Title: Dogged by Death (A Furry Friends Mystery #1)
Author: Laura Scott
Published on: 13th July 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Dogged by Death is the first book in Laura Scott’s A Furry Friends Mystery series. As the title suggests, there are a lot of furry babies in the story.
Ally Winters is thirty-one years old. After her fiancé cheated on her, emptied their joint bank account and ran away to Mexico with the young secretary of their joint pet clinic, Ally is almost broke. Her grandpa Oscar had a hip-replacement surgery recently and that is when Ally decided to move to Willow Bluff, Wisconsin, to care for him.
The story starts with Ally taking a box of brownies to her grandpa. He lives in a assisted-living facility (called Legacy House) with three widows – Harriet, Tillie and Lydia. Ally hears her gramps shouting at someone and minutes later, a middle-aged man rushes out, hardly noticing Ally. When Ally asks about the man, her gramps tells her he was a fraud.
The same noon, Ally has an appointment with a prospective client – a dog walker. It so happens the man whom she saw at the facility is her dog-walking client. The next day, Ally goes to the man’s house to take his dog, Roxy, for a walk. Roxy is jittery and runs inside the house as soon as Ally opens the dog-crate. Ally follows the dog and ends up discovering the dog’s owner’s dead body. She calls 911 and a detective arrives on scene. The detective is none other than Ally’s school crush, Noah. Gramps becomes one of the suspects in the case. To add to this mess, gramps is adamant on solving the case – he’s seen a lot of crime shows and thinks he can solve it, with Ally’s help, of course…
What a fantastic start to a brand new cozy mystery series! Excellent writing and character introduction. Ally is still ‘recuperating’ from a heart-break. She’s decided she has nothing to do with men anymore – not after how Tim treated her. Running away with the secretary and leaving Ally to pay the funds; What an ass!
Ally is ‘well-known’ in Willow Bluff as ‘Hot Pants’. Setting the chemistry lab on fire wasn’t enough ‘drama’ so she ‘sat’ on fire-ant nest. This resulted in some painful bites and Ally peeling away her shorts and jumping into the nearby lake. Ally left the place soon after graduating high school and never thought she would return. But here she is, years later, almost broke and restarting her life. Meanwhile, gramps seems to be quite an eye candy with the middle-aged and older ladies. The widows at the facility he shares with, are always trying to please him – Harriet cooks delicious meals for him while Tillie plays cribbage with him. Lydia’s not behind – she’s knitted a lot of stuff for him…
A dash of humor makes this story more enjoyable. ‘Competition’ between the Willow Bluff Widows (Harriet, Tillie and Lydia) and the silly banter between Ally and Noah. The story also includes a furry baby named Roxy (the victim’s dog) whom Ally ends up adopting. The locals were used to the older vet – the one from whom Ally brought the clinic and patient list – and are not comfy with the idea of a new vet. But things change for good as the story proceeds; we see Ally getting more clients.
The mystery behind the murder is well-plotted. The victim had scammed a couple of senior citizens. This means the list of suspects is long. As Ally and gramps start to investigate, the killer realizes they duo wouldn’t stop. So they decide to threaten – a stone is thrown at Ally’s clinic door, breaking the glass. This is followed by another attack on Ally.
Ally and gramps are adamant and want to solve the case at any cost – Noah warns the sleuthing duo not to interfere in police business but they do not take no for an answer. Gramps crosses the limits and tells Noah he’s not good enough to solve the case. I felt this was a tad overdone – gramps judging the detective assigned to the case just because Ally’s life is in danger. Well, the grandpa-granddaughter duo brought it onto themselves, poking their nose where it does not belong…
The ending is good. Noah and Roxy come to Ally’s rescue when she confronts the killer. Dogged by Death by Laura Scott is an entertaining and enjoyable cozy mystery and a fantastic series debut. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for the sleuthing duo.
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.