Something Borrowed, Something Mewed
Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #5
By Bethany Blake
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Daphne Templeton’s sister Piper is getting married–and their mother is getting carried away. She insists on hiring Sylvan Creek’s top event planner, Abigail Sinclair, who proposes an Independence Day theme complete with Statue of Liberty-inspired bridesmaid dresses. With all the bickering among the families, Daphne’s glad her only duty right now is pet-sitting for Abby’s cat, Ms. Peebles. But there are some fireworks coming that aren’t part of the ceremony. The Poconos will never be the same . . .
At a tension-filled dress fitting, the abrasive wedding planner is found strangled by a garter–a weapon both borrowed and blue. Now Daphne’s services are required not just for organizing the big day, but for figuring out whether one of the in-laws is an outlaw . . . (From Goodreads)
This is a fun and intriguing mystery! I give it four paws up for Daphne’s unique petsitting company, well-defined characters, lovely Pennsylvania setting, and challenging mystery! It is fifth in the series and can be read as a standalone. The author shares a great sense of humor even while dealing with murder, six weddings that don’t happen, and romance that might be on the rails.
Daphne has an enviable business as a pet sitter and is also owner/ manager of a pet bakery. It would be interesting to spend one’s day among friendly, furry faces and wagging tails, unless one has to watch Abigail Sinclair’s cat, Ms. Peebles. That poor cat gets herself into more trouble than a barn full of kittens, most of which require climbing to rescue her from light fixtures and fireplaces.
Daphne’s sister Piper is marrying Roger. Abigail Sinclair is a popular high-society wedding planner who talked Roger and Piper’s mothers into some over-the-top decor for the nuptials. The Fourth of July colors and decorations are only the beginning. Daphne is swamped with pets to care for and treats to make for July 4th celebrations in Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania. She also has last minute wedding events and has been volunteered to be in the All Paws on Deck Regatta rowing a boat called Tiny-tanic with her basset hound, Socrates and a friend’s pug, Tiny Tim.
The wedding rehearsal dinner was at Abigail’s Artful Engagements and ended with a downpour. Abigail told Daphne that she will sit for Ms. Peebles for a week, beginning the next day, which is also the day of Piper’s wedding. It is also the day in which an extremely upset bride called Daphne. Abigail had planned six weddings for the club for the same time, took deposits, and didn’t actually schedule the weddings with the club. Abigail was not at the club or answering her phone.
Daphne has the key to Abigail’s to care for Ms. Peebles, so she went early and to see what is keeping the wedding planner and check on the cat. When she and Socrates arrive, the front door is ajar. They check the downstairs where the business is housed, then upstairs where Abigail lives. Daphne doesn’t find Abigail or Ms. Peebles but sees one packed and one partially packed suitcase on her bed.
Daphne looked in the back yard where the rehearsal dinner was held, noting that nothing was cleaned up from the prior night’s rained-out party. She found Ms. Peebles sitting on the head of a cherub in the fountain. As Daphne tried to get the frightened feline down, she noticed a hand sticking out from under a flag in the fountain. That hand was attached to the remains of Abigail Sinclair.
The police detective, partner to Jonathan, Daphne’s boyfriend who is currently on loan to NCIS in San Diego, is trying to make a name for himself. Fred Doebler has chosen Piper’s fiancé Roger as his number one suspect. He learned that Roger had words with Abigail the night before due to her cruel words with Roger’s sister Dorinda, that Roger told someone he felt Abigail was running a scam, and there was a window of time when he didn’t have an alibi the evening before.
Daphne now has to help reschedule a wedding somewhere, somehow, before the date Roger and Piper leave for his teaching stint in England. She also wants to find out who killed Abigail so the couple can get married. Now, Jonathan is in town briefly, long enough to talk with Daphne about the wonderful job offer NCIS given him that requires he move to San Diego.
Bethany Blake has designed a sweet hometown setting with many charming small-town characters. Daphne and best friend Moxie are two of my favorites; their friendship and love of pets are a long-term bond. Despite being the daughter who is less-favored, Daphne following her dreams to the careers she has that focus on love of pets. It is her love of animals and desire to help others in need, including those suspected of murder, that also appeals to me.
I enjoyed this complicated cozy for several reasons. Daphne’s business of caring for pets appeals to me. How the author portrays the pets, the way it seems Socrates understands and responds to Daphne, and the idiosyncrasies of her cat and Ms. Peebles add to the pleasure. Most of the characters are appealing folks one would appreciate having as neighbors. The romance does not overwhelm the story, and Daphne’s reactions to Jonathan possibly moving away are realistic. The plot twists keep the story moving quickly and adds to the intrigue of the ever-growing, then shrinking, suspect list. I admit, I did not figure out who the bad guy or gal might be and was very surprised to see the full range of deception. There are several surprises for Daphne and her family, only one of which I anticipated. If one enjoys cozy mysteries in which pets play a large role, I highly recommend this!