Dogs featured in various ways in several of the recent books Auntie M has read, so she thought she’d group a few cozies together for your interest. First up is Diana Orgain’s Yappy Hour, which takes readers to the small California town of Pacific Cove.
Yappy-Hour
This light=hearted humorous cozy has a hint of romance and a mix of quirky characters that are canine and human. Maggie has relocated to the area from her New York life as a financial advisor to restart her life and be near her Great-Uncle Ernest, whom she and her sister, Rachel, call Grunkly. Rachel owns the The Wine and Bark, a dog-friendly wine bar.

Maggie is eyeing a position on a cruise line as a purser when Friday rolls around. That means the Roundup Crew will head to Rachel’s bar for Yappy Hour with their dogs in tow. Then Maggie gets an urgent text from Rachel, saying she has to unexpectedly go out of town, and asks Maggie to cover Yappy Hour for her.

When Maggie arrives, she finds a woman and her dog standing over a dead body. With the woman on the phone with 911, Maggie checks for a pulse and notices Rachel’s name on a letter that she slips into her pocket. It won’t be the last time Maggie interferes with the murder investigation, despite her penchant for panic attacks.

The fun starts when Rachel is deemed a suspect for fleeing the scene and Maggie reopens the bar, learning how to make Muttgaritas and Arf D’Oeuvres. Then the Roundup Crew swing into action to save the bar and help Maggie find the real killer. Grunkly will prove a distraction, too. It doesn’t help that Maggie feels drawn to the good-looking detective, Brad Brooks, or that she actually doesn’t care all that much for dogs.

This is lighthearted fun that is a quick breezy read.

Miss ruffles
Mule Stop, Texas is the setting for Nancy Martin’s Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything., another romp filled with humor.

Sunny McKillip is still getting used to Texas when she takes a job as dog sitter to Honeybelle Hensley, of formidable wealth and a real character in her town. Texas seems sometimes to Sunny like Wonderland must have been to Alice, filled with ruthless people.

When Honeybelle is suspected dead, the entire town goes into revolt, especially Honeybelle’s own family, when it turns out she’s left her entire fortune to her dog, Miss Ruffles, a Texas Cattle cur of dubious fame. Known for chasing the UPS man and destroying prize rose bushes, Miss Ruffles often showed her strong objection to Honeybelle’s callers, especially the men vying for her fortune–ah, attention.

Sunny’s job now becomes less sitter and more bodyguard for Miss Ruffles, with a killer still on the loose. Then the dog is kidnapped and there will be twists and secrets until the truth becomes known, a whopper that changes everything for a lot of the characters, and especially for Sunny.

With a hint of romance on the offing, what seem like jagged ends comes together in the end.

downward-facing-death
The dog in question this time in Michelle Kelly’s Downward Facing Death is the huge Irish Wolfhound belonging to Jack Tibbins named Bambi, one of the first people Keeley Carpenter encounters when she returns to her hometown of Belfrey in England, a charming, traditional village.

Away for years finding herself and learning yoga, slimming down, too, Keeley’s return to take over her dead father’s vacant butcher shop sounds like a grand plan: she’ll open a yoga cafe’, selling vegetarian food and teaching yoga classes.

But a huge wrinkle occurs before Keeley’s even had time to visit the shop: she’s told by DC Ben Taylor that an arsonist tried to burn the building down. And when he takes her to visit the damage to the back of the building, he adds that a dead body was found in the upper studio.

It’s a huge blow, made worse by the fact that Ben Taylor is the same guy Keeley had a crush on back in school. Faced with him now in this new position, he regards her with suspicions at first and something much different later. Bambi will turn out to be a comfort to her while she struggles to make sense of her new position at her old home, as she tries to find out about the victim found dead on what are now her premises.

She’ll need friends, because some of the townspeople feel Keeley’s New Age shop is one more shout of the death knell to the farming community and greet her with suspicion and downright hostility. As she draws closer to Ben, there will be threatening letters sent, and when Bambi is poisoned, things suddenly become much more threatening, for it was Bambi’s barking that had brought attention to the fire at Keeley’s shop and stopped the body from being burned.

And suddenly Keeley will realize the importance of the dog who barked in the nighttime. Complete with yoga instructions and a few recipes at the end.

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