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!
“Doggone charming from start to finish!”
—Cleo Coyle, New York Times bestselling author on Death by Chocolate Lab
About the Author
Elise Arsenault is a classically trained actor, singer, and voice-over artist. She has worked throughout the country with various regional theaters, including Merrimack Rep, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Ivoryton Playhouse, Imagination Stage, and the Discovery Theater at the Smithsonian Institute.
Read an Excerpt
The Thirtieth Annual Sylvan Creek Tail Waggin' Winterfest promised to be even bigger and better than the festivals of years past, which was saying something, because the pet-friendly, week-long event had long been the highlight of January for many folks in the Pocono Mountains.
And this year, the little village of temporary huts that was always erected at wooded Bear Tooth State Park, on the shore of Lake Wallapawakee, had been completely refurbished; each tiny, heated shack painted a pretty, but wintry, shade of robin's egg blue. There were more vendors, too, selling things like gourmet hot chocolate, s'mores, and cold-weather gear for dogs and cats. For the first time ever, a polar bear plunge would kick off the festivities later that evening, and the bonfire that burned at the center of the ephemeral town crackled in a bigger ring of stones, while the paths through the festival were lit by new glass lanterns. There were even moonlit walks through the woods, led by old Max Pottinger, who told the tale of a legendary spectral Saint Bernard that supposedly patrolled the vast network of cross-country ski trails, guiding those who lost their way.
Strolling through the heart of the festival on a night that threatened snow, I couldn't help thinking the scene was picture-perfect. And yet, something didn't seem quite right.
"It's almost too nice this year," I complained to my sister, Piper, and my best friend, Moxie Bloom. Slipping on some ice in my favorite flea-market cowboy boots, I nearly dropped my third s'more. Then I righted myself and added, "Don't you think it's kind of odd?"
"The festival's definitely different," Piper agreed, kicking through the snow in her sensible, waterproof boots, which matched her rated-for-the-Arctic down parka. My sister was a veterinarian who often saw patients literally in the field, and she was always suitably dressed for the weather. And as someone who'd restored an 1800s farm, called Winding Hill, Piper wasn't necessarily opposed to updating shabby structures. "I like the fresh paint," she noted, with a glance at a booth selling hand-knit sweaters for dogs. "And the vendors are better this year. I think it's nice to have more than just the VFW selling hot dogs." She frowned, still staring at the hut, which was strung with clotheslines that sagged under the weight of small cardigans and pullovers. "Although, while I'm a fan of Arlo Finch's crafts, I'm not too fond of his practice."
"You're just too rational," I said, waving to Arlo, a lanky, bearded, graying hippie throwback who practiced holistic "pet healing and energy therapy" when not knitting adorable canine garb. I'd already stopped by Arlo's booth and purchased an argyle cardigan for a one-eared, drooling Chihuahua that I used to foster, even though I had trouble picturing the man who'd adopted Artie buttoning the little dog into a sweater. Especially one knitted from free-range yak yarn and delivered in a bag that advertised Arlo's practice, Peaceable Pets. I made a mental note not to mention the yarn when I dropped off the present. "I'm definitely open to the idea of alternative medicine," I added. "Some therapies have been time-tested over centuries."
"I agree with Daphne," Moxie said, tucking her hands deeper into a fluffy, white fake-fur muff. "I would totally get acupuncture, if I wasn't scared of needles."
Piper gave Moxie a funny look, then grumbled, "New Age medicine is all mumbo jumbo." I suspected that she was a bit grumpy because her boyfriend, Professor Roger Berendt, was in Europe for the next five months, on sabbatical. She zipped her parka right up to her chin as we all walked on, past ice sculptures that were also new to the festival. The frozen artwork glittered in the moonlight. "And I don't know why you wouldn't like an improved Winterfest, Daphne."
"Because even the people look like actors," I complained, sidestepping a twenty-something couple who might've walked directly off the pages of an L.L. Bean catalog. The woman had a tiny, perfectly groomed Yorkie tucked under her arm, and the man sipped cocoa from a commemorative mug. I couldn't ever recall Winterfest having a logo before, but the ceramic cups featured a cartoon image of the legendary Lake Wallapawakee Saint Bernard, who was romping in a snow pile. I watched for a moment as the man and woman stopped to check out the dog sweaters, the woman holding up an even cuter cardigan than the one I'd bought. Darn it. Then I returned my attention to Piper and Moxie. "Don't you think the whole thing is kind of ... Stepford Wives-ish?"
"Ooh, I love that movie!" Moxie cried, missing the point. "Although, the festival reminds me more of White Christmas than robot wives."
Moxie, of course, knew both movies by heart. She loved all things vintage and, along with the muff, wore a 1940s wool coat that nipped in at the waist, a pair of leather boots with fur trim around the ankles, and a turban-style hat that hid one of her few concessions to modernity, her spiky red hair.
All at once, as I studied my friend's attire, I realized that her outfit, like the too-flawless setting, was a little ... off.
"Umm, you know you have to ditch all your clothes on the lakeshore, right?" I asked Moxie, with a glance down at my old barn coat, tattered wool mittens, and oversized boots. My long, unruly, dirty-blond curls were tucked under a knit ski cap I'd found on the floor of the pink 1970s VW bus that served as headquarters for my business, Daphne Templeton's Lucky Paws Pet Sitting. In short, I looked like I was about to muck out stalls, while Moxie could've gone shopping on Park Avenue — circa 1945. "Aren't you a little overdressed?" I suggested. "You look awfully nice to jump in a lake."
Moxie stopped in her tracks and pulled the muff back close to her chest. Her green eyes were wide with surprise. "Why would I jump in a lake? In January?"
I looked at Piper, who was rolling her eyes, as if to say, I knew this would happen.
Then I turned back to Moxie. "Because we're doing the polar bear plunge this year!" I reminded her. My s'more was oozing, but I hardly noticed the gooey marshmallow dripping onto my mitten. "You're the one who suggested it!"
Moxie shook her head. "Oh, no. I said we should go to the plunge. I didn't say we should do it."
As I tried to recall a conversation Moxie and I'd had a few weeks before, I heard a soft snuffling sound, almost like laughter, and looked down to see that my canine sidekick, a normally taciturn, introspective basset hound named Socrates, was struggling to contain a rare show of amusement.
"This is not funny," I told him, which didn't stop his tail from twitching, just a tiny bit. His usually baleful brown eyes also twinkled with amusement — until I gave him a warning look, and he hung his head, his long ears dragging in the snow. Needless to say, Socrates had refused to wear a hat, and he'd turned up his freckled nose at the insulated jacket I'd offered him, too. Canine apparel appalled him. "I'm already registered," I added, addressing Moxie again. "I have a number. I have to do the plunge!"
"Moxie is smart to sit the event out," Piper said. "From what I've seen, the organizers slapped the whole thing together at the last minute. I don't think there are even plans to restrict the number of people who enter the lake at one time. It could be a mess."
"I'll be careful," I promised, thinking she was worrying too much. "And it's for a good cause. All the proceeds go to feed the rescue cats at Breard's Big Cats of the World."
"I don't know if I support that 'charity,'" Piper said, continuing to be critical. She'd never admit it, but she was definitely missing Roger, whom she'd been seeing for several months. "Is it a zoo?" she noted. "A shelter? A nonprofit, even? Because you have to pay to tour the place."
I honestly wasn't sure how to classify Big Cats of the World, either. But I knew that Victor Breard, a native of France, had a good reputation for taking in exotic animals that were rescued from bad situations — say, the tiger cub someone illegally adopted, then couldn't handle — and giving them safe, secure homes on his licensed 200-acre preserve, just outside Sylvan Creek.
"Well, regardless, I'm doing the plunge," I said, shooting Moxie a dark look. I was ninety percent sure she had misunderstood our earlier conversation.
"I'm sorry, Daph," she apologized. "I'd register now, but I'm not wearing a bathing suit." Then she raised her muff. "Besides, what would I do with Sebastian while I was swimming?"
"What?" Piper seemed puzzled. "What are you talking about?"
I was also confused. "You've named that fake-fur thing?"
I was starting to think Moxie had gone over the edge, when all at once a tiny white head popped out of the muff. A small, twitching nose sniffed the cold air, and a pair of intelligent pink eyes blinked at me. I jumped, and Socrates, normally unflappable, took a few steps backward, nearly bumping into one of the ice sculptures.
I had to force myself not to pull away, too. "You adopted a rat?"
Moxie raised her hands to let Sebastian brush his little cheek against hers. "Yes! It turns out small pets are allowed in my apartment. And he's adorable, don't you think?"
I loved animals, and I'd taken care of everything from pythons to tarantulas, but something about rats spooked me, as Piper knew all too well. She grinned at me. "You look awfully taken aback, for somebody who often quotes the Dalai Lama about the importance of loving all living creatures."
My pragmatic, successful sister loved to mock my admittedly impractical PhD in philosophy.
"I'm sure Sebastian and I will end up being friends," I told Piper and Moxie. I forced myself to meet those pink eyes again, and Sebastian blinked up at me, then squirmed and returned to the warmth of his mobile den. I caught a glimpse of his naked tail slithering away and fought back a shudder, even as I said, "I promise, we'll be buddies, soon."
When the rat was out of sight, Socrates exhaled softly, like he was also relieved.
"I guess you're right about the plunge, Moxie," I added glumly. "You can't take a rat into freezing water." Then I looked hopefully at Piper. "Unless ..."
"Moxie doesn't have a bathing suit," my sister reminded me. "And I'm afraid I can't hold Sebastian. I'm here on official, if unsanctioned, business, looking out for any dogs that might follow their owners into the water, then get panicked or hurt in the crowd."
"Sorry," Moxie apologized again, as we passed by a hut selling mulled cider and warm donuts. I'd finished my s'more and briefly debated buying yet another treat, in an attempt to fatten myself up, like a walrus insulated with blubber, then decided it was too late. "I wouldn't take part this year, anyhow," Moxie noted. "Not when the whole thing will probably be filmed!"
I grew even more concerned. "What do you mean by that?"
"Everybody from the media is here," Moxie explained. Her hands were trapped, so she nodded over at the bonfire, where kids were roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks, while listening to old Max Pottinger spin the tale of the mysterious Saint Bernard, prelude to leading another walk in the woods. Max — wizened, bent, and seemingly oblivious to the cold in a flannel shirt and ball cap — spoke in hushed tones, but his listeners were wide-eyed and rapt. The only exception was the new owner of, and only reporter at, the Sylvan Creek Weekly Gazette, who was in constant motion, snapping photos of Max and his audience. "I do not want Gabriel Graham putting my frozen, screaming face on the front page of a paper that people are actually starting to read now," Moxie said. "And you know he'll pick the most unflattering picture for page one!"
"Yes, he probably will," I muttered, as Gabriel — thirty-something, good looking, and perhaps too charming — crouched down and snapped away. The flames roared up behind him, and I couldn't help thinking that, with his dark, wavy hair, goatee, and gleaming white teeth, he looked a little bit like the devil.
Gabriel must've sensed that he was being observed, because all at once, he straightened, slipped the distinctive red plaid strap on his hefty Nikon camera around his neck, and began to walk in our direction.
"Hey, everyone," he greeted us, with a nod to Socrates. I wasn't sure if I liked Gabriel, but I appreciated that he included the shortest member of our party, who sometimes got overlooked. Although I couldn't understand how. Socrates had a certain gravitas. Then Gabriel smiled at Piper. "Nice to see you." Before she even replied, he looked me and Moxie up and down and added, ambiguously, "You two look interesting tonight."
"Why, thank you," Moxie said, taking the comment as a compliment. "My outfit is vintage forties. And Daphne's dressed to jump in the lake."
Gabriel's brown eyes glittered with amusement. "Always up to something, aren't you, Miss Templeton?" he observed. "The last time I spoke to you, you'd just solved a murder."
"Yes." I crossed my arms over my chest. "I read your article — in which you gave Jonathan Black most of the credit for solving the case."
I'd actually helped handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black solve two homicides during his brief time in Sylvan Creek, but nobody ever seemed to want to acknowledge my contributions. Least of all, Jonathan.
"I'll try to feature you prominently in my story on the plunge," Gabriel promised. "I'll be sure to seek you out when I'm taking pictures. And maybe someday I can do a feature on the pet sitter with the PhD in philosophy who is also opening a bakery for dogs and cats?"
Everybody knew that I was a pet sitter. My van announced my profession and featured a pretty eye-catching painting of a misshapen dog that was often mistaken for a misshapen pony. That was Moxie's handiwork. The fact that I'd rented a small storefront on Sylvan Creek's main street and planned to — hopefully — soon open a bakery for pets was also common knowledge. But I wasn't sure how Gabriel knew about my degree. And I didn't know if I liked his mildly flirtatious, if mocking, tone, either.
"No, please don't feature me ..." I started to protest, my ears getting warm under my cap.
Piper was clearly amused. And Moxie was oblivious to my discomfort. On the contrary, she seemed increasingly excited about the prospect of seeing my "frozen, screaming" face on the front page, and she interrupted me, noting, "Wow, a photo and a feature story!" Her eyes were fairly glowing. "And maybe you'll be filmed by Stylish Life Network, too, when you run into the water!" I looked down at my barn coat again, then caught Gabriel smirking at me. "I think we've all established that I'm not very 'stylish' tonight," I reminded everyone, while Socrates snuffled again.
Gabriel, meanwhile, surveyed the candlelit village, which had been updated with support from the network, for a show called America's Most Pet Friendly Towns. Sylvan Creek had been chosen — some preferred the word targeted — for the program the previous year, and a crew had been filming — some said "terrorizing" — the community for nearly six weeks, with no sign of packing up and leaving.
"Stylish Life did help to make this place look pretty nice," Gabriel observed. "Not too shabby, for a festival in a forest."
"Actually, I was just complaining that everything looks too perfect," I said, stepping back so two adorable Samoyed puppies could dart past me. I watched the pair tumble in the snow, thinking I'd never seen the dogs before. Was it possible that they'd been planted by the crew, to add even more "atmosphere"? "I sort of miss the shabby, rustic touches Winterfest used to have," I added. "Like the old luminarias, made from plastic milk jugs, with candles that kept burning out."
Piper knitted her brows, as if she wasn't quite up to speed. "You're saying Stylish Life funded the improvements?" She suddenly seemed less impressed by the changes. Like pretty much everyone in town who dealt with animals, Piper had suffered some run-ins with the film crew. "I didn't know that."
Excerpted from "Pawprints & Predicaments"
Copyright © 2018 Bethany Blake.
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
Loved the characters. A page turner. Kept me enticed the entire time .
Once again, another entertaining, fun filled, dog-gone good, who-dun-it! I took awhile to finish this story because I just wasn't ready to end my visit to Sylvan Creek or my visit with Socrates, Artie, and Detective Black... and of course our protagonist, Daphne and family! I love the interactions between the characters and and the fun traditions of their town. When a visiting film crew member shows up dead at the local polar plunge, the story begins! The mystery is right under your nose the whole time and you will be kept guessing until the end, and then you'll wonder how you didn't catch the answer yourself (or maybe you did! - I was too involved with everything else to see what was under my own nose!). I can't wait until the next release in this series - it can't come soon enough!
Pawprints & Predicaments by Bethany Blake was a fun story filled with animals, friends, and one of the most philosophical characters I have come across in a cozy series. Daphne Templeton holds a PHD in philosophy, but runs a pet-sitting business and is getting ready to open a pet bakery. She lives in the town of Sylvan Creek, known as one of the most pet loving towns. When a television crew descends on the town, their plan is to make a show that makes them look pet crazy, not pet loving. When the producer ends up dead, Daphne once again, gets involved in solving the crime. I love Daphne's character. She is not as ditzy as she was in previous outings, but still has her moments. She has a quote for every situation showing her upbeat nature. She is an allover nice person who I would love to meet. Of course she seems to stumble onto murder victims quite regularly. Luckily for her, her instincts are great and she is often able to solve the crimes herself. Of course my favorite characters are Socrates, the basset hound, who seems to be the reincarnation of Socrates himself, and Artie, the one-eared chihuahua, owned by Detective Jonathan Black. Their personalities are hilarious and they are able to assist in solving the crimes unintentionally. The mystery was a good one, and the murderer was not even on my radar before the big reveal. Each book in this series seems to get better. We get to know a bit more about Daphne and Jonathan in this book. I wonder if their friendship will ever become more? I am looking forward to the newest addition to this series due out in November 2018. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating and opinions are my own.
love this series
I am always excited to read a book in this series. The town if full of unique, quirky people that still jump off the page like they are real. Daphne Templeton is one of the best new amateur sleuth to come along in a long time. Her lack of organization often leads her into trouble and stumbling over clues and dead bodies. I thoroughly enjoyed this newest book in this series and can't wait for the next one to show up so i can pre-order it and have it waiting for me on publication release day.
I would say this is the best yet in a quaint series set in the Poconos town of Sylvan Creek. Daphne's pet sitting business continues to flourish, and her pet-centric bakery is almost ready to open. Sylvan Creek is hosting the area's Winterfest, complete with a Polar Plunge and cardboard Iditarod parade. A New York cable channel is in town to cover this pet friendly town and its' quirky owners. Producer Lauren Templeton leaves a lot of bad feelings in her wake and when she is pulled from the cold water Plunge, she is dead. With a mysterious St. Bernard and Daphne's every present basset hound Socrates, Daphne sticks her nose where it doesn't belong (at least according to police detective Jonathan Black), to help solve the mystery. Blake's animals are some of the best described creatures around, their slightly human traits magnified slightly enough to be realistic. I passed along the treat recipe from the end of the book to a friend who makes her own dog food, will be waiting to hear if it is paws up after she tries it! I look forward a lot more stories in this engaging series.
This is a great cozy mystery! Not one, but two murders, two possible love interests, close friend and family for support, and a cast of eccentric suspects to keep you guessing. All set in a small town that loves their pets, especially the canines. What's not to love? This is the first story I have read from this author, and is the third book in a series. I didn't notice anything missing and was able to follow the story without issue, so I would say it could be a stand alone read. I do plan to read the first two books of the series. Loved it!
I love this story. It has all the ingredients for a great cozy mystery. It is well written with relatable characters and a mystery that remains a mystery until the very end. Add to that an unique cast of animals and a touch of romance and it becomes a five star book. It is time for the Thirtieth Annual Sylvan Creek Tail Waggin' Winterfest. Pet sitter and soon-to-be pet bakery owner/operator Daphne Templeton is participating in the polar bear plunge to help a local charity. The plunge becomes chaotic and Daphne finds herself struggling to stay above water but an even bigger shock is what she discovers in the water. This book also includes some yummy recipes for pet treats. It is the third book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series but could easily be read as a stand alone. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Sylvan Creek is being touted as a pet-friendly destination and there is television crew in town to film their Tail Waggin’ Winterfest. Locals are hoping the exposure will bring more tourists to the town. Petsitter Daphne Templeton is trying to get her new pet bakery open and included in the production but contractors are hard to come by due to another huge home renovation. So right now she is concentrating on Winterfest and all it entails including a polar bear plunge. Turns out this part of the festival was a bit unorganized and with over 80 people rushing into the frigid water and trying to hurry back out was a little chaotic. Especially when Daphne takes a little fall and winds up underwater tangled with another body. Daphne is rescued by industrious St. Bernard but the other person, the television producer, Lauren Savidge, was not so lucky, Her body is ice cold and she is dead. Daphne knows Detective Jonathan Black isn’t going to like it but she and her sleuthing assistant basset hound, Socrates are plunging into their own investigation. I so enjoyed this story. Daphne has quickly become one of my favorite protagonists. I am excited about her new pet bakery even though she needed a little shove and a little push to set up her grand opening. Her mind was clearly on everything else happening that the store hit the backburner for awhile. Her friend Moxie always makes me smile, great attitude and her love for the great film actresses of yesterday. Daphne’s mother is quite a woman, pushy and demanding, but she truly loves her daughter and Daphne gets to know how to handle her better every day. The pets again add so much to the story. They are unique and mostly lovable. One new pet addition made me squirm, definitely not my idea for a pet, but to each his own Of course, basset hound Socrates is still my favorite. Laugh out loud funny and able to turn even the worst day around. The murder mystery is quite a tangled up mess when Detective Black’s ex-wife becomes a suspect and another detective takes over the investigation. There are plenty of suspects to weed through and eliminate as we follow each and every piece of the puzzle that gets locked into place. I love the way the author takes a reader right into the story. She makes it so easy to see everything like we are right on her character’s shoulders. Bethany Blake has written a fun story with engaging characters, human, and animal, that captivated this reader from beginning to end. Small town life converged with an excellent mystery was so entertaining. I can’t wait to visit Sylvan Creek again soon!
This is my first experience with this series, but it most definitely won't be my last. I am a big fan of Daphne and all of the animals in her life. Her personality is appealing--she's very fun-loving and eager to help her friends, both human and animal. Winterfest is a big part of life in Sylvan Creek, especially this year with a television crew filming all the festivities. Unfortunately, the producer winds up dead, putting a damper on things, and re-igniting Daphne's enthusiasm for solving crimes. I most enjoyed the interactions between Daphne and her basset hound, Socrates. She holds conversations with him and is able to recognize what his different expressions and mannerisms mean. He makes for a great supporting character. The story is very well written, and the final reveal was a pretty big surprise, especially since I had fallen for some of the red herrings the author wrote into the plot.
Pawprints and Predicaments is full of humor, delightful pets (especially the dogs) and a great plot! You will find yourself chuckling often throughout this read. At the vivid personalities that Bethany Blake gives the animals (Artie the one-eared Chihuahua and Socrates the basset hound slay me). At Daphne’s eccentrically endearing personality (she was banned from Kenya & accidentally took Krav Maga classes in Israel). And just at the witty way in which the author weaves her words – wry & sometimes a little bit snarky. I gotta admit that I thought I had it figured out right from the beginning. Nope. Not even close. Blake constructs the mystery in such a way that you anticipate the predictability, are even fine with it because the story is so delightful… and then you’re pleasantly surprised by the actual unpredictability of the story when all is said and done. Bottom Line: If you have ever insisted your dog was laughing at you, tried to force his appalled self into a cute doggy sweater and/or talked to him like he was human, then Pawprints and Predicaments by Bethany Blake is right up your alley! A dash of romantic possibilities (#teamJonathan), loads of quirky humor, and a well-plotted murder mystery round out the tale. A great choice for fans of cozy mysteries, clean reads and dogs! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
In Pawprints & Predicaments, Daphne Templeton certainly has her hands full with the impending opening of her pet bakery, Flour Power, and running her pet sitting service, Lucky Paws. When a murder occurs during the Polar Bear Plunge that's kicking off the Annual Sylvan Creek Tail Waggin' Winterfest, she needs to solve it quickly so that she can get back to business. Enter a ghostly and legendary St. Bernard, mysterious Detective Jonathan Black, and all the excitement of the Winterfest, and author Bethany Blake has gifted the reader with another wonderful cozy mystery! I really like Daphne and her upbeat, positive attitude, and especially her very philosophical relationship with her canine partner in crime, basset hound Socrates. Love this series, and I hope there will be many more books. I highly recommend Pawprints & Predicaments! :-)
In the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains, the pet-loving town of Sylvan Creek is celebrating Winterfest with visitors and furry friends from all over. This year a TV crew is in town to film the events and tell the story of Sylvan Creek and their love for animals. From bonfires, to booths selling goodies and pet items, to events that celebrate the pets, it's going to be a fun time. When the inaugural polar bear plunge takes place, the head of the TV crew filming the events turns up dead and Daphne Templeton found the body! Daphne, the owner of Lucky Paws Pet Sitting and the soon to open Flour Power Pet Baker, seems to have a knack for finding dead bodies and solving mysteries. Along with her Basset Hound Socrates, Cat Templeton, sisterPiper, BFF Maxie Bloom, Detective Jonathan Black, Town newspaper editor/photographer/writer Gabriel Graham, and a town of eclectic residents, Daphne helps to solve mystery. While this is the third book in the Lucky Paws Pet Sitting Mystery series, it is the first one I have read and it was a great stand alone story with no gaps from not having read the previous books. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll find yourself right at home in Sylvan Creek with Big Cats, house cats, Dogs, and even a mouse!
this was a great read! I loved returning to the small town of Sylvan Creek where the winter festival was taking place. the mystery was a good one that kept me guessing and lots of secrets and backstories got unraveled along the way. I predicted the murder weapon correctly, but not the murderer. It was a nice twist, although I wouldn’t have minded a few more hints in that direction. Daphne is a fun main character to read about and I am still holding out hope that her relationship with Jonathan will eventually turn into a romance, they have some great banter going on. I never really fully warmed up to Gabriel, but I liked the new pets we meet in this book. And it’s great how with each book we learn more about the town and the characters. There also were parts about Daphne’s new business and the winter festival which was a nice touch and I like the continuity in this series. Another great read in this awesome cozy mystery series and I am already looking forward to the next book!
Come and spend some time with the ladies of Sylvan Creek. Daphne, her sister Piper, and her best friend Maxie are all such fun and diverse personalities I love seeing what they are all up to. This book doesn’t disappoint and is a lot of fun. I highly recommend this series for cozy mystery fans. Sub Topics: Small town, pet loving; especially dogs, female small business owner Can You Start The Series in the Middle? You can, but each installment endears you to Daphne as a protagonist and I’d recommend starting at the beginning to get the best feel for the charm and full depth of each character. If You Like … Krista Davis’ Paws and Claws Mystery Series, you’ll enjoy this book.
While I love to read and read quite voraciously, certain stressful situations make it difficult for me to concentrate so I typically don’t even try to pick up a book… such as flights and having the flu with a fever. One year ago when Bethany Blake released her first book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series, I just happened to start reading it shortly before I boarded a flight. Imagine my amazement when I continued reading throughout the entire five hour flight and barely noticed my discomfort! I experienced a similar situation earlier this month with Ms. Blake’s newest release, PAWPRINTS & PREDICAMENTS, the third book in the series. I came down with that dreadful flu making the rounds and took two trips to urgent care. Armed with PAWPRINTS & PREDICAMENTS on my iPad, I immersed myself in Sylvan Creek’s festivities and barely took notice of my surroundings or my achy, feverish body! I find the protagonist, Daphne Templeton, highly entertaining and Ms. Blake writes with a terrific sense of humor that had me chuckling out loud on several occasions. People might mistakenly think that Daphne is a ditzy blonde, but beneath her bohemian exterior is a highly intelligent young lady with a generous heart. The predicaments Daphne alludes to throughout the book about her trips that have gone awry during her previous nomadic life have me hoping the author expounds on them in future books… just her small mentions had me laughing at the scenes I envisioned. Not only are the human characters well-developed and entertaining, but the pet characters are equally so. I adore Daphne’s dog, Socrates and her trying cat, Tinkleston. They truly have their own personalities that greatly add to the story. A strong, smart, funny protagonist is great but the key to a terrific book is a strong plot and Ms. Blake delivers that as well. She ties an old local legend surrounding a Saint Bernard ghost, a recluse living deep in the woods, and a Polar Bear Plunge that ends in murder together into one cohesive story that had me turning pages and ignoring my illness. There are suspects galore but clues to point the vigilant reader in the right direction. I’ll admit I decided to just go along for the entertaining ride and didn’t try to figure it out, but I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed. In fact, I was glued to the book until the very last page was read and then started wondering how soon the next book will be available! In addition to pet sitting, Daphne is opening a pet bakery called Flour Power. She creates many delicious, healthy treats for her pets and the author has included several recipes at the back of the book. My grandpuppy will attest that these treat recipes rate 4-paws up! I was provided an advance copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Pawprints & Predicaments (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #3) by Bethany Blake is just as fantastic as I hoped. Daphne is a great protagonist, she is fun, carefree and her willingness to help animals and friends is a plus. It's time for The Tail Waggin’ Winterfest in the famously pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. This event should be a blast, but TV producer Lauren Savidge is really putting a damper on the activities. She is rude and to critical in Daphne's opinion, but that won't stop Daphne from participating in the first-ever polar bear plunge in Lake Wallapawakee. It's not just the shock of the freezing cold water that takes Daphne's breath away, it's finding yet another dead body! Daphne swears she saw the ghost of the local town legend- A mysterious St. Bernard who is known to travel through their small town. Daphne knows what she saw and she won't rest until she discovers all the answers and unravels this intriguing mystery. The ending caught me by surprise and I was delighted that this was one mystery I couldn't solve. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.