Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and a fun mystery
Cons: None worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Surgeon is strangled
Leading Mel on merry chase
A pleasure to read
Plastic Surgeon Strangled
I must admit, I’ve fallen in love with the pop culture based puns of the Pampered Pets Mysteries, but I also love how the title pun truly does tie into the mystery of the book. I hadn’t really thought about what the title of the fourth book might be hinting at, but when I realized that the murder victim in Yip/Tuck was a plastic surgeon, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t figured that out sooner.
The plastic surgeon in question is Dr. Jack O’Doggle. He’s one of the most sought after plastic surgeons in the Laguna Beach, California, area. He also happens to be dating Tova, one of Melinda Langston’s enemies, but since Jack and Tova are constantly buying items in Mel’s shop, Bow Wow Boutique, she’s not complaining.
However, one morning, Mel and her friend, Darcy, find Dr. Jack sitting on a bench outside of Bow Wow Boutique. Unfortunately, he’s not waiting for her to open her shop. Instead, he’s been strangled by a leash that Mel sells in her store. Despite warnings to stay out of it, Mel can’t help but take the murder personally and start looking into things. What secrets might Jack have been hiding that got him killed?
And once again, we are off on a wild ride through the world of Laguna Beach as brought to life by the team of Sparkle Abbey. These books definitely feature the rich and slightly absurd, and that is one of their delights. Yet the comedy blends well with the mystery, where we get many good suspects and clues before Mel figures it all out.
The characters walk that fine line between caricature and character, but it works for this series. A sub-plot here involves Mel looking for some help in her shop, and the two people she interviews prove to be two of the funniest characters. Yet they don’t seem completely wacky, which is a testament to that balance I mentioned earlier.
Those who have been following the series know that the odd numbered books focus on Mel’s cousin Caro. The two are feuding over a broach, and that once again provides some amusement, although the development from the previous book doesn’t get as much play here as I was hoping for.
The book seems a little on the thin side. This is certainly the shortest in the series so far. However, I think anything else added would have felt just like what it would have been – padding, which makes this worth noting only in passing. This is a satisfying mystery just as it is.
This book was set during the early part of December, so the references to Christmas were an added bonus as far as I was concerned. I do love that holiday, after all.
This is a fun tale that kept me turning pages until I reached the end. Yip/Tuck is the kind of book that will make you forget everything else going on in your world. And isn’t that what reading is really all about?