Fans of cozy mysteries will want to make room on their shelves for a new series in the genre, featuring Kate Turner, D.V.M. If this first mystery novel by real-life veterinarian Eileen Brady is any indication, readers are in for a future full of cats, dogs and fun.
Muzzled begins when Dr. Kate Turner, who is filling in for small-town vet “Doc Anderson” while he’s on a world cruise, is sent to her first house call of the day. It seems a hamster is stuck in a vacuum cleaner. But if she thinks that’s odd, she’s badly mistaken. A subsequent house call takes her to the home of elderly couple Tom and Vivian Langthorne and their 27 Cavalier King Charles spaniels, many of whom are show dogs or meant for breeding. The visit turns into a nightmare when she finds the couple covered in blood, obviously shot to death.
She calls the police to report the scene, which at first is labeled a murder/suicide. She is asked to help Animal Control round up the dogs to remove them from the house, but something bothers her about the situation. Charles Too, one of the prize-winning dogs, appears to be missing. Kate knows this because she recently treated him for pancreatitis and had to shave his leg to administer medication, yet none of the dogs present appears to her to be Charles Too. But Animal Control officers say all 27 dogs are accounted for. Where is Kate’s recent patient, and why has someone apparently replaced him? And does his disappearance have anything to do with the deaths of the Langthornes?
Before she can do some amateur investigating into the case, the vet learns from Police Chief Bobby Garcia that the case may instead be a double murder, and he intends to investigate her, though she isn’t an official suspect…yet.
She’s new in town, so many residents are still a bit skeptical of her. However, she knows she’s innocent and is surprised at how many townspeople had possible motives to kill the elderly couple. Could it be a famous filmmaker who lives nearby? Another participant in dog shows? A local businessman Tom Langthorne threatened to put out of business? What about the daughter of the couple, who has been missing in action for so long, but quickly appears once her parents are dead?
While she’s hurrying to solve the murders, she’s dealing with the re-appearance of an old flame, and an attraction to a supposedly unavailable member of the police force. And of course, there are the animals, of all shapes and sizes.
The author’s knowledge and experience as a veterinarian of more than 20 years is apparent in her writing, yet her touch is light and filled with a perfect mix of humor and honest-to-goodness mystery.
Muzzled is one of those books you want to read quickly because it’s so fast-paced and enthralling, yet for those same reasons, it’s sad when the experience is over. No doubt readers will be left hoping the next installment comes along soon.
Published simultaneously at http://www.bookpleasures.com.