Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly's left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett "Dixie" Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.
But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it's up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . .
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"I'm sorry I'm late." I flopped down in the seat across from Dixie. "That dog." I shook my head. "Remind me why I ever thought having a dog was a good idea?"
"Uh oh." Dixie chuckled. "What did Aggie do now?"
A waiter hovered near our table, and I shoved my coffee cup in his direction. He got the hint and filled the cup and discreetly backed away from the table.
"What did she do?" I took a sip of coffee and held up a hand and ticked off my grievances one at a time. "She chewed a hole in almost every pair of socks I own. Ripped her dog bed to shreds so there was nothing but foam all over the floor. She climbed up on the bed and left a deposit on my pillow, and I just spent fifteen minutes chasing her around the hotel room trying to get my underwear out of her mouth."
Dixie's eyes grew large, and the corners of her mouth twitched.
"Don't you dare laugh," I threatened, but it didn't do any good.
Dixie wasn't able to hold back the laughter. She guffawed and laughed so long and hard that people at nearby tables turned to stare and started to laugh too. After a few seconds, even I was laughing.
When I finally pulled myself together, I wiped tears out of my eyes. "This isn't funny. I can't believe I'm laughing."
"If you don't laugh, you'll cry." Dixie wiped her eyes with a napkin. "It's funny."
"No, it isn't." I leaned forward. "Seriously, I'm at my wits' end. She was such a good dog in Lighthouse Dunes. Now that we've moved to Chattanooga, she's become the devil's spawn and is intent on getting us tossed out of the hotel."
I'd recently relocated from Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to sunny Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was living in an extended-stay hotel that accepted pets.
"I told you, you're welcome to stay with us. Beau and I have plenty of room, and we'd love to have you."
Scarlett Jefferson — Dixie, to her friends — had been my best friend in college. She was a Southern belle who was close to six feet tall. She was thin, with big hair and a big heart to match. She and her husband, Beau, were willing to let us stay with them, but I'd been through a lot. Three months ago, I thought the fact that my husband was leaving me for a younger woman after twenty-five years of marriage was the worst thing that could happen to me. It probably was the worst thing until Albert was murdered and the police arrested me as the most likely suspect. Eventually I was cleared, but I was still working through my feelings and wasn't prepared to drag all of my emotional baggage into my friend's home.
I shook my head to clear the bad memories away. "I appreciate you both so much." I sighed. "But I don't want to be a bother." Dixie was about to interrupt, and I held up a hand to stop her. "I know what you're going to say, but I've still got a lot of things to work through, and I think it would be best if I don't drown your poor husband in all of my crazy drama at one time. Besides, I'm hoping we find a rental and can settle down." I sighed again. "Who knew it would take so long to find a reasonable rental in a good neighborhood that would allow pets?"
"Well, you know you always have a place with us," Dixie said.
I knew Dixie was sincere in her invitation, but I was still adjusting to life alone without Albert. In addition to moving six hundred miles from Indiana to Chattanooga, I had adopted a rescue, a toy poodle. I named her after my favorite mystery writer, Agatha Christie, Aggie, for short. I had had a lot of change in a relatively short period of time.
I nodded. "Thank you."
"Regardless of where you stay, you need to get Aggie trained. She's bored in that hotel room all day, which is why she's getting into trouble." She tilted her head to the side. "I thought you were going to crate her during the day."
I pulled out my cell phone and swiped until I came across a video and held it up. "I put her in the crate, but she's a little Houdini. Every day when I come home, she's out. At first, I thought the hotel staff were coming into the room and letting her out, but they swore they weren't. So I got one of those motion cameras and set it up." I leaned forward. "That little minx used her nose to slide the latch on the crate until she got it open and walked out like she was the queen of Sheba." I stared. "It didn't take her five minutes to get out of the crate."
Dixie laughed. "Well, that's the problem with smart dogs like poodles. They figure things out pretty quickly. You're going to need to get a different crate with a more challenging lock."
Aggie was a two-year-old toy poodle Dixie had rescued from a breeder. She was six pounds of adorableness, and I fell head over heels in love with her the first time she looked at me with those big brown eyes and laid her head on my shoulder. However, Dixie was right: she needed training.
"I signed up for your basic obedience class at the East Tennessee Dog Club. We'll be there with bells on Thursday night."
Dixie nodded. "Good. You'll need a six-foot leather leash, a plain, flat leather collar, and a pouch full of treats she'll sell her soul for."
"I have these dog biscuits that ..."
Dixie was shaking her head before the words left my mouth, and she had that You poor pitiful thing look in her eyes that she always gave me before she said, "Bless your heart," which I'd learned was Southern speak for You're an idiot. "Dog biscuits are nice for everyday, but you want something that will drive her crazy so she'll want to do whatever you ask to get those treats."
"What do you have in mind?"
"Hot dogs or string cheese."
"You told me not to give her table food."
"True, but that was on a daily basis. Human food has preservatives, additives, tons of salt, and other things that aren't good for people or canines. But training is different. You can give her good dog treats too, but not the dog biscuits that she gets all of the time. This needs to be something special."
I pulled out my phone and added a reminder to myself. "Okay, I'll add soul-selling treats to the grocery list."
"Now, how is the house hunt going?" Dixie took a sip of her coffee and pointed to the newspaper I had placed on the table when I sat down.
"Not so good. I was supposed to look at a place this afternoon, but my realtor called and said I was too late. It's already rented."
"Maybe you should buy a house rather than renting," Dixie said. "There's a lovely home just down the street from me." She smiled enthusiastically.
I shook my head. "I can't afford your neighborhood; besides, I don't think I could drive there."
Dixie and Beau had a large, sprawling estate atop Lookout Mountain, overlooking the city. I never realized I had a problem with heights until I tried driving up Lookout Mountain. I'd lived most of my life in Indiana, which was flat and known for corn and wheat fields. I loved looking at the lush green mountains of Tennessee. However, driving them was a completely different matter. I couldn't believe how narrow the roads leading up the mountains were — only one lane in each direction. The roads had been carved out years ago and snaked up the steep, rocky terrain. On one side of the road, your car practically hugged the mountainside; then across the two lanes there was a steep drop-off with nothing to prevent cars from tumbling over the sides.
Dixie chuckled. "I remember the first time I took you to my house. Your eyes were as big as silver dollars." She laughed. "You kept saying, 'That aluminum foil rail isn't going to stop a car from falling off the side of the mountain.'" "There need to be concrete barriers on that mountain."
"Concrete would ruin the views." Dixie shook her head.
"Falling off the side of the mountain will ruin it more."
Our waiter returned and took our orders. He was a friendly young man and smiled and called me ma'am. I'd only been here for two weeks and was still getting accustomed to the friendly moniker. However, I already knew I liked Chattanooga. The people were unbelievably friendly and the landscape picturesque. However, my favorite part of Chattanooga was the weather. We were sitting outside having brunch in December. The locals complained about the cold, but at sixty-seven degrees, I thought the temperature felt fantastic. I'd checked the weather in Lighthouse Dunes earlier. There was two feet of snow on the ground and more expected every day. I'd take sixty-seven over fifteen with highs expected in the upper twenties, when the wind chill would make it feel like only seven. The very thought caused me to shiver.
I looked up. Dixie was staring at me. She then glanced to the side, and I followed the direction of her gaze to the table next to us. A small lady was sitting there, staring and smiling at us. I glanced back at Dixie, who shrugged. I tried to ignore the woman, but, after a few moments, the woman leaned over.
"Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt, but did I overhear you say you were looking for a rental home in a good neighborhood that accepts pets?"
I always thought the Midwest was a relatively friendly area, but two weeks in Chattanooga showed me the South was on a totally different level of friendliness. Complete strangers talked to you. They walked up to you and held conversations, and as in this case, they joined in on your conversations. My initial instinct was to ignore her, but Dixie was a lot friendlier than me.
She turned to the lady and smiled. "Yes, my friend just moved here from Indiana, and she's been looking for a nice house in a decent neighborhood. Do you know of a place?" The lady was older. She was small with dark hair and large glasses. "Actually, my son has a house in a great neighborhood. He's overseas at the moment, and he loves pets. In fact, he has a wonderful dog, Rusty. He's so smart and well trained. He adopted him from a colonel he knows." She smiled broadly and held her chest out proudly. "He's a military contractor stationed in the Cayman Islands."
I tilted my head and tried not to look puzzled. The Caymans weren't part of the United States. We had troops stationed all over the globe, but the Caymans? I looked from Dixie to the woman. "Is it listed with a realtor?"
She shook her head. "Not yet. You see, I live in Georgia, and I keep an eye on things for him when he's out of the country." She smiled again. "He had to leave the country very suddenly, and it'll be a long time before he returns, so I thought there's no sense in that house sitting empty. He might as well let someone live in it and let the house make money for him. I have to do some shopping, so I thought I'd come check on it." Her eyes got large. "It's a good thing I did. He left in such a hurry, the front door was open." She shook her head in dismay.
"Well, maybe you could give me your son's telephone number or e-mail address, and I can talk to him and arrange to see the house." I pulled a pen out of my purse and picked up a paper napkin so I could write down the information.
"Well, I was thinking that since I'm here and you're here, maybe I could show you the house now. That way I won't have to drive back from Georgia." She looked eagerly from Dixie to me. "My eyesight isn't what it used to be, and I hate driving in traffic if I can avoid it."
I looked at Dixie and tried to use telepathy to ask, Is this woman crazy? However, either my mental telepathy wasn't working or Dixie decided to ignore me.
"Why, that sounds like a great idea. My name is Dixie, and this is my friend Lilly." She pointed to me.
"Oh, excuse my manners. I'm Jo Ellen Hansen." She shook hands with Dixie and then me. "It's a lovely house, and I was thinking that if I rented it right away, then my son would be so pleased when he came back." She smiled.
The waiter brought our food, and Mrs. Hansen stepped out of the way. When the waiter left, she said, "Why don't I let you ladies finish eating and I'll go run a few errands. Then we could meet at the house in an hour. Would that work for you?" She looked eagerly from Dixie to me.
Dixie stared at me, and I nodded. "That would be fine, but we'll need the address."
She giggled and told me the address. I wrote it on my napkin. She gave directions to Dixie that didn't mean anything to me. However, Dixie must have known the area.
When Mrs. Hansen left, I looked at Dixie expectantly. "So?"
She shoveled a forkful of hash browns into her mouth and washed it down with coffee. "It's a nice area. I guess we should have asked how much she wants for rent and a pet deposit, but it's not very far from here."
We finished eating, and I followed Dixie to the house, which was less than five minutes away from where we were eating near the mall. The subdivision was small, with only one way in or out. It was tucked away but close to two elementary schools.
The houses were newer, probably built in the last ten years. When we pulled in front of the address Mrs. Hansen had given us, there was already a car in the driveway, and the lady in question hopped out as soon as she saw us and waved. We parked and followed her inside.
The house was a Craftsman-style home with thick wooden beams atop stone columns supporting a wood-covered overhang. Inside, we were greeted with dark hardwood floors, high ceilings, and a massive stone fireplace. The kitchen was huge, with tons of cabinets. The house was very open and had a contemporary feel, despite the Craftsman architecture. There were three bedrooms on the first floor and a large finished bonus room upstairs with a bathroom. My only complaint was that the bedrooms and the master bath were small. In fact, one of the bedrooms was barely bigger than a closet. However, I reminded myself that I was now single with an empty nest. My two children, Stephanie and David, were grown and had moved away; they had lives of their own and would only visit on occasion. Stephanie was a successful attorney in Chicago, and David was a successful actor who was currently touring Europe with a repertoire company. So the house would be more than an adequate size for me and a six-pound poodle.
Mrs. Hansen pointed out every feature with pride. When the tour was over, we stood in the empty great-room area. "What do you think? I can give you the keys, and you can move in immediately. I can have all of his furniture and belongings moved to storage since he'll be gone for an extended period."
"We can take care of getting the furniture put in storage," Dixie said.
"Thank you." Mrs. Hansen breathed a sigh of relief and then smiled at me.
"It's a lovely house," I said hesitantly. "Don't you need to talk to your son? Run my credit report? Have me fill out an application or sign a lease?" I wanted the house, but I'd never experienced anything like this before. "I mean, I don't even have a job yet."
She smiled. "What do you do?"
"I'm a certified public accountant."
Her eyes widened, and she clapped her hands. "This must be destiny. I just so happen to know someone looking for an accountant."
This seemed too good to be true. "Really?"
"My son, Robert, used to work with one of the Hopewells." She smiled and waited expectantly.
I merely stared back.
"You know, the Hopewells."
I shook my head. "Sorry, I'm not from here."
"Of course, that explains it." For the second time today, I got the You poor pitiful thing look. "I'm sure if I make a call, they'll hire you." She smiled. "Our meeting today was blessed by providence. I don't see why we need to go through any formalities. My son gave me power of attorney since he's overseas," she said proudly. "Plus, I consider myself a good judge of character. You both look like nice people." She turned to Dixie. "Plus, you drive a Lexus."
It took about thirty seconds before I realized my mouth was open and closed it. I struggled to understand how the type of car Dixie drove mattered the least bit in terms of me renting this house. "You know I'm the one who'll be renting the property, right?"
"Oh yes, but you look like an honest person." She smiled.
I was dumbstruck.
"Well, I can tell you my friend is definitely honest and trustworthy." Dixie turned away from the woman and winked at me. "How much is the rent?"
She gave me a price, and I nearly choked. However, I needn't have worried. Dixie turned on her Southern charm and negotiated the rent down a couple of hundred dollars to a number that was still higher than I would have liked but was within a comfortable range. She also arranged for a refundable pet deposit that was half what I'd been quoted by other landlords.
I was adamant about a lease and called my daughter, Stephanie, and explained the situation. She quickly sent an electronic copy of a standard tenant/lease agreement with all of the particulars. We were able to sign electronically. I handed over a check for the security deposit, pet fee, and first month's rent, and Mrs. Hansen handed over the keys and promised to get in touch with her friend about the job.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Puppy Who Knew Too Much"
Copyright © 2019 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
Chattanooga, Tennessee, is my hometown, and it is also the setting of V. M. Burns’ The Puppy Who Knew Too Much. Although I know Chattanooga has changed since I moved away from the South, this book became a trip down memory lane. There are many factual details that make the book more realistic—the scary winding roads leading up to beautiful and tony Lookout Mountain, interstate highways that ease traffic across the Scenic City, and greasy burgers and delicious shakes in East Ridge. Other aspects are altered but have a basis in truth, particularly the fictional Chattanooga Museum of Art, situated on the bluff overlooking the Tennessee River and backed by the Hopewell family. When I lived in Chattanooga, it was actually the Hunter Art Gallery. From there you can see the Walnut Street Bridge, now a pedestrian bridge, that I crossed every day in our family VW to attend school. Other authentic tips of the hat are extended to Moon Pies, Southern hospitality, and great weather (compared to the Midwest and Northeast). As well as providing me with an outlet for my nostalgia, all of these smile provoking memories are related to reassure the reader of the authenticity of the setting. As to the other aspects of this cozy mystery, the plot is intricate with several murders and the strong possibility that the crimes are related. Lilly has recently moved to Chattanooga with her toy poodle, Aggie, to push the restart button on her life. Just a few moths prior, she was jailed for the murder of her philandering husband. She is convinced by her friend Dixie to relocate in Chattanooga, and she finds a temporary job as an accountant at the museum. Life becomes “interesting” for her quickly as she informally investigates a murder with the help of her lawyer daughter Stephanie and her friend Dixie. Along the way, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officer Red joins forces with the group and romance is on the horizon. The best part of this book is the role of various dogs. There is a lot of information about dog training to be picked up by osmosis as Dixie is a dog trainer. The story features a K-9 officer and Aggie, a smart puppy desperately in need of training. There is also a rescued dog with a surprise involvement. The Puppy Who Knew Too Much barks out: Welcome to the South, one that has moved along with the times, but has retained beautiful views, the friendliness it is famous for, as well as a slower pace of life! I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
In THE PUPPY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, V. M. Burns has penned an entertaining whodunit that will leave readers begging for more. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. With wonderful characters both human and canine, I quickly felt like I had known them all for some time. And it was a lot of fun to see the dogs playing a part in solving the case. A great plot and a complex mystery, I found it very hard to put this book down. I kept telling myself, just one more page. One more chapter. Well, I’m sure you know how that worked out. I didn’t let it out of my sight until I had finished. Pick up a copy of, THE PUPPY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. You’re going to be happy you did.
Lilly is eager for a fresh start. Three months ago her cheating husband was murdered and she was the prime suspect. She’s finally cleared of suspicion and moves to Chattanooga and a new beginning, Her tiny poodle, Aggie, isn’t so keen on the move and finds creative ways to make it known. Fate is on Lilly’s side and she finds the perfect rental house and a great new job at the museum. But her rosy new life hits a bump in the road when she stumbles upon a dead body. Then her new house is ransacked. She won’t sit idly by when her new beginning is threatened. I was surprised when I reached the end of this book. It felt like I’d just started it. I was immediately charmed by the characters. Lilly is so authentic and likable and would be such a great friend to have. Some other favorites are her boss and co-worker at the museum. I loved how they welcomed Lilly, made her feel at home, and how they actually used some of the antique pieces. Dixie is the perfect best friend. And her daughter and son-in-law are very supportive and a great couple. As for the grouchy neighbor, I couldn’t wait to see if she could win him over. The author brought them all to life and I had such fun getting to know them. I don’t want to forget the other characters. The four legged ones. So many dogs in this book. I say, the more the merrier. Each have their own personalities and charms. And the part where Lilly’s daughter rescues a stray golden retriever had me almost in tears. So sweet. The mystery here wasn’t easily solved. There were some obvious suspects and then some that lurked off the radar. I picked my culprit and followed the story closely, sniffing out clues, wandering off the obvious paths, and I was wrong. What a fun surprise. This is my first book by V. M. Burns and I’m thrilled to discover another cozy author and series. I’ll be following these characters to their next adventure and I’ll miss them til we meet again.
I really enjoyed this second book in the Dog Club Mystery series. I loved the first one, and I enjoyed this one as much or more. Lilly Echosby is a recently widowed CPA who’s just moved from Indiana to Chattanooga, Tennessee with her toy poodle, Aggie (short for Agatha). The first book in this series has her in the middle of a divorce, but when her husband is killed, she becomes a widow instead. I recommend you read the first book as it gives you a great introduction to the main characters as well as being a great story. Lilly is staying in an extended stay hotel, but really wants to find a house to rent. When she and her best friend Dixie are out together, she has the opportunity to rent a nice house practically drop right in her lap. She rents from an older woman who has been tasked by her son to rent his house for him as he has business out of town. A disagreeable neighbor manages to infuriate her quickly, which causes her to get a bit physical with him at a neighbourhood meeting, but she’s told no one can get along with him so not to worry about it. She is also looking for a job, and a great temp. position at a local museum is available, so she is ready to start her new life. When Aggie, finds a dead body on their morning walk, Lilly becomes the main suspect. This is when the book gets fun. With her new co-workers taking her under their wing, her daughter and new boyfriend coming for a visit, and Dixie, the fast talking southern belle, the story moves quickly. Lilly, Stephanie and Dixie decide that the only way to clear Lilly is to investigate themselves just like they did to find Lilly's husband's murderer. The story is well plotted and executed with strong and sassy leading female characters, twists and turns, a few suspects but no clear motives. All this keeps the reader turning the pages to follow the clues and see whodunnit. With a great cast of secondary characters including all the dogs (four in this story), plus a possible romantic interest for Lilly, this is a fun, fast read! I highly recommend this one. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Chattanooga, Tennessee’s newest resident, Lily, has finally found a home and a job. Unfortunately right after she moves in she finds a dead body that turns out to be her landlord. The second day of work she meets her handsome predecessor, who is not only horrible at the job he left behind, but i s rude beyond measure. Poor Lily, what a start to a new life. But when Lily is a prime suspect and then finds another body, this one a senior citizen she had punched at a home owners association meeting, she’s really in a hot spot. Luckily Lilu’s BFF Dixie lives in town and her daughter is visiting, so she’s got the girl power to help and try to figure out what happened and how to clear her name. The characters are solid and the writing makes you feel right at home with the characters. Aggie is adorable and “The Golden” is a keeper! The storyline is well written and has a few curves you did not see coming! A great read and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Lilly Echosby has left Indiana behind and followed her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson to Tennessee. It took a while but a chance encounter helped Lilly finds not only a job but a house to rent that was in her budget and allowed her adorable toy poodle, Aggie. She is excited her daughter Stephanie is coming to visit to help her get settled. Lilly finds it refreshing how friendly everyone is until she meets her new neighbor. He is not happy about having another dog in the neighborhood. Her daughter also falls hard for a golden retriever found under Lilly’s deck. After rushing it to the vet and getting its injuries cared for she declares she won’t be giving it up without a fight. When dear sweet Aggie digs up a body instead of a bone the neighbor is apoplectic and Lilly finds herself back on a suspect list. Stephanie calls in the cavalry, aka Joe, her new boyfriend, the one that helped clear her mom in Lighthouse Dunes. He, in turn, calls in a friend and they along with Dixie are all determined to find the real killer, especially after another body is found. First, the cover is a little deceiving. The two standard poodles owned by Dixie and Lilly’s Aggie return in this story where they all make a new friend. Aggie does start obedience classes with Dixie where a variety of dogs come together. Lilly can’t catch a break but she has the perseverance to keep moving forward. New house, new job, new people in her life, and another murderer on the loose. She quickly finds new friends at her job and they are so supportive. I loved her new boss, Linda Kay, and love that we have something in common. The author does such an excellent job with all the characters. They have depth and something about them that draws the reader in and pushes us to want to know them better. Even the cantankerous neighbor and the man that used to have Lilly’s job. Moving Lilly to Tennessee adds a very interesting twist. She was used to the flatlands of Indiana and Dixie lives on a mountain top with a fantastic view. The road to get there was winding and narrow and made Lily very nervous with its huge dropoffs. She is also very unfamiliar with the area and dependent on her GPS. Each place was nicely described as we readers saw it through Lilly’s eyes for the first time right along with her. The mystery was not easy to solve with the requisite twists and turns. What I love and what makes this story unique in the part the canines play in solving it all. The motives were very unclear and the clues weren’t falling into place either until the wonderful, surprising, and exciting ending. Well-plotted and written this story was hard to put down. A complex mystery with its share of Southern charm and humor. Right in Chapter 1 Lilly experiences her first “Bless Your Heart” which she learned was “Southern-speak for “You’re an idiot.” I really enjoy the way V.M. Burns tells a story. The care she takes with her characters is commendable and her love of dogs glows within the pages. I highly recommend this series. I can’t wait for book #3!
Chattanooga Murders, Dogs and TBI This cozy mystery is all about dogs and dog training. Of course, there are a few murders and other crimes along the way. This fun story sails past and leaves the desire to read the next in the series. I don't want to spoil the plot, so I'll just say that lovers of cozy mysteries and dogs will love this book. I seemed to have missed the first in this series and plan on reading it next. I received this book for free and this is my honest review.
The story is cute with strong and sassy leading female characters. Protagonist Lilly Echosby is a recently divorced CPA who’s just moved from Indiana to Chattanooga, Tennessee with her toy poodle, Aggie (short for Agatha). I like how the action starts immediately as Lilly, accompanied by her best friend, Dixie, has the opportunity to rent a nice house practically drop right in her lap. A disagreeable neighbor manages to infuriate her quickly, but she’s told no one can get along with him. Lilly’s starting a new job at a museum, and I loved her co-workers who immediately took her under their wings. When little Aggie sniffs out a dead body, the author really begins to spin the wheel and readers should watch closely as she drops off clue after clue as to answers for this niftily crafted plot! With a winning cast of secondary characters including all the dogs, plus an unexpected yet possible romantic interest for Lilly, this is a fun, fast read! I highly recommend! I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Kensington Lyrical. Thank you.
Lilly Echosby has moved from Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, with her toy poodle Aggie to be close to her best friend Dixie Jefferson. Dixie is married, well established in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and conducts doggy obedience and conformation classes. She helped Lilly find a rental in a fairly new subdivision. Unfortunately, while getting to know the neighborhood, she has two very unpleasant experiences: A very nasty neighbor complaining about her dog and the discovery of a body in adjacent woods. Fortunately, her daughter, Stephanie, has come to visit and see her new digs with her significant other, a law enforcement K-9 officer. Her daughter discovers a beautiful golden retriever hiding under the deck with what appears to be a badly injured paw. The K-9 handler goes back to work, but sends a TBI agent (Red), to "watch" over the household, which has now become suspect as holding a key to the victim. Stephanie stays behind to help care for the recovering golden and she and Dixie team with Lilly to help discover what the perpetrator was looking for when he "tossed" the house. Lilly is intelligent and adept at handling a new job with her sleuthing activities and a possible romantic interest. As this is a new start for her and the dog, the narrative could function fine as a standalone. Dialogue is natural and evolves easily in the scene. In the meantime, the reader is introduced to some insightful canine handling tips and clues that unveil a few of those doggy myths. There is a mystery to solve, support characters to get to know and enjoy, and some suspense in the conclusion that easily unfolds with questions answered. It is an engaging book, well-paced, with savvy and appropriate characters, particularly Dixie, and I'll be looking forward to the next in the series. I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read for my unbiased opinion and review.
The Puppy Who Knew Too Much, the second great novel in VM Burns Dog Club mystery series, is another winner. A recent entry into the world of the cozy mystery, Ms. Burns has been spot-on with every book she has released and this series is taking off like a flash. The newest book includes a perplexing mystery that left me trailing around with no clue and an insightful presentation of characters who brought the warmth that I demand of a cozy mystery. Those characters feel realistic even when they face the unusual number of murders that come with cozy mysteries drew me through both books as much as the complex mystery that she does so well. As much as I enjoy the people Ms. Burns as introduced me to, her knowledge of dogs offers an even greater connection. She leaves me nodding at the antics of the fur babies. While little Aggie is the star of the show for me, I love all of them. I was delighted to receive an ARC of The Puppy Who Knew Too Much via NetGalley and will be sharing that delight with anyone who will listen. #NetGalley #ThePuppyWhoKnewTooMuch
Second in the Dog Club Mystery series, this delightful cozy is even better than the first! In the midst of murder and mayhem, the author delivers a healthy dose of humor, friendship, and fresh starts in a new city, rental home, and temporary job in the genteel South. Even with the best of intentions, it isn’t always easy to start over in a new city, and Lilly Echosby, whose almost-ex-husband was found murdered recently, is doing her best with her new pup, Aggie. Chattanooga, Tennessee is where one of her best friends, Dixie Jefferson and her husband live, so at least she has a partner in crime solving. Crime solving is what it seems they are destined to be doing for the near future. Lilly finds a home to rent from the mother of the owner, who is out of the country for several months. She sends the owner’s furnishings and belonging to storage while moving in her possessions and furniture. Lilly’s daughter Stephanie, an attorney, comes to help her settle in. Lilly finds a temporary position at an art museum, reviewing the accounting that was messed up by a family member of the original benefactors. All is not bliss in this new neighborhood. When Lilly attends a homeowner’s association meeting, she punches a nasty new neighbor who threatens her precious pup. She is not the first person to come to blows with this neighbor, as many homeowners have had their day with him. Stephanie and Lilly find a beautiful, injured golden hiding in the yard, and Stephanie instantly bonds with the pup. After taking care of the surgery he needs, she tries to find the owner, and meets two different, interesting potential owners. When Lilly is walking Aggie, her pup finds the feet of a man partially buried and very recently murdered. The police officer is suspicious of Lilly when the ID in the man’s pocket shows him to be the owner of the home she is renting – the man who was supposed to be out of the country. Then the house is vandalized, but nothing seems to be missing. Stephanie’s boyfriend Joe, from Lilly’s former home in Indiana, sends his friend from the TBI, Dennis “Red” Olson, to keep the ladies safe. When a few days go by and Red is being shown around the neighborhood by Lilly, they find another body. This time, the cranky old neighbor that Lilly had punched is the murdered man, lying on a chaise at the community pool. The police officer is even more suspicious, even though Red can alibi Lilly for the day. Dixie, Stephanie, and Lilly determine to prove Lilly’s innocence, even though it means they will – again – have to find who the real bad guy might be. I really enjoyed this novel! The characters are very well defined; I especially like Dixie and Lilly. Dixie is one fine Southern lady who is tough, funny, and a top-notch dog trainer. She is also one of the most loyal friends one could hope to have. Lilly is a delight, as is Stephanie. The love these three ladies have for dogs is clear throughout and is a key element of the mystery. The plot twists keep coming and keep the novel fresh throughout! It is a complex mystery, and I couldn’t have guessed the end if I had read it several times. More than one surprise is in store for Lilly and the reader! I highly recommend it for fans of the author, dogs, sweet Southern folks, and well-written cozy mysteries! From a grateful heart: I received an e-ARC of this from the published and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
The Puppy Who Knew Too Much by V.M. Burns was an engaging second book in the Dog Club Mystery series. Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle, Aggie, have moved to Chattanooga, TN to start a new life. Her best friend, Dixie, has welcomed her to her home town and is ready to help her get settled. I love both of these women! They are both smart, independent and determined. Fortune smiles on Lilly when she meets Mrs. Hanson who decides to rent her son's house and she knows about a job opening that would be perfect for Lilly. Lilly's new job is at The Chatanooga Art Museum and Linda Kay, her boss, and Jacob, a co-worker, make her feel right at home. Unfortunately, the good luck stops there as Aggie discovers a body on their morning walk after moving into their new home. The story moved quickly with twists and turns, few suspects and no clear motives to keep readers turning the pages as they follow the clues. I really enjoy this series and would highly recommend it. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Lyrical Underground via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
The Puppy Who Knew Too Much is the second book in the A Dog Club Mystery series. Lilly has taken the advice of Dixie, her friend from college, and has moved to Chattanooga, where Dixie lives, to start a new life after the death of her husband was murdered. While having lunch at a restaurant, Lilly is discussing the need to find affordable housing and a job. Jo Ellen Hansen sitting at a table next to them catches their attention and tells Lilly that she can rent her son’s house to Lilly. She says that her son is working in the Cayman Islands and that she can move in right away. Lilly’s daughter, Stephanie, arrives at her mother is moving in and will help her to unpack and get the house organized. Lilly learns that there is a homeowners association meeting and decides to attend, thinking that it would be a good way to meet her neighbors. She does meet her next door neighbor, Theodore Livingston. Livingston is a cantankerous old man and Lilly ends up getting into a heated debate. Later, while walking her poodle, Aggie finds a body in a shallow grave. Lilly is able to convince the police that she wasn’t in the area when the body had been buried. But the next day she makes some cookies and goes next door to apologize to Livingston, but instead, she finds that he has been murdered. When the police learn of her argument with him, she becomes a primary suspect. Stephanie’s boyfriend, Joe Harrison, arrives and offers to help them learn who Livingston killer might have been. Jo Ellen also gives Lilly the phone number of Chattanooga Museum of Arts who is looking for an accountant. Lilly ends up getting the job and she finds the books are in an absolute mess. Linda Kaye Weyman, the director of the museum, that Freemont Hopewell the great-grandson of the museum founder had no idea what he was doing. With Lilly having to take time off, she is worried that the museum will let her go, and she really does love the job. Luckily, Weyman likes her and is willing to work with Lilly about the time off. As they begin to investigate the murder and the other death, things aren’t adding up for Harrison and he asks an old friend, Red Olson, an investigator with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to come help them with their sleuthing. Once again V. M. Burns gives us a very exciting and well-plotted story. There were a lot of red herrings that kept me guessing who the murderer was until the end. I really enjoy the characters, who are all interesting and believable. I love reading about all the dogs, too. I’m really looking forward to the next book, Bark If It’s Murder, that will be out in August.