A petsitter is saddled with a troublesome Persian while trying to solve the mystery of his murdered owner.
Sylvan Creek petsitter Daphne Templeton is battening down the hatches to take care of wealthy Lillian Flynt’s pride and joy, a Persian cat. Budgely’s Sir Peridot Tinkleston, known simply as Tinkleston, has an attitude unbecoming his pedigree. Daphne’s gifted with pets, however, and she’s certain she can tame the spoiled feline when she visits him in Flynt Mansion. She’s taken by surprise when the house, which she’d been told would be empty, is being shown by her realtor mother to Elyse Hunter-Black, the out-of-town ex of Daphne’s friend and local police officer Jonathan Black. As she confides in her friend Moxie, Daphne’s almost as surprised to hear of Elyse’s interest in the property as she is to learn that Elyse kept her ex-husband’s last name. There’s barely time for Daphne to adjust to thinking about Elyse’s move back to town and her relationship with Jonathan before she discovers that Lillian hasn’t gone away as reported but has instead been murdered. As her incredulous mother berates her for finding yet another body (Death by Chocolate Lab, 2017), Daphne effortlessly switches gears from petsitter to amateur sleuth, reviewing her ideas about motive (most obviously money) with Moxie. Her leading suspect is her former high school classmate Tamara Fox, whose recent friendship with Pastor Pete and his potentially disreputable church dealings provide ample motive. With her canine companion, Socrates, at her side, Daphne searches for a murderer while trying to tame Tinkleston.
Though Blake doesn’t stand out in the genre, she gamely ties together bits of mystery, romance, scandal, dogs, cats, and pet-friendly recipes in a story that covers all the bases.