When a murder unleashes a widespread investigation through Crosbyville, children’s book author Pris and her trusty bloodhound, Bailey, must sniff out the truth before the whole town goes to the dogs.
After deciding that life as a teacher wasn’t right for her, Priscilla found inspiration for her first children’s book in her three-year-old bloodhound’s nose for truth, and so The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound was born. After the book’s massively pawsitive response led Pris to move back to her hometown of Crosbyville, Indiana, to continue the series, she’s surprised by how things have changed in the town, but even more so how they haven’t.
Pris is frustrated to discover that newly elected school board trustee Whitney Kelley—a former high school mean girl—is intent on making Crosbyville more competitive by eliminating “frivolous spending” on the arts and social programs, including Pris and Bailey’s beloved pet-assisted reading program. A minor altercation between them isn’t anything unusual, but after Bailey sniffs out Whitney’s body in a bed of begonias, locals start hounding Pris and Bailey as suspects for the crime.
With Bailey’s sharp senses and Pris’s hometown know-how, can they prove to the community that they’re all barking up the wrong tree? (Goodreads)
First in the Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery Series, Sniffing Out Murder is a delightfully easy read by Kallie E. Benjamin. The characters are interesting, especially Bailey the bloodhound. In fact – I liked the dog the best!
Priscilla Renee Cummings (known as Pris) is a writer of a children’s series titled “The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound” as well as a soon-to-be former teacher. Of course the inspiration for the series is from her three-year-old bloodhound. Currently, Pris is plagued with a case of writer’s block. Penning the second book in her series is tough:
These eight-to-twelve-year-old middle-grade readers have high standards. They expect books to be well written, funny, and relevant, even if they can’t articulate that’s what they want.
To complicate this hopefully temporary writers block, Pris is having trials and tribulations with the newly elected school board trustee, Whitney Kelley. Whitney was a high school mean girl back in the day. She wants to do away with vital programs in the school; like the pet-assisted reading program which is Priscilla’s pet project – pun intended. Furthermore, Pris is dead set against its elimination. So, when Whitney turns up planted in the daisy’s (figuratively with respect to the type of flowers as the flowers were actually begonia’s) face down and dead…Pris is a prime suspect. So Pris and Bailey set out to discover the identity of the actual killer, putting her writing endeavours on hold temporarily.
As the reader is lead through the life of Whitney and who is/was a part of this life, we get a sense of who she really is. Not a great person and this of course leads to many potential suspects. The journey is fraught with leads that lead to even more suspects. But never fear, Pris and Bailey gather gossip, passing it on to the police and eventually the correct culprit is caught… whew.
The quote below made me chuckle and remember that Bailey is a standard dog, with likes and dislikes that are predictable:
“Bailey wasn’t keen on wallowing, unless it involved mud, freshly cut grass, or his favorite, eau de parfum-deer poop.”
I was not particularly fond of Pris as a main character. She was not a confident woman and seemed very insecure and conscious of what other people thought of her. But I quite enjoyed the character Tabby, the beautician. She helped Pris with a new hairstyle and showed her how to care for her unruly hair.
However, for all my “not loving the main character”, I did find the story charming (thanks to Bailey of course). As well, there were plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing until the end as to who the actual murderer was. Just the way I like my “whodunits”.
A good effort for a first in series by Kallie E. Benjamin. I may just pick up the second in the series, should one be forthcoming.