAD by J. M. Griffin is the first book in the Jules & Bun Mystery series. It’s the adorable, wonderfully written story of Juliette “Jules” Bridge who owns Fur Bridge Farm, her adorable rabbit Bun and the murder of Arthur Freeman. Jules runs a New Hampshire rescue farm that does rehab for injured or abused rabbits while educating the public in the process. Among those she rescued is one very special rabbit with the ability to communicate through mental telepathy – at least with Jules and vice versa. Buns has moved up for the barn to being pampered with a luxury room of his own in Jules home. Knowing that others can’t hear Bun and Jules doesn’t want to be labeled as the crazy lady talking to herself, they make sure that their conversations are private. Although, since only Jules seems to hear Bun, he’s side of the conversation seems to never stop with him having an opinion of most everything. In one of their early morning outings, Jules and Bun came across the body of fellow children’s party entertainer Arthur Freeman, aka Arty the Mime. Determined to find out what happened to Arthur, who did the deed and why leads both Jules and Bun into some “hare” raising experiences. Along the way, we meet and fall in love with the secondary characters in this story. The author did a great job introducing them to us. Jess Plain works for Jules and is also her friend. She is a veterinary student about to take her exam to become a full-fledged vet working to open her clinic right there on the Fur Bridge Farm. When danger threatens both the farm and Jules, she moves right in to be there for support and an extra set of eyes. Sheriff Jack Carver can be stern, but he really has Jules best interest at heart and her safety comes first. His wife, Meredith, is a jewel – one who loves Jules shop and a new shipment of yarn. Andrew Stone, a decorated veteran, is the squatter on Jules property. Although quiet and a loner, he keeps watch over the ranch and its inhabitants after Jules allows him to stay instead of having him arrested. I’m hoping he will have a returning role – maybe help out at the ranch after the kids helping head off to college. The clues in this mystery were evenly spaced giving you time to think about them while you were meeting the folks in this new series. There were a few directions that the clues could have led you and love the direction the author took with them. It leaves some avenues that will make for great beginning for other books in the series. LEFT FUR DEAD is a delightful book and one that I really enjoyed reading. I would recommend it to anyone that loves cozies and that can see the fun and humor in a communicating rabbit. I, for one, will be looking with great anticipation for the second book in this series.
This was a new twist on the normal cat or dog partners you find in a lot of cozy mysteries. Jules runs a shelter for rabbits, and one bunny, in particular, has some hidden talents. Bun has the ability to communicate psychically with Jules. Bun and Jules make a quirky and unique sleuthing team, and I enjoyed following along on their adventure as they try to figure out who killed Arty the magician. Left Fur Dead is the first book in the Jules & Bun Mystery series. If you enjoy cozy mysteries with animal companions, you’ll definitely want to give this new series a try.
I have never read a book by JM Griffin but she is in my TBR pile (The Esposito Series Books Box Set). This is the first in this series, Jules & Bun Mysteries. What drew me to the book was the cover and the description. I liked that Bun communicates with Jules via telepathy and so not to appear deranged Jules must be careful when she answers Bun. At times I felt lost, I wasn’t sure what the motivations of the characters’ actions were. What kept me reading were the characters. I was surprised at the reveal. I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. I am not required to leave a positive review.
Dollycas’s Thoughts A rabbit is an unusual character to find in a cozy mystery. The only series I can think of that included a bunny was The Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries by Elizabeth Lynn Casey. The bunny, Paris, in those stories, added a lot of humor but wasn’t one of the leading characters like Bun, the bunny is in Left Fur Dead. We meet Jules Bridge, owner of the Fur Bridge Farm where she cares for Bun and several other rescued rabbits. Bun is a very special bunny, he can communicate with Jules, using mental telepathy. He is one opinionated rabbit who rarely takes a break. This makes their relationship very interesting. Jules has to be careful because people would never understand the way the two of them “talk” but she does value his intuitive input. Together they work children’s parties and other events to raise awareness about rabbits and what Jules does on her farm. The farm also has a wonderful yarn shop I would love to visit! On one of their morning walks Bun discovers the body of Author Freeman/Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty sometimes worked the same events. With Bun giving her a big push she decides maybe they can pull a rabbit out of a hat and catch the killer, but chances are they just may find themselves ensnared in the murderer’s trap. After I got into the rhythm of Bun and Jules dialogues this was a very entertaining read. The author took time to introduce not only Bun and Jules but Jess Plain, a veterinary student almost ready to take the exam for her license. When Jess learns that Jules and the rabbits could be in danger due to her snooping, she moves right into Jules farmhouse. I really like the bond that has formed between these very independent women. The murder mystery drew out over a longer period of time than the usual form for books in this genre, but in addition to a killer, we were also trying to catch an intruder that was created havoc on the Fur Bridge Farm and trying to ascertain whether both were connected. We also meet a mystery man that unexpectedly shows up, he may help answer some of Jules questions. I did feel Bun and Jules did not give Sheriff Jack Carver much of a chance but he was a patient man while still telling Jules to stay out of his investigation. His wife is a real peach too. I think we could be fast friends. I feel this series is off to a grand start. I was totally surprised by the ending. The characters are very appealing and the setting is superb. I do love rabbits, we have wild rabbits often hopping through our yard even here in town. In fact, I can see one out my window right now. I am looking forward to the next Jules & Bun Mystery!
Left Fur Dead is the first in a new series in which Jules Bridge runs a rabbit rescue farm and has learned that one rabbit in particular - Bun she can communicate with telepathically. On one of her daily walks she discovers the dead body of Artie the Mime (they know him from children's parties). They of course investigate and are advised not to investigate and the risk gets closer to home. The first of the series is setting the foundation with other characters such as Jess and Molly and I really like the concept of Bun and Jules and the telepathic discussion. I talk to my dogs and I wish I could her their thoughts! Good start to a new series. Looking forward to the next installment.
a unique mystery with room to grow LEFT FUR DEAD by J. M. Griffin The First Jules and Bun Mystery Juliette Bridge, better known as Jules, is the owner of Fur Bridge Farm. From providing rehabilitation to rabbits that have been abused to bringing bunnies as entertainment to children's parties, Jules deals in all things rabbit. Her sidekick is Bun, a black-and-white rabbit who has the ability to communicate telepathically with her. After stumbling across a dead body the pair find themselves victims. Someone has been entering the barn and attempting to release the rabbits. The break-ins must be connected to the murder. But how? Not content to leave matters to the police Jules and Bun begin their own investigation. But will they stir up even more trouble? Never give up and don't make yourself a victim. These are the two resounding messages found in the first Jules and Bun Mystery. After being left for dead after being run off the road years prior, Jules recovered with the help of rabbits and has vowed to stand up for herself and her friends no matter what. This attitude, while generally commendable, leads her to sometimes be abrupt and act rashly. Jules is refreshing in that she is so independent with a take charge attitude. By far my favorite character is Bun. This is a rabbit with an attitude. He's funny and forthright, smart and protective. LEFT FUR DEAD has a quaint premise. A rabbit with telepathic powers is certainly unique in the mystery scene and I appreciate how proper care for rabbits is emphasized. While it fit that Bun's speech patterns were slightly off kilter, the whole book had an odd use of phrasing and word choice that stopped the flow and made the pacing someone erratic. Unfortunately, the author hit on a major pet peeve of mine. At the end of the story the villain, who had a very good motive, and had been behaving rationally, suddenly became a "maniac" with an "evil" laugh. The author could have gotten the story exactly where she needed with the same villain, motive, and even final exciting scene, without creating yet another crazed killer. Bolstered by a charming rabbit LEFT FUR DEAD provides a unique mystery. With room to grow the first Jules and Bun Mystery is a promising start to a new series. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Left Fur Dead is a cute cozy mystery. Jules Bridge is the caretaker of Fur Bridge Farm which takes injured and abused bunnies. She also breeds and raises rabbits as well as runs a store on the farm that sells yarn and rabbit related items. Bun is Jules bunny housemate that she rescued from Margery Shaw who called the little fellow the devil spawn. Margery just did not understand what Bun was trying to communicate. Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that Bun talks to Jules using mental telepathy and he is a very curious little bunny. When the pair find Arty the Mime dead in the snow, Bun is eager to investigate. He has a nose for sleuthing plus he has keen hearing. Jules is having trouble at the farm with someone breaking into the barn and opening the rabbit cages. The situation continues to escalate, and Jules is worried about her little rabbit charges. Left Fur Dead is nicely written and progresses at a steady pace. I like the main characters of Jules, Bun, Sheriff Jack Carver and Jess Plain. The mystery has a handful of suspects and there are clues to help readers identify the guilty party. I did feel that the case was a little drawn out. Weeks go by before this case is put to bed. Also, Jules was a little reckless. She put herself into danger more than once (and then what would happen to the rabbits). There are some clever aspects to the mystery with a good reveal and a nice wrap-up. Jules and Bun are cute together and I enjoyed their interactions. Jess is a good friend to Jules, and I look forward to getting to know her better in future books. Sheriff Jack Carver is a nice man with a sweet wife who loves to buy yarn. Jack frequently tells Jules to keep her nose and Bun’s out of the case. I did wonder why Jack told her this right after she found the body. I have a feeling that Jules has tried to help Jack in the past. Left Fur Dead is an upbeat cozy mystery with a dead mime, an inquisitive rabbit, a cunning killer, and a worried rabbit rescuer determined to crack this whodunit.
I really enjoyed this book. It was well-written and a quick-read. When my dog was alive, I talked to him all the time and though he never spoke back, like Bun, I knew he understood what I was saying. I think most pet owners feel that way. The book starts out with a conversation between Jules and Bun, who is a rabbit, and I had to go back and reread the very beginning to make sure I wasn't crazy that, yes, the rabbit was talking LOL. I had my suspicions about the murderer, but the how and why were very surprising. There were a lot of great characters in this book and I hope we get to see how they develop and if they will return in future books. You should put this on your TBR pile soon! 4.6 stars. I voluntarily reviewed this book on Netgalley.
This cozy mystery threw me off kilter. It did not follow the usual formula - meet the characters, find a dead body and then follow the clues to find the suspect. No this one broke all the rules by starting off with finding the dead body before we even get a feel for our characters. The first chapter confused me - I actually had to read it again as I thought I had missed something or even accidentally started chapter 2!! Juliette “Jules” Bridge and her rabbit Bun are out for a brisk morning walk when they find a body frozen in snow, and after calling the police and heading home once allowed she soon discovers that the man was a local Mime Artist called Arrty - this news brings out some odd commenting from Sheriff and Jules friend Jess who automatically assumed that she was going to investigate the man's death….. Why would they automatically think that? Has something happened before for them to even mention this?? I could see them saying something along those lines if this was say book 2 or something, but to be said right at the start of a new series, I just found that incredibly odd. I did love the premise of the telepathic talking bunny rabbit - it put a new spin on things and made this story unique and stand out, though his narrative had a tendency to waffle and even at some point Jules was fed up with it! Jules run a rabbit farm/sanctuary and not only does she have the murder on her mind, she is experiencing some break ins at the farm - wehn seh discovered a squatter living in a tent on her land, she immedaily rules him out and he agrees to help keep any eye on anything unuaul. When she changes the lock the break-ins stops, and she begins to relax a little. There didn’t seem to be much investigating into Arty’s death, and the suspect pool was rather non-existent and when the killer of Arty and the break ins at the farm were finally revealed it totally threw me, there was no inclination that pointed to them in the slightest! Unless I missed somethig…… Overall I enjoyed the story, and it was a nice little cozy mysteries though feel the “mystery” could be doing with some tweaks.
This is the first time I have read anything by JM Griffin and I am glad I gave it a go. Left Fur Dead is a very entertaining story full of twists and turns, a few red herrings that hold your attention from the very beginning. On Fur Bridge Farm, Jules cares for rescued rabbits. But when a killer strikes, she'll need a rabbit to rescue her . Juliette “Jules” Bridge prides herself on the tender rehabilitation she provides for injured or abused rabbits on her New Hampshire rescue farm, but she has a very special relationship with one bunny in particular. Bun is a black-and-white rabbit who happens to have the ability to communicate through mental telepathy. Once she got over the shock, Jules found her furry friend had a lot to say. One frigid March morning on their walk together, Bun spots a body. The police identify the frozen stiff as Arthur Freeman, aka Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty knew each other on the children's party circuit, where he’d perform magic tricks and she had an educational rabbit petting pen. With Bun egging her on, Jules decides it’s time they hop to it and put their heads together to discover who silenced the mime. But their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole of more suspects and lies, while a killer sets a trap for them... Protagonist Jules is likeable and I liked Bun (bunny) who is intelligent and communicates with Jules telepathically. I could really relate to this as I always talked to my cats as well as talk to my dog when out walking I get funny looks, so I could see how it could be embarrassing, especially with local law enforcement! There are other interesting characters to round things out Like Jess and Molly. I personally can't wait for the next installment. I requested and received an Advance Reader Copy of the book from Kensington Books and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
cozy-mystery, amateur-sleuth, law-enforcement, murder, rescue, pets, bunny, New Hampshire Great new cozy mystery series! The publisher's blurb is pretty good for starters, but the mystery is well crafted and full of twists and red herrings that hold the reader's interest from beginning to end. Bun is an intelligent and fun pet bunny who communicates with Jules telepathically. Since no one else can hear their interactions it can get a mite embarrassing, especially with local law enforcement! There are a slew of other interesting characters to round things out. Can't wait for the next one! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
The author of Left Fur Dead had me at “telepathic rabbit”. Jules runs a rabbit rescue on her farm in rural New Hampshire with a yarn store on the premises. Walking with Jules one snowy morning, her pet rabbit, Bun, finds a dead body. The body is Arty, the local mime. Later, a break-in at Jule’s farm brings a warning that the rabbits must be released as Arty wanted. What is the connection between Arty’s death and the perpetrator? Jules and Bun investigate to find out. I was grateful to read a cozy mystery that wasn’t about needlework, cats, or dogs for a change. A telepathic rabbit at a rabbit rescue seemed like a fun idea. Unfortunately, Left Fur Dead also dumps the traditional light romance and the placing of clues to follow to identify the murderer. I missed the romance. The only person that Jules seems attracted to is the married sheriff and her bunny. Seriously…really? By the end, I was hoping she would hook up with the female vet. Now that would be innovative! For me the biggest problem is that there is literally no way to determine the murderer’s identity (or at least I never saw it) before his reveal at the end of the book. As an armchair detective, I expect the author to play fair and this one appeared not to. I realize J.M. Miller has written many other cozy series so I may try one of those before investing any more time in this one—though I will miss Bun. 2 stars. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Jules Bridge runs a farm where she cares for bunnies, has a traveling bunny petting zoo for parties, and operates a yarn shop. She’s busy girl, but when a mime she had worked parties with is found murdered, Jules and Bun find time to dig into the mystery when it seems to be connected to break ins that are happening at her shop. If the police or Jules and Bun can’t solve the murder quickly, Jules can literally kiss arm life good bye. It’s hard when you trust those closest to you and can’t figure out who may not be exactly what they seem. When I see a new cozy series pop up I read the description and will often give it a read. Seeing this new series, that is exactly what i did. But I’m not too sure about being able to speak with a bunny telepathically. When I waver like this, I will give the second book a read and make a decision on
I received a free copy of LEFT FUR DEAD (Book 1 of the Jules & Bun Mysteries) by J.M. Griffin in exchange for an honest review. Jules Bridge runs Fur Bridge Farm; she’s busy as a domestic rabbit rescuer, breeder of pet bunnies, and owner/operator of a souvenir and yarn shop. Jules also has a secret; she can understand one of her rescued rabbits when he speaks to her. As a result, Jules is rarely seen anywhere without her sidekick, Bun. When Jules and Bun find a body while they are out on an early spring walk, Bun insists they find out what happened to the man. Despite law enforcement’s repeated warnings to leave the investigating to them, Jules and Bun continue to search for the killer. Meanwhile, Jules, her employees, and her rabbit farm come under repeated attack. Now both hunter and hunted, can Jules and Bun identify the predator or will they fall prey to the murderer’s snare? I liked this book. The only jarring note was how everyone immediately assumed Jules would investigate the death. There was no history given of prior investigations or nosy behavior or Jules’ part, so this was bizarre. Otherwise, it was entertaining and fun. #LeftFurDead #NetGalley
Left fur dead is a fantastic mystery. It has more suspense then a traditional cozy, but it kept me turning pages for a good part of the day! I enjoyed Jules who runs a rehabilitation farm for rabbits in NH. I love how Jules and Jess take care of animals in such a compassionate way. Bun the anxious telepathic bunny adds to the charm of the book. I definitely recommend this great read. I was provided an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
I liked this book, it was engaging and entertaining even if sometimes it was a bit confusing. The characters are well written and likable, I liked both Jules and Bun and found their telepathic chatting funny, the plot is entertaining even if a bit confusing at times, the setting lovely. The mystery was ok, no plot hole, and it kept me guessing. I look forward to reading another installment in this series. Recommended! Many thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.