Two Dogs Lie Sleeping: A Mae December Mystery by Lia Farrell

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Two Dogs Lie Sleeping: A Mae December Mystery by Lia Farrell
Publisher: Camel Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (286 Pages)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

It’s early August in Rosedale, Tennessee, and July December Powell is alone at the historic Booth Mansion, putting the finishing touches on the Showhouse room she designed for tomorrow’s grand opening. A loud noise draws her to the nursery, where a man lies dying. Not just any man, but Tom Ferris, the love of her life, who she hasn’t seen since he disappeared with no explanation some fifteen years earlier. Who shot Tom in the back? What drove him away in the first place and made him stay away, even after his parents were killed in a car accident? What was he trying to tell July with his last breath? The gossip mill is in high gear in the small town of Rosedale, and July is the sister of Mae, a dog breeder and kennel owner who happens to be dating the sheriff, Ben Bradley. Ben’s close relationship with the December family has thrown a wrench in his investigation, forcing him to rely on Detective Wayne Nichols, his deputies, and his office manager Dory to do most of the legwork. Meanwhile July’s marriage is imploding, and Mae already has too much to deal with—including a new corgi puppy and Ben’s four-year-old son. Mae is torn between loyalty to her boyfriend and her sister as she does her darndest to get the bottom of a case that just seems to involve more and more of their friends and neighbors.

July Powell finds her former lover dying on the nursery floor of the historic Booth Mansion. He’d disappeared over fifteen years ago, just as they were going to get engaged, and now she finds him fatally shot. When Tommy Ferris is pronounced dead at the hospital, Sheriff Ben Bradley is given the case. However, the fact that he is dating July’s sister Mae complicates things for him. He can only oversee the paperwork, but he cannot interview any suspects or collect any evidence.

Two Dogs Lie Sleeping is a fast paced mystery with lots of twists and turns in the plot. The author plays fair with the reader, but it is still very hard to figure things out until the end. And even at the end, there are more surprises.

For me though, even better than the plot are the characters. Mae, who runs a local kennel and just got a new puppy, is bright as well as kind. She cares a great deal about her family, but she also loves Ben. She ends up having to define her loyalties and look carefully at her priorities.

One of my favorite characters is Dory Clarkson, the office administrator for the sheriff’s department. She is computer savvy, whip smart, sassy, and caring. She wants to become a detective and I, for one, hope she gets the chance in the next novel in this series.

The story is told from several points of view—Mae’s, July’s, Ben’s, and others—and each point of view adds greatly to the story. Not only do the different viewpoints bring more information to light, but more characters are developed and the reader is drawn into the lives of a number of them. And through it all, there are a number of dogs who add even more charm to a delightful cozy mystery.

This is the second in the Mae December Mystery series and I have read the first as well. The books stand alone just fine, but my choice would be to read them in order so that the growth in some of the personal relationships can be fully savored.

Mystery readers can’t go wrong if they take a trip to Rosedale, TN, to meet Mae December and the entire cast of Two Dogs Lie Sleeping.

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