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
“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,”
“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.