You don’t have to be a dog lover to enjoy Four Dog’s Sake, the fourth installment in the Mae December mystery series by Lia Farrell. Lia Farrell is a pseudonym for the mother-daughter writing team, Lyn Farquhar and Lisa Fitzsimmons.
In Four Dog’s Sake (Camel Press), Mae December, kennel owner and dog trainer, is one of four central characters, and although knowledge of canines is not essential to the plot, Mae’s connections and people skills are. The story unfolds from four different points of view, using chapter divisions whenever there is a shift. Dr. Lucy Ingram first suspects her recent patient, Chester Willis, did not commit suicide, contrary to the initial coroner’s report. After some amateur sleuthing to give credence to her theory, she persuades her boyfriend, Chief Detective Wayne Nichols, to open an investigation.
Mae’s fiancé, Rose County Sheriff Ben Bradley, coordinates the operation while trying to run for re-election. His opponent is sleazy trial lawyer Ramsey Tremaine, who represents Rick Willis, one of the chief suspects in Chester’s murder. Ramsey generates plenty of publicity about wrongful accusations and harassment of his client in an effort to discredit the competence of the current administration.
Likeable Chester Willis does not appear to have had any enemies. Before his death, he cared for his terminally ill father, Leonard Willis, and stood to inherit a substantial fortune at Leonard’s impending death. With Chester out of the way, Leonard’s estate is divided between Chester’s older brother Rick—high-living stock broker engaged to socialite Meredith Flynn—and Brooke Piper, Leonard’s massage therapist, a young, attractive nursing student who is struggling to make ends meet.
Against the backdrop of a sweltering Tennessee summer, budding romantic relationships, and staff changes around the sheriff’s office, the four main characters work as a team to assemble the puzzle pieces and deliver justice for Chester. Something tells me this amiable group of characters will allow readers more glimpses into the continuing saga of their lives next time there is a murder in Rose County.
Sharon Marchisello is the author of Going Home, a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She has a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, with her husband and cat, and does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society.
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