In Mastiffs, Mystery, and Murder by Sandra Baublitz, Clarissa Hayes is just relaxing at home when her private investigator boyfriend, Bruce, comes to visit. Bruce asks to borrow Clarissa’s purebred St. Bernard, Paw, in his investigation, which has led him to a dog show. Reluctantly, Clarissa allows Bruce to take Paw, but Paw refuses to go without his beloved owner. With the new change of plans, Clarissa poses as Bruce’s new wife and handles Paw in the show ring. Completely ignorant of all that goes into preparation for dog show competitions, Bruce gets stuck spending most of his time helping to prepare Paw for the ring as Clarissa and he get to know the other people showing dogs.
Most other showers welcome Clarissa and Paw warmly, but the detective couple learn that certain people have a reputation for playing dirty, especially Lyon Connors, who is suspected of some of the worst tricks. The only problem is that Connors is the man whose suspicious death Bruce has been investigating. The man Bruce suspects the most is mastiff-owner Hoffman, who was strongly suspected of drugging a competitor dog in a previous dog show. But then Hoffman’s mastiff, Samuel, along with Paw and the winning chihuahua, leads a large group of people on a wild romp through the hotel in one of the funniest scenes in the book. The dogs even take the elevator to the ground floor in their wild chase, but the fun scene ends abruptly when the dogs lead the people to the body of Hoffman, lying murdered in a pile of dog food samples.
This book is very fun and cleverly written, with lots of delightful scenes involving dogs with lots of real life to them. All the significant characters have depth and strength to them, but this is especially true of the dogs. I also appreciate the fact that the dogs come in various breeds and sizes, with the main dog characters being a St. Bernard, a mastiff, a chihuahua, and a Perkinese. The book contains plenty of other dog characters as well, as we watch the dog show and other dogs all through the hotel. Clarissa, Bruce, and Clarissa’s two best friends make a fun investigative team as they work together, along with the dogs on their team.
The mystery plot moves cleverly, with plenty of interesting twists and turns. I found myself guessing first one person and then another to be the murderer. The details of the mystery blend in with the nature of the individual characters in a creative manner with a lot of fun.
I bought the kindle version of this book a year or so ago because its premise and its cover appealed so much to me, but severe, nonstop migraines make it very hard for me to do much regular reading, and I never got very far into the book. So when I saw this book being offered for review on the website Audiobook Boom, I was thrilled to learn that it now is available on audio, and I would have gladly paid the full price to get to listen to this book. Nancy Bober performs the audio edition of Mastiffs, Mystery, and Murder and really brings the book to life. Each character becomes very real, something true of the dogs as well as the people. The audio version did not disappoint my high expectations for it.
I really loved listening to Mastiffs, Mystery, and Murder. The scenes of the dogs coming together to lead the humans to an important clue or murdered person made me laugh heartily. I highly recommend this book to anyone, even (gasp!) dog haters, but especially dog lovers. I give the book five stars!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free through Audiobook Boom, but that had no influence on the content of my review.
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