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THE FULL REVIEWS

SPOILER ALERT: 

These are thorough fabulous reviews by accomplished mystery writers and we appreciate their kind words. However, some give away just enough of a plot twist which perhaps might spoil the surprise as you read the stories yourself.

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REVIEW BY Laura’s Interests

Every book is better with animal characters. They make the humans more human and always give the reader someone to cheer for. Big, small, full blood, lovable mutt, or major goofball, there is something about a dog in a book that makes me want to pick it up and read. Each of these quick reads is not only a satisfying story in itself but lets the reader get a feel for the individual authors and their talents. Another thing these stories have in common is the state of Virginia. It may be for lovers, but there seems to be a deadly side to the state as well.

“Sandy Paws” is an In~House style mystery. The featured author at a beachside writing retreat pens her final words.

“New Leash on Death” shows the deadly side to dog grooming.

“Wags to Riches” drew my attention not only with the dogs but with a flea market, rummage style sale. I love the mystery of found objects but for one man things take a ad turn before the market gates even open.

Finally, and perhaps my favorite of this grouping, “Bone Appetite.” Why is it my favorite? The dog blunders his way through the story with unexpected results, saving the day. I really enjoyed being surprised.
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REVIEW BY I Read What You Write

I very much enjoy anthologies. They give a reader a chance to catch up with favorite authors or find some new favorite stories. To Fetch a Killer, Four Fun “Tails” of Chaos and Murder, is no exception. In it we have four fun cozy mysteries, with a grip of clever pups, that save the day or just their person’s sanity. I enjoyed a giggle in  “Wags to Riches” at “Mr.” Oliver, the completely oblivious and unaware complaint department. The stories, of course, all center on canine sidekicks and are perfect for dog loving cozy readers.
     I am familiar with most, if not all of these authors and they have written to expectations. These are fast entertaining reads with great characters and engaging mysteries. This is a quick read and a good time.
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REVIEW BY Debra Goldstein

Like dogs? … and mysteries? Then, To Fetch a Killer, in the Mutt Mysteries series is for you. Billed by its authors, Maria Hudgins, Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, and Jayne Ormerod as “four tails of chaos and murder,” the easy-to-read book delivers four novellas each with a featured human and at least one four-foot friend. Whether it was Hudgins’ alpha service bichon, Trey, and rambunctious Atlas, or Weidner’s very human rottweiler, Oliver, I was as engaged by the animals as I was their intelligent mystery solving protagonists. Each protagonist struggles to succeed- whether as a writer or a business owner, but being sole proprietors of woman owned startups, Inge and Ormerod’s characters also keep one hoping that the crime’s resolution will allow their businesses to survive. To Fetch a Killer is definitely a worthy addition to the Mutt Mysteries.
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REVIEW BY Christie Maurer

Each of the stories in To Fetch a Killer are fun, quick reads. You can easily read these novellas in a day, or read one a day if you’re short on time!
“SANDY PAWS” takes place in a beach house where several writers have gathered to write and share some of their stories with their fellow writers. How great would it be to rent a beach house with people who love to do what you love to do? In my case, a bunch of us cozy mystery readers would be gathered. But that’s as far as I’d want our gathering to mimic this one! I mean, they do find one of their group murdered!
           This is a very fast-paced mystery with some fun characters. I did read the prior, related novella in To Fetch a Villain, so I was familiar with Jessica, a deaf author and her adorable dogs. Though she insisted that she wasn’t the group’s leader (because the leader gets stuck with the work!), she was the one who seemed the most qualified to lead! And her dogs just added to the fun (and the clue finding missions)! 

“A NEW LEASH ON DEATH”: was familiar with the characters in “A New Leash on Life” from To Fetch a Villain as well. Catt is the owner of a dog-walking business called the Woof-Pack Dog Walkers. Since Catt has a house now, she’s had the business expanded to the upstairs. And the upstairs should be having a wonderful grand opening of the new grooming area. However, a dead body is found up there, and it appears he’s been killed by one of the grooming tools!
         As with the prior Woof-Pack story, I really enjoyed the characters, both human and animal! This is another quick read with a mystery to solve along with the characters. The business is one I would certainly frequent if I lived in this story!
 
“WAGS TO RICHES”: I thought the setting of “Wags to Riches” was really unique. This fun mystery stars Cassidy Green who runs her late father’s speedway. Since racing isn’t a year-round sport, Cassidy’s got to find ways to keep the speedway making money all year long. This particular weekend, the speedway is hosting a big rummage sale with lots of vendors. But before the sale even opens, a dead body is found!
            I really liked how this mystery played out. Though it’s a novella, I quickly became attached to the characters and was invested in the mystery.
            I loved the characters in this story. Cassidy, her lovable dog Oliver, her uncle, and the other speedway workers seem like they’re a big, happy family. The story’s setting and characters gave it that really cozy feel that I love. Hopefully we’ll see more of these characters in another mystery.
 
“Bone Appetit” stars Molly Perkins, a private chef for an influential family. One family member ends up dead from an allergic reaction. There’s no way Molly would have messed up any of the dishes she served. She’s determined to find out who would have tainted one of her dishes!
           This novella has strong characters and a great, fast-paced plot! There are several red herrings that are going to through you off! But, I really enjoyed solving the mystery along with the characters.
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REVIEW BY Maureen’s Musings
This is a quick read, and each of these novella’s have a canine to partner with. As a dog lover and a mystery reader, these will keep you page turning.
Each pup is different, but each of these is a different breed, and you will fall in love with them. Some actually save lives, but all are involved in the lives of their owners, or just caretakers [that claim to not be canine lovers].
As a treat you can sit down and read just one as time allows, but you will be turning the pages to the next!
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REVIEW BY Cassidy Salem

As a dog lover, I definitely enjoyed these “tails.” Although all of the stories were interesting and well written, the writers each have their own style. Each of the stories is set in a different milieu, with its own characters – from writers, to dog walkers, to a private chef. I particularly enjoyed “A New Leash on Death,” with its ambitious and likable main character, its loveable dogs, and the occasional laugh out loud moments. Catt is making admirable efforts to launch her new business and the latest corpse is not making it easy. Of course, a story about a dog walking business is bound to include lots of dogs. I also found “Wags to Riches” to be an interesting and original read, set against the unique backdrop of family-owned racetrack.
          Overall, this anthology is a great choice for dog lovers who enjoy light mysteries.
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REVIEW BY My Reading Journeys
And I thought
A super fun cozy read.
Have you met these authors. I love these multiple author books.
A great way to read a short novella and meet great new authors!
I enjoyed each of the short reads.
Especially since the all include dogs.
Each of the four novellas different. Different my settings and themes.
Lots if fun human and K9 characters to live.
Lots of mystery to solve.
I loved them all!
His one is a great anytime read!
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REVIEW BY Dawn Brotherton
A delightful collection of short, cozy mysteries with relatable and personable protagonists. I could easily picture these ladies as neighbors who I talk to every day. As an anthology, it was a wonderful opportunity to sample the writing styles from four different authors. Dog lovers will be especially pleased to see their furry friends featured prominently in each mystery. I highly recommend picking up To Fetch a Killer for a light, easy, beach read. You won’t be disappointed.
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REVIEW BY Eleanor Cawood Jones
To Fetch a Killer is a super-fun romp through four novellas by four creative mystery authors, filled with furry critter friends, gorgeous coastal Virginia settings, and murders to be solved by amateur sleuths who find themselves unwillingly involved. Each story features a unique, interesting, and often hilarious cast of characters, almost all of whom fall under suspicion at one time or another. What more could a cozy reader ask? A perfect beach or anywhere read. Dive in to this one!

“Sandy Paws”: Maria Hudgins’s enjoyable tale features a writer’s beachside retreat filled with memorable characters, doggy companions large and small, editorial feedback, and lots of delicious food—what could go wrong? And who better to assist the police with a crime than a house full of imaginative authors? Standout characters include a deaf member of the writer’s group who keeps finding herself in a leadership role, an author who loves to cook inspired dishes for the whole party, and an ex-cop escorted by a large and unruly puppy named Atlas. 

“A New Leash on Death”: Author Teresa Inge had me at “Woof-Pack” dog groomers, with an owner amusingly named Catt, who has a LOT going on. She’s about to have one more thing drop onto her plate—or into her tub, rather. Can Catt save her struggling business with a crime to solve on top of a grand re-opening? Not to mention re-building her personal and home life. There is no shortage of suspects, including some that hit way too close to home. And don’t miss two pups named Cagney and Lacey! 

“Wags to Riches”: In Heather Weidner's delightful story, a clever business owner finds herself embroiled in murder at the racetrack she's inherited while hosting a track-wide garage sale. With assistance from Oliver, her overly large, sweet canine sidekick, Cassidy navigates her way through an entertaining cast of characters and suspects to the suspenseful ending. Equally charming and entertaining in this story is the occasional town gossip and the elaborate answers Cassidy gets whenever she asks someone how they are doing. And who isn't a sucker for a happy ending?

“Bone Appétit”: Jayne Ormerod's five-star-setting tale whets the appetite for crime solving. This cleverly plotted mystery has so many laugh-out loud-moments in the dialogue and in Chef Molly's thoughts; I couldn't wait to read the next sentence. Plenty of suspects and a completely lovable and incredibly naughty, yet heart-capturing Newfie, an enchanting mansion on the beach, a best friend who thinks like a killer, and a handsome cop round out the story. And don't forget the wine cellar. Who could ask for more?
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REVIEW BY Sheryl Jordan 
To Fetch a Killer, the fourth book of The Mutt Mysteries Series is a marvelous collection of four fun, furry tales of mayhem and murder. Each story has loving, protective, and mischievous canines hot on the trail of catching murderers with their owner’s and companions. I related to all the characters in each story and found myself cheering them in their race to solve the cases. A great read for dog lovers and mystery enthusiasts alike. 

“Sandy Paws”: An intriguing read involving the Sand Fiddlers Writers Group meeting for their weeklong annual retreat to share ideas and work on stories, as they are quickly met with chaos and the unexpected death of a renowned guest author. They each find themselves being suspects in the murder. Jessica Chastain, a deaf author, and “leader” of the group, teams up with Philip Carr, a former Atlanta policeman turned writer along with their loving pets Trey, Kim, and Atlas to solve the case. 

“A New Leash on Death”: A great combination of two mysteries which has Catt Ramsey planning for the grand opening of her added dog grooming service to her dog walking business, when a dead body is found in the dog washing tub. Catt and her sister Em along with her furry babies, Cagney and Lacey, seek to solve the case to clear Catt’s name and save her business while she tries to figure out the intentions of her new boyfriend Beau. 

“Wags To Riches”: This fast-paced story has Cassidy Green, owner of a racetrack, host a huge rummage sale on the oval track to keep business going during the racing offseason. When an arrogant antique furniture vendor is found mysteriously dead in his booth, Cassidy and her Rottweiler Oliver, race to find the killer to save the reputation of her business.   

“Bone Appétit”: A deliciously written story taking Molly Perkins from relishing in her dream job as personal chef to one of the wealthiest families in the area to being prime murder suspect. Molly is delighted she has executed the perfect dinner party for her employer until the employer falls dead after eating the food Molly prepared. Molly, an aloof large mutt named Tater, and her best friend Becca marinate on evidence to solve the case to clear Molly of any wrongdoing. 

The stories are fast paced, well written, and kept me entertained throughout. I loved the unique personalities of all the dogs how they interacted with each other in their story. I will miss the Mutt Series as this is the last book in the series. Hoping the characters will be in future works of each of the authors!
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REVIEW BY Rosemary Shomaker
To Fetch a Killer; Mysteries and Dogs—What’s Not to Love?
In the new To Fetch a Killer Mutt Mysteries collection, mysteries and dogs are on the marquee. Add believable amateur sleuths, puzzling deaths, unlikely or too-likely suspects, and the hope for resolution and justice, and these four novellas deliver.
As number four in the Mutt Mysteries series, To Fetch a Killer’s four novellas bring readers new tales from now-familiar authors. Of the repeat characters, Teresa Inge’s Catt Ramsey and her Woof-Pack Dog Walking service returns, as does Heather Weidner’s Cassidy Green, co-owner of the Amelia Speedway. 
The third Mutt Mysteries installment, To Fetch a Villain, introduced readers to Maria Hudgins’ character Jessica Chastain, a deaf writer, and in the new Mutt Mysteries, readers enjoy more of this character’s situations. Jayne Ormerod’s new character Molly Perkins shares much of the same quick-wittedness of Ormerod’s earlier heroines. Dog-wise, Yorkshire terriers Cagney and Lacey, Rottweiler Oliver, bichons frisés Trey and Kim, and zany Newfoundland Tater are but a few of the standout canine sidekicks. 

Maria Hudgins’ “Sandy Paws,” To Fetch a Killer’s first novella, takes readers to a beach house retreat with all the flavor of group beach trips familiar to many. When a writing group accepts last-minute retreat guests and accepts a famous author’s request to attend, camaraderie is strained. Once one of the retreat attendees is found dead, no amount of sun, sand, iced tea, and walks on the beach can assuage suspicion among the group. The beach house residents cannot focus on their writing since they know a killer is afoot. It’s writing and the writing biz that’s central to this story.
Hudgins' airy beach setting with its screen doors, seafood, and waterfront homes is fresh, yet familiar. Former policeman Philip Carr is the practical and dependable anchor and sounding board for reluctant group leader Jessica Chastain, and they set their minds to sleuthing. Carr’s oversized, white-haired briard Atlas adds canine presence.
Hudgins deserves recognition for featuring a sleuth with hearing impairment. This author includes enough reminders to readers--her service dog, lip-reading, preference for text communications--of Jessica’s deafness, yet does not caricature the disability. Lead character Jessica Chastin is savvy and thoughtful and not derailed by her impairment.

Teresa Inge’s “A New Leash on Death,” sets readers securely in Catt Ramsey’s life, one familiar from stories in three previous Mutt Mysteries volumes. Virginia Beach comes alive with its beach boardwalk, condos, King Neptune statue at 31st Street, beach cottages, cookouts, sidewalk fairs, and warm temperatures. Catt’s jaunt from Virginia Beach across and through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (12-miles, $18 toll) add local appeal.
Across four stories, Catt has developed. Her sister Em is a good partner, and the trust in that relationship is a counterpoint to Catt’s developing relationship with a new love interest. 
Woof-Pack’s reopening and expansion and Catt’s residence and relationship upgrades become marred by murder when Catt’s acquaintance Trey ends up dead in Catt’s new pet grooming suite. Catt finds herself under suspicion, and that feeds her own suspicion of her new beau, Beau, the ex-con handyman. Catt’s side trips to Virginia’s Eastern Shore and questioning of Beau advance her investigation but yield no clarity.
Every setting and every scene is populated with dogs with the real flavor of lives intertwined with dogs, especially financially, as Catt fights to protect her business and advance her livelihood. It's nice to see a female character attending to business as a serious leader. There’s something attentive and serious about Catt, and readers can't help but empathize and root for her.
Inge advances the story with skilled use of character gestures and dialogue, allowing seamless plot transitions and adding color to scenes. Careful use of actions, body movements, and the activity of normal everyday tasks brings life to story scenes. There’s a flow of energy through the story via the characters and their actions. Characters chat, pour coffee, cook on the grill, like regular people. Readers will remember the story because of the flow of character emotions--the natural depictions of anxiety, anger, confusion, and ultimate understanding--so well presented by Inge through realistic dialogue, and characters’ appropriate musings, responses, and conclusions. Inge’s talent for writing believable situations comes through. 

Heather Weidner’s “Wags to Riches” brings readers another recurring Mutt Mysteries heroine, and another business owner coping with financial struggle. Cassidy Green, co-owner with Uncle Henry of the Amelia Speedway, plans a raceway rummage sale—Junk in the Trunk—to keep patrons coming to the track in the off season. The sale’s vendors, hired help, and patrons bring color and activity to the racetrack setting, which is frankly an ingenious backdrop to a mystery that allows for a cast of suspects. An unlikeable and overbearing vendor is found crushed by his own furniture stock, and it’s Cassidy’s Rottweiler Oliver who finds the corpse. The reality of the death shakes Cassidy, as does its connection to the raceway which is the site of earlier murders (see To Fetch a Scoundrel).
Cassidy collects information as she sleuths through town to the Clippity-Do-Dah, the Tipsy Pig, and the Isle of Capri Italian restaurant. With character names like Grandma Pearl, Erlene, Cousin Otter, Norma Raye, and pronouncements like “looks to be a body in one of the stalls,” “holler if you need anything,” “the old coot just wouldn’t die,” and “spat out the words like they were a four-day old corndog,” the story is funny and legitimately evokes a small town. Weidner’s overlay of Cassidy’s attraction to State Trooper Todd is nicely peppered through the story, but as the killer closes in, it is Oliver and his “one-hundred-and-thirty-pound mass of slobber and teeth” who truly has Cassidy’s back.

Jayne Ormerod’s personal chef Molly Perkins in “Bone Appétit” goes from the proverbial frying pan into the fire as her dream job becomes a nightmare. The novella’s five-thousand square foot oceanfront “cottage” of wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Wade is a good setting for readers who appreciate glimpses into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The employer/employee relationship proves too close when Molly is suspected of triggering Mrs. Wade’s fatal peanut allergy at a dinner party and best friend Becca must work with Molly to clear Molly’s name.
The chaos of preparing food for an important dinner party is brilliantly conveyed to readers in “Bone Appétit.” Molly has hired her friend Becca to help set up for and serve at the party. The in-and-out of the Happy Petals florist toting blooms from van to kitchen and the antics of Tater, the huge Newfoundland, including broken pottery and slurping of sausage necessary for a key recipe, begins the scramble to patch up the askew aspects of Molly’s dinner preparation plan. Just as guests are enjoying dessert and Molly gets a chance to sneak to the dark beach out the back door with a glass of wine, death “attends” the dinner party.
Missing Epi pens, the victim’s unemotional spouse who does a runner, and Officer Siddons’ questioning are all components of the mystery. What is up with Officer Siddons? Is he helpful and caring, or is he waiting for Molly to incriminate herself?
In unravelling the clues, readers will love the idea that everyone--from the wine store, Amazon, and UPS delivery drivers, to the “bug guy” and the “cleaning gals”--had the access code to the Wade’s back door. Becca shares that Mrs. Wade “gave out the code to the cypher lock rather freely” since she “didn’t like to wait around for people.” Molly offers, “Even Becca had the code.”
The highlight of this story is that readers are in the main character’s head, sharing her unfiltered thoughts. This first person narration leads readers to laugh when Molly reflects “Oops. I shouldn’t have just thrown my best friend under the bus like that.” It’s Molly and Becca’s access to the Wade’s house that cracks the case--and puts them in danger when the cypher lock turns early one morning. Will Molly be terminated? Well, Molly’s personal chef work for the Wade’s is terminated, but she reaps interesting benefits at the end which may or may not include an estate liquidation job, contents of a top-notch wine cellar, and a huge dog. 

To Fetch a Killer includes four varied novellas with something for everyone. Find your next favorite author by sampling stories in the Mutt Mysteries collection.
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