Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: A Dog Gone Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #10) by Elaine Viets

New in the national bestselling Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series, from the Agatha and Anthony Award-winning author of the Dead End Job Mystery series.

Mystery shopper Josie Marcus is getting the dirt on doggy day-care centers, and discovers that one dog-loving local celebrity is really bad to the bone.

Josie has been asked to investigate Uncle Bob’s Doggy Day Camp, known for its commercials featuring Uncle Bob liking dogs so much that he acts like one. But Josie soon learns how Uncle Bob acts when the cameras are off. Her mother’s new tenant, Franklin, who works for Uncle Bob, plans to quit after seeing the man’s true nature. But before he gets the chance, Bob is murdered, and Franklin goes from the doghouse to the big house.

Now it’s up to Josie to clear Franklin’s name. Her investigation reveals that Bob was more of a dog than anyone knew—and had been kicked out of his house for bad behavior. As she digs up new clues, Josie will have to catch the killer quickly, before any more trouble is unleashed.

Includes Shopping Tips!

Josie Marcus goes to the dogs in A Dog Gone Murder, my new mystery shopper mystery. Josie is mystery-shopping dog daycare centers, and she borrows  Stuart Little, the shih tzu who is her mother Jane’s companion, to investigate Uncle Bob’s Doggy Day Camp.
            Jane’s new tenant, Frank, works for Uncle Bob. He discovers Uncle Bob isn’t the jolly fellow he pretends to be. But before Frank can quit, Bob is murdered. Frank is arrested, and Josie has to fight to clear Frank’s name.
            When I researched A Dog Gone Murder, I was amazed at the pricy pet pampering. This is Josie and Jane’s first visit to Uncle Bob’s Doggy Day Care. Josie can mystery-shop for unlimited dog services. Jane is worried about leaving her dog, even in Frank’s care. Stuart is busy scarfing treats from Beverly, the receptionist:
            “You want Stuart here for a full day, correct?” Beverly asked.
            “Yes,” Josie said. “Daycare in the morning, grooming and spa services in
the afternoon.”
            “You lucky dog,” the short, sturdy receptionist said.
            “Here are his papers,” Jane said. “Stuart’s shots are up to date and he’s been
neutered. I brought his food.” She pulled a ziplock bag of kibble from her big pink purse.
            “Good,” Beverly said. “We recommend that. Some dogs don’t tolerate different food.”
            Stuart seems very tolerant, Josie thought. He’s on his third treat.
             “I don’t want Stuart playing with other dogs,” Jane said. “He’s too shy. But he needs exercise.”
            “I know this handsome fella,” Frank said, and Jane’s tenant took Stuart’s red leash. “I've finished my morning chores, so I’ll give him personal playtime.”
            “That’s six dollars for fifteen minutes,” Beverly said.
            “We’ll take half an hour,” Josie said, and Jane nodded.
            “Gourmet cookies are three dollars each,” Beverly said.
            “He’ll take two,” Josie said. An hour gone, she thought.
            “Our pool is chlorine- and chemical-free. Thirty dollars for thirty minutes,”
Beverly said.
            “Done,” Josie said.
            “A light workout in the gym is thirty dollars,” Beverly said.
            Jane interrupted. “What if Stuart’s too tired?”
            “Then he’ll sit with me in the small dog park,” Frank said. “After he naps, he’ll have lunch.”
            “His grooming starts at one o’clock,” Beverly said.
            “We want a full grooming,” Jane said. “His coat washed and cut, ears cleaned and plucked, nails trimmed, and er, glands cleaned.”
            Josie knew her prim mother couldn’t say “anal glands.” Especially in front of Frank.
            “That’s sixty dollars,” Beverly said.
            “Your groomer will take special care with the hair around his eyes,” Jane said. A tiny worry wrinkle showed between her eyes.
            “Karen is the best,” Beverly said.
            “He’ll be fine, Mom,” Josie said.
            “Stuart is a bugeyed dog,” Jane said. “If you don’t groom the hair right, it
can grow into their eyes. Some poor dogs go blind.”
            “That’s terrible,” Josie said, eying the brown fringe hanging in Beverly’s
cute pug face. She focused on the calming blue wall. Mom’s dithering again, she thought.
            “What else do you have at the spa, Beverly?” she asked.
            “A blueberry facial,” Beverly said.
            “Won’t that stain Stuart’s fur blue?” Jane asked.
            “No, dogs love our facials.”
            “Sign him up,” Josie said.
            “What color polish do you want for his nails?” Beverly asked.
            “Polish!” Jane said. “Stuart is a boy.”
            “Some of our dudes get their nails painted to match their neck scarves or collars,” Beverly said. “It’s dashing.”
            “No, thank you!” Jane said.
            “What about a massage?” Beverly asked. “Karen can give Stuart a fifteen minute or a half hour massage.”
            “Half an hour,” Josie said.
            “Many dogs enjoy aromatherapy with their favorite fragrances.”
            “Like steak, hamburger and chicken?” Josie asked.
            Beverly smiled patiently. “A dog has a highly sensitive sense of smell, so we use small amounts of therapeutic grade oil, usually lavender or spearmint.”
            “Go for it,” Josie said.
            “We can also streak his hair your favorite color – maybe blue to match your pretty pantsuit.”
            “Certainly not,” Jane said.
            “I guess you won’t want the extreme make-over then,” Beverly said.
            “Stuart is perfect,” Jane said, bristling on behalf of her dog.
            Frank took charge. “Let’s go, buddy,” he said. Josie silently thanked him. Her last sight was Stuart Little, tail wagging, eagerly following Frank through the yellow door.
            I've just spent more on a dog than on my entire annual clothing budget, Josie thought.

As a young girl, Elaine Viets was taught the virtues of South St. Louis: the importance of hard work, housecleaning, and paying cash. She managed to forget almost everything she learned, which is why she turned to mystery writing.

Living in South Florida has not improved her character. But it has given her the bestselling Dead-End Job series. Like her amateur detective, Helen Hawthorne, Elaine actually works those rotten jobs. Perhaps her early training has given her a lifelong fascination with jobs. She and Helen both know working for a living can be murder.

To research her novels, Elaine has been everything from a salesclerk to a survey taker. Her first book in the series is SHOP TILL YOU DROP, a novel of sex, murder and plastic surgery. It's set at a fashionable dress shop that caters to kept women. Book two, MURDER BETWEEN THE COVERS, takes place at a bookstore. Elaine worked at a Barnes & Noble in Hollywood, Florida, for a year.

For the third, DYING TO CALL YOU, Helen works as a telemarketer. Elaine sold septic tank cleaner and did telephone surveys. She actually asked women if they shaved their armpits. In the fourth Dead-End Job mystery, JUST MURDERED, Elaine and Helen explore big-money matrimony for better or worse. Elaine did her research in Zola Keller’s posh bridal salon in Fort Lauderdale.

For the fifth novel, Elaine and Helen go to the dogs. MURDER UNLEASHED is set at a high-end dog boutique, where people spend two hundred dollars for canine cuisine, women sneak illegal pets into condos using high-priced designer purses, and the dogs at the store have bigger wardrobes than the salesclerks. MURDER UNLEASHED is Elaine's first hardcover mystery. Publishers Weekly calls it “wry social commentary.”

Although Elaine lives in Fort Lauderdale, her heart – and her viewpoint – remain in the Midwest. Like Helen Hawthorne, another transplanted St. Louisan, she observes the outrageously rich Florida culture (and lack thereof) with wide-eyed fascination.

Elaine’s second series takes her back to work in St. Louis. It features Josie Marcus, a mystery shopper and single mom. The debut novel, DYING IN STYLE, tied with Stephen King on the bestseller list for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Elaine won both the Agatha and the Anthony Awards for her short story, "Wedding Knife," in CHESAPEAKE CRIMES.

Some honors don’t come with plaques and award banquets. Elaine was thrilled when her short story, "After the Fall," was featured on the same cover of the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine as the master, Ed Hoch.

Her short story, "Red Meat," is in BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS, the Mystery Writers of America anthology edited by Lawrence Block. "Blonde Moment" is in the MWA anthology, SHOW BUSINESS IS MURDER, edited by Stuart Kaminsky. "Sex and Bingo" is featured in the HIGH STAKES gambling anthology. And if you've ever wondered about the early life of purple-loving landlady Margery Flax, read "Killer Blonde" in DROP-DEAD BLONDE.

Elaine has served on the national boards of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband, actor Don Crinklaw, where they collect speeding tickets.

Please buy her novels so she can pay her MasterCard. 

I have always known that people spend a lot of money on their dogs.  But after reading this book, I know I had no idea how much!  One of the things that I loved about A Dog Gone Murder, is the obvious research that had to be done.  Unbelievable!  I also loved the characters!  Josie is a hoot!  She made me laugh, which, in my opinion, means the author created that character just right! :)  

The story was creative and fun, and the mystery just as exciting.  It's a book you can quickly read, with characters you'll fall in love with (even Stuart!), and it's so good, it'll leave you not so patiently waiting for the next book in the series.  

Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own.  

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of A Dog Gone Murder by Elaine Viets to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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