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Mastiffs, Mystery, and Murder by Sandra Baublitz is a Cozy Mystery Event pick #cozymystery #99cents
Title: Mastiffs, Mystery, and Murder
Author: Sandra Baublitz
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Cozy Animal Mystery
It's murder at the dog show!
When amateur sleuth Clarissa Hayes and her trusty Saint Bernard, Paw, enter a dog show, they expect to find dogs, blue ribbons, and trophies. Not dead bodies.
Clarissa's boyfriend is tracking a suspect in the death of a dog fancier. It's up to Clarissa and Paw to provide him cover as they compete in the show.
But the competition turns deadly when another dog owner is murdered. Are the deaths connected? Clarissa and Paw must sniff out the clues to solve the crime before the killer collars them.
Will Best in Show become Best in Death?
The doorbell startled me from my comfortable routine of collecting Paw’s toys. My Saint Bernard bolted past me to the door, tail waving in wild abandon.
Who could be at the door? I wasn’t expecting anyone, but clearly, Paw knew who it was. I dumped my armful of toys on a nearby chair, strode to the door, and peeped through the small windowpane set in the door. Bruce Sever stood on the other side, wearing a huge grin.
I pulled open the door. “Hey, sweetheart, I thought you were in Chambersville on that case of the dead accountant.”
Bruce, six feet tall with dark brown hair and warm brown eyes, stepped forward, saying, “I missed you,” then enveloped me in a bear hug and kissed me.
“Woof!” Paw wedged his head between our bodies, forcing us apart.
Laughing, Bruce knelt, ruffling Paw’s fur. “Hello, big guy.”
Closing the door, I gestured Bruce into the living room, where he settled on the sofa. “Can I get you something to drink?”
Paw, AKA Paudius Pernivious, followed us, then flopped down over Bruce’s feet.
Bruce grunted as two hundred pounds of dog landed on his feet. “Soda, if you have it.”
I walked into the kitchen and retrieved Bruce’s favorite brand of soda from my well-stocked fridge. I returned to the living room and popped open the can top before handing him his drink. “How’d your case go?”
“I’m still working on it. I’ve never met a man as hated as Lyon Connors, and yet, I’ve cleared most of my suspects for his murder.”
“If he was that hated, wouldn’t it be easy to find out who killed him?”
“That was my opinion, too, until I delved deeper into the case. Connors’s neighbors, co-workers, and former friends hated the man. The police ruled his death as a heart attack. His sister, who hired me, is the only one who cares that he’s dead, believing her brother was murdered.
“Was he murdered?”
“The toxicology report won’t be back for several weeks, but in my gut, yeah, I’m sure he was poisoned.”
“Didn’t he have any friends?”
“A few and they’re all connected to the dog shows Connors competed in. Of course, he has plenty of enemies from those same shows.” Bruce ran his hands through his hair, then took a gulp of his soda. “Clarissa, the shows are my only lead, that’s why I need your help. I need to borrow Paw.”
At the mention of his name, Paw tilted his head to the side and looked up at Bruce.
“Before his death, Lyon Connors had entered a dog show scheduled for this weekend in Dockers. I’m entering the show too.”
“Wait! You think someone at a dog show killed Connors?”
Bruce nodded before gulping more soda. “Connors got in a fistfight with another contestant at his last show, claiming the guy tried to harm his dog. It’s the only lead I have.”
“Bruce, why would anyone kill over a dog show, let alone hunt the person down later?”
“I don’t know, but the contestant he had the altercation with will be there. Maybe it is a false lead, but I have to try.”
“Can’t you just observe?”
“No. I need to be in the middle of everything, so I’ve called in some favors to get a spot in the show. Clarissa,” he implored, “I need a dog for the show and Paw is my best bet. Please let me take him to the show.”
I crossed my arms, ready to refuse him. I wasn’t comfortable volunteering Paw for this, and I doubted he would even behave. Dog-show dogs always appeared pampered and well-trained. They understood the routine of a show. Paw was spoiled, by me, and for the most part, got to do things his way. I trusted Bruce, but I wasn’t sure if he could handle Paw. I didn’t want to send my pet into danger although Paw had proven he could handle himself in dangerous situations in the past.
“Can you assure me of Paw’s safety?”
“Yes. I plan to keep a low-profile. I’ll avoid open confrontation and any evidence I find I’ll turn over to the police.” He sighed and wiped his hand down his face. “The truth is it’s been a long time since I had a dog, but Paw and I will get along fine.”
I suppressed my urge to laugh. Paw would do what he wanted to do, not what Bruce wanted. “Why don’t I go with you and help you investigate?”
Bruce shook his head. “No.” Before I could protest, he said, “I know you can handle yourself, but I don’t want you in danger. I promise to keep Paw safe.”
I humphed. “I’ll let you go with Paw, but on one condition: I get to come to the dog show to observe.” I raised my hand before Bruce could protest, saying, “I promise to keep away from you and Paw, so no one suspects we are together.”
“Deal.” Bruce stood up, motioning to Paw. “I need to take him with me now since the show starts tomorrow.”
I gathered up Paw’s things for a road trip and walked out to Bruce’s car with Paw beside me.
Bruce opened the car door, motioning for Paw to get in.
He jumped in the back seat, eager for a ride.
I hated to see Paw so willing to go with Bruce as I considered him my loyal companion.
Bruce put Paw’s things on the floor in the back seat, shut the door, wrapped his arms around me, and gave me another kiss. “Don’t worry. I will keep Paw safe.”
Bruce stepped back, walked around to his side of the car, and opened his door.
Paw had been observing us with his head tilted to the side. When he realized I wasn’t going, too, he became agitated and howled, loud and long.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
Mastiffs, Mystery, and Murder is the perfect mystery for dog lovers. There is Paw, the Saint Bernard, who is sniffing out clues for his amateur sleuth owner in his first dog show. Plus an obedient Mastiff and a spunky Chihuahua whose antics provide hours reading of amusement with a satisfying solution to a twisty murder.
Enter to win a $10 Amazon US or Amazon Canada gift card
Open Internationally. You must have an active Amazon US or CA account to win.
Runs February 20 – February 28, 2023.
Winner will be drawn on March 1, 2023.
Sandra Baublitz loves mysteries. Both reading and writing them. And animals.
She fell in love with the Saint Bernard from the Beethoven movies. Since she couldn’t have one of her own, she created her own in her cozy mystery books.
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