4 star


Lost Under a Ladder

Superstition Mystery #1

By Linda O. Johnston

ISBN# 9780738740775

Author’s Website: http://www.lindaojohnston.com/

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra 

Spoilers…though I will try to omit the really juicy ones!


Is it luck or is it . . . Destiny?

Are superstitions real? Rory Chasen doesn’t think so–until her beloved fiance walks under a ladder and is killed by a car five minutes later. Needing closure, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitions are a way of life.

Rory’s visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves the life of Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. To show her gratitude, Martha offers Rory a job at the pet store. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the local bookshop owner, Rory refuses to believe that she would do it. Rory is convinced the real killer still roams Destiny’s streets, and she must uncover the truth before Martha is hauled off to jail


Light and fluffy cozy based around the town of Destiny – known for its strong beliefs in “superstitions”.  Rory arrives in town in the hopes of figuring out once and for all whether superstitions are real or not and what, if any, role they played in her fiancés untimely death.

I really liked the fact that the story began with Rory an assistant manager of a MegaPet Store in L.A. and NOT an amateur detective by her own admission.  She was in town for personal reasons and her dog, Pluckie, discovered a sick Martha (store owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique).  As luck would have it (?)….Rory agrees to take over as manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique until Martha is back on her feet.

Rory quickly meets and clicks with the police chief, Justin Halbertson, as Justin is a good friend of Martha’s.  Typical of a small town, everyone knows everyone and their business.

Shortly after the attack, when Martha is at home recuperating from the ordeal, as is predictable with cozy mysteries, a murder occurs.  One of the owners (Kenneth Tarzal) of the Broken Mirror Bookstore, right next door to the Lucky Dog Boutique, is murdered.  Long story short…..Martha is a suspect, even though she is just recuperating from her medical emergency.

Throughout the story Rory is adjusting to life in a small town (she is from L.A.) and trying to investigate not just the murder but the origins of superstitions and whether they are real….specifically the superstitions surrounding ladders.  In the beginning Rory is non-committal about believing in superstitions (like Justin), but as time goes on, you just get the sense that her superstitious “spidey” senses are starting to tingle.

I enjoy the slow progression of the relationship between Rory and Justin.  It is portrayed in such a real manner…slow and steady…realistic.  They go on numerous dates where you get the sense that they are really trying to learn about each other.  Now don’t get me wrong, Rory tries to get whatever information she can about the murder investigation….and vice versa for Justin.  Both Rory and Justin are dog people and lucky for them, their dogs get along with each other as well.  It was nice as a pet owner myself  to see them include their dogs, but at times it felt like they were each treating their dogs as the children they did not have yet.

Other characters in the book which popped for me were the brother and sister team running the local newspaper.  I did NOT trust the sister right from the very beginning.  Never trust a journalist.  And boy does Rory learn that the hard way.

Predictably Rory solves the “whodunnit” in a roundabout way (and no….I will not spoil that!) and all is good with the universe.  There were also some side stories which added mystery into the story as well so that the reader had more to think about than just the murder. One also gets brief but interesting tidbits about the origins of numerous superstitions.

An enjoyable and easy read which any cozy aficionado will enjoy.