Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery, fun
Cons: Betty gets annoying at times
The Bottom Line:
A murdered pet chef
Dampens a pet glamping trip
Overall fun book
Glamping with Dogs…and a Killer
I’ve learned by now that when I pick up a Pampered Pets Mystery from Sparkle Abbey, I am in for wacky fun and a good mystery. That’s true once again in Raiders of the Lost Bark, the eighth in the series.
If you aren’t familiar with it, this series, written by two friends under a pen name, alternates protagonists. The odd numbered books are from the point of view of Caro, a pet therapist. But since this is an even numbered book, we are spending time with Mel, the owner of the Bow Wow Boutique in Laguna Beach, California.
Unfortunately, life has been a challenge for Mel the last few months. Not only has she broken up again with her fiancé, this time maybe for good, but she’s been the victim of blackmail by Addison Rae. Mel has gotten roped in to helping Addison become Orange County’s hottest new gourmet pet chef thanks to a secret from Mel’s mother’s past. Addison’s latest demand is that Mel write the forward to her pet recipe book.
Addison is the head chef for a camping trip for dog owners with their dogs at the nearby Laguna Hills Regional Park. Mel and her assistant/friend Betty head out in a luxury RV so Mel can exchange the forward for the letters that contain the secret and end things once and for all. However, Addison never arrives for the meet. Instead, she’s been found dead with a fork in her neck. The police seem very interested in Mel, and Mel knows she’s got a good motive. Can she clear her name without revealing her mother’s secret?
This book gets off to a fast start and never really lets up. There are several other things happening in the background that may or may not serve as motive for others. With several good suspects, I was kept guessing until Mel figured things out in the end.
I mentioned wacky earlier, and this certainly applies to the characters. Like some other series I read, they fall a bit into the caricature side instead of being true characters. However, it works for this series since they provide so much fun for us. That doesn’t apply to Mel, who is left trying to navigate the crazy, but she does it so well. Don’t misunderstand, the characters are real enough to make us care about the outcome. They are also just wacky enough to provide some laughs along the way.
Over the last few books, I’ve maintained that my favorite character is Betty, Mel’s assistant, who is a hoot. However, I discovered one thing in this book, Betty works best in smaller doses. She’s got a big presence here, and I did grow a little weary of her antics as the book progressed. However, she still provided me with some great laughs, even late in the book.
Those who have been reading the series know that one thread holding all the books together is a brooch that Caro and Mel’s grandmother left to one of them. Even though most of the book takes place at the campground, it still manages to make life complicated for Mel. Once again, I’m curious to see where things go with that storyline in the next book.
If you have a pet of your own, you’ll definitely be interested in the two recipes included at the end.
So pack your bags and gas up your RV. Raiders of the Lost Bark is one glamping trip you won’t want to miss.
And you'll want to enjoy the rest of the Pampered Pets Mysteries.