Collared for Murder
A Pet Boutique Mystery #3
By Annie Knox
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
The Midwestern Cat Fanciers’ Organization is bringing its annual weeklong retreat to Merryville, Minnesota. While that’s perfect for Izzy’s business, it unleashes headaches for everyone else. The event has lots of workshops on the care and breeding of cats, and it culminates in a cat show with a fabulous prize—a platinum collar dangle worth some big bucks.
Cattiness, of course, ensues. But the claws really come out after the prize disappears, and the wealthy director, Phillip Denford, is done in with a pair of grooming shears. Now Izzy and her furry friends, Packer and Jinx, can’t waste time pussyfooting around. They have to solve this case before a killer pounces again. (Goodreads)
Izzy and her best friend Rena are the proprietors of Trendy Tails, a pet boutique in Merryville, Minnesota. They are thrilled when the Midwestern Cat Fanciers’ Organization (M-CFO) comes to town for their twenty-fifth anniversary competition and retreat. However, Izzy soon learns that the world of cats is not all fluff and catnip when M-CFO’s president, Phillip Denford, reveals his intentions to copy Izzy’s pet clothing designs. Such a theft of intellectual property could put the boutique out of business and ruin everything Izzy has worked so hard to achieve. Her worries are put on the back burner when she discovers Phillip’s body in the exhibition hall, and the grand prize collar dangle, which is worth a great deal of money, is stolen. The dangle is found in Pris Olsen’s possession, and she happens to be Izzy’s business competition, a nemesis of sorts, and the mayor’s wife. Izzy finds it hard to believe that Pris would steal anything or have a reason to kill Phillip so, with the help of her friends and policeman boyfriend Jack, she sets out to find out the perpetrator.
The Pet Boutique mysteries have become one of my favorite cozy series. Collared for Murder is a delightful mix of humor, murder, romance, and pets. Izzy and her friends and family are charming in their small town quirkiness. They are well developed and continue to grow with each additional book. The multi book story arc is just as important as each murder mystery, but I do think that Collared for Murder can be read without having read the prior two installments (although I encourage you to pick them up). Phillip comes across as sufficiently sleazy and worthy of his fate. The pool of suspects is relatively small and includes his wife, son, personal assistant, and the event coordinator. Each has secrets he/she wishes not to expose and their motivations include infidelity, greed, revenge, and love. Throughout the book, I vacillated over the identity of the murderer and thief, and, though I did guess whodunit before the end, there were still some surprises in the reveal. My only quibble is that some minor plot threads were not sufficiently resolved or explained to my satisfaction.
I look forward to many more adventures with Izzy and confidently recommend Collared for Murder to animal lovers and those who enjoy a flawed and somewhat flakey, yet endearing, protagonist and her entourage.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for a review copy*