Sunday, September 27, 2015

Deadly Ties (A Waterside Kennels Mystery), by Susan Holmes (author), Robin Rowan (narrator)

Susan A. Holmes, September 2014

Maggie Porter has come home to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, reopening her grandfather's Waterside Kennels. She's been gone from the town since she was five, when her mother left the family and her father moved to Florida, taking her and her grandmother--her mother Margaret's mother. Now her grandmother is gone, Maggie has inherited the property, and it's time to start living her own dreams rather than trying to keep her father happy.

Maggie has found many people happy to welcome her back, and Waterside's pet boarding business is off to a strong start. The local veterinarian, Angus Sheppard, has enough confidence in her that he closes his clinic and his own kennel for remodeling, sending the boarding business her way. She's hired a groomer, and has hired part-time staff, some of whom worked for her grandfather in his last few years. There are old family friends eager to lend a hand when needed.

But then the anonymous letters put together from words and letters cut out from newspapers and magazines start to arrive. Also heavy-breather phone calls. Doreen, the receptionist she employed for a few weeks who then quit without notice turns up dead--with a locket that had belonged to Maggie's mother. There are break-ins, and once the boarding dogs are let loose on the property. What's going on?

There are many secrets in Eureka Springs, some connected to Maggie's mother, and some of those secrets might be worth killing for.

I like Maggie and her friends and neighbors--including her own three dogs, Sweet Pea, Sam, and Mr. B. There are times I want to take the sheriff and shake him, shouting "Don't you know you're in a mystery novel and nothing is innocent?" but of course he doesn't. He is nevertheless a solid, serious, good guy, who is is never dismissive, and won't let Maggie be dismissive when there's evidence of danger. There's a lovely little bit of misdirection involving one of the lines of threat to Maggie, and I can't say more because that would be a spoiler. It's beautifully handled, though. The certifiably cute kid is very cute, but has real-kid limits of stamina and good behavior. Very sweet without causing sugar shock. This is an excellent "cozy" mystery, and I look forward to reading more from Holmes.

Recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author.