Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake

Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.

Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?

Summary from Goodreads


I love cozy mysteries. They’re often sweet, and fun, with that dash of mystery or just a teensy bit of suspense. Enough to satiate the avid mystery reader, but perhaps not as overwhelming as the more suspenseful or ‘dark’ or ‘gritty’ novels in the mystery genre.

While Daphne’s launch into amateur detecting results from the homicide of a personal acquaintance, the seriousness of the situation doesn’t stop Daphne, Socrates, and Artie’s antics from being absolutely hilarious. Not only did I adore the animal characters, I related wholeheartedly to Daphne’s way of stumbling resolutely through life, with a good sense of humor to boot.

And, of course, as required by the genre tropes, the interesting new resident of Sylvan Creek, Jonathan Black, is appropriately swoon worthy. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he is a favorite incarnation of the ‘love interest’ trope. Daphne and Jonathan’s relationship (definitely a friendship still, so far, and I’m already on book 3) is refreshing in its sweetness and simplicity.

Perfect for dog lovers, mystery lovers, and fans of small town fiction, Death by Chocolate Lab is a delightful introduction to a new cozy mystery series.

*Originally posted on previous blog on June 14, 2019

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