One Dog Too Many: A Dog Whisperer Turns Sleuth in Tennessee

one_dogOne Dog Too Many ($14.95, 292 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-967-1) is a cozy mystery by Lia Farrell about the murder of a scrappy young woman who manages country music performers in Tennessee. This is the first book in a series featuring amateur detective and dog whisperer, Mae December. Coming in 2014: Two Dogs Lie Sleeping.

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“The author has worked carefully on the setting so that I really did feel as if I were a part of this rural town and I could picture the scenes as well as the people. Character interactions and the descriptions of daily life definitely ring true, and the characters seem to be very real. Fans of the cozy mystery will certainly enjoy adding Mae December to their list of charming detectives.”  Read more ….

–Long and Short Reviews

“A lively tale with plenty of twists, turns, and unexpected situations to satisfy the most ardent cozy mystery lover. The story is told in several voices, including Mae, Sheriff Ben, and Detective Wayne, with Mae’s best friend Tammy piping in occasionally, giving the tale several viewpoints of the mystery. Farrell’s additional cast of characters are fun folks to get to know, and the setting of the Tennessee countryside is charming. Animal lovers will enjoy the interaction with Mae’s kennel customers, and fans of whodunnits will love figuring out the intriguing plot as the story moves along …. A fine introduction to what promises to be an exciting series to follow.”  Read more ….

—Sharon Galligar Chance, Fresh Fiction

“The story is a combination of police procedural, rocky romance (at least two of them), and a stroll through the world of dogs.  Even for readers who don’t find canines especially appealing, this novel—written by a mother/daughter pair—still has its charm.  The plot is fairly straightforward, the major protagonists are believable, and the perpetrator’s motives are quite understandable.”  Read more ….

—John A. Broussard, I Love a Mystery

“A tidy little mystery peppered with likeable characters, interesting back stories, and lots of canine lore. One Dog Too Many is an entertaining book to read on a lazy day.”

—Mary Marks, The New York Journal of Books

5 Thumbs Up: “What a great start to a series. This debut novel contains exactly all the right ingredients needed to make a perfect cozy mystery…. Through a crisp writing style the authors bring their characters not only to life, but has them serving sweet iced tea to the reader as they progress through this book, and in this way it I found it very easy to connect with them and establish a relationship; even their gossip made me feel included in their everyday lives.”  Read more …..

—Cate Agosta, Cate’s Book Nut Hut

“With an equal mix of charm and intrigue, Lia Farrell has created a twisty tale of murder and wagging tails.”

—Jane Cleland, author of The Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries

“Dog lovers and cozy mystery fans alike will be charmed by this first book in an exciting new series featuring Tennessee dog breeder Mae December. One Dog Too Many gets off to a fast start as the Lia Farrell writing team pulls the reader into a dog-gone good tale of murder set in the beauty of the Middle Tennessee countryside.”

—Marie Moore, author of the Sidney Marsh Mysteries

“Lia Farrell has created a strong debut mystery in One Dog Too Many. The plot is intricate, the characters well-developed, and the setting charming. Dog-lovers and mystery fans alike will enjoy this fast-moving tail … um, tale.”

—Jennie Bentley, USA Today bestselling author of the Fatal Fixer Upper series

Mae December runs a successful dog boarding business in Tennessee. When her neighbor, Ruby Mead-Allison, fails to pick up her unruly Pomeranian from Mae’s kennel, Mae pokes around and discovers the woman’s body. It is clad in one red boot, and there is a vehicle counting cord wrapped around its neck.

While delving into the mystery of Ruby’s death, Mae encounters handsome Sheriff Ben Bradley. Together they find no shortage of suspects. Ruby was standing in the way of a project that would widen the road and make the area safer. Was she killed by an angry neighbor? Her estranged husband? Her disinherited brother? The sheriff may not appreciate Mae’s amateur detecting, but he does respond to her as a woman. Meanwhile the murderer thinks it’s time to put a permanent stop to Mae’s meddling.

Mother and daughter writing team Lyn Farquhar and Lisa Fitzsimmons live in Michigan and Tennessee respectively. Both are life-long readers who are also dog lovers. Lyn owns two Welsh corgis and Lisa has two pugs and a Siberian husky. Lisa works as a Muralist and Interior Designer and her mother, Lyn, is a Professor of Medical Education. Click here to find them online.

Says Lyn, “Skimming the Sunday paper together, we found an article about a heated legal battle over the widening of a nearby country road. The Highway Commissioner was working to widen and improve the road, but one resident was fighting the project and had filed numerous lawsuits to stop the action, creating lots of controversy and friction. It occurred to us that the real life situation would make an interesting backdrop for a murder mystery.”

Keeping reading for an excerpt:

“Sheriff, I’m not considered a suspect, am I? I’d be the last person to wish Ruby dead. You know I only wanted to get Elvis out of here and back to her.”

“So you said. Elvis isn’t much of an alibi, though. I’d like to see him, by the way. Is he in the kennel?”

“Actually, Patrick let him out last night and he didn’t come back. He’s the dog I was out looking for earlier.”

“Elvis is missing?”

“Yes, he’s missing, but hopefully not for long. He’s a tough little dog and he’s fast. I’m sure he’ll be back soon. Patrick will tell you the same thing.”

The sheriff looked frustrated. Mae quietly added some fresh coffee to his cup and glanced enquiringly at Deputy Phelps, who shook his head. Mae turned her attention back to the sheriff.

“Miss December, let me read this to you, please. It’s what I have in my notes from our conversations. ‘On March eighteenth, Mae December (of fifteen oh nine Little Chapel Road) went to Ruby Mead-Allison’s house in hopes of finding her at home. She planned to return Ms. Mead-Allison’s dog that she was boarding. She noted a red boot in the flowerbed by the rear of the house, put the boot in her tote bag and brought it to the sheriff’s office.’ Did you do anything else while you were there?”

“Well, I set her mailbox back up on the post—it was down in the ditch. Oh, and it was empty. Ruby must have gotten home before yesterday and picked up her mail. I also peeked in the garage window and opened the side door. Her car was there. Did I mention that she drove herself to the airport? When I saw her car, I knew she’d returned from her vacation.”

“All right, I’ll add that. ‘On March nineteenth, Mae December walked her dogs around eight fifteen a.m. when Mr. Jack Ryan approached, without his dog.’ ” He paused. “Tell me what happened then.”

“I spoke to him about his ankle, which he thought might be sprained, and I walked him home. Then I went past the place where I saw him originally and started calling his dog, Toast.”

He smiled. “There are an awful lot of dogs in this case.”

She nodded absently, still upset at recounting her discovery of Ruby’s body.

“What happened next?”

“I kept calling Toast. I found her near a small grove of trees. When I got close enough, I noticed she was in a full point position.”

“Okay, and this grove of trees that the dog was pointing to is near the road you live on, but about thirty yards off the road, correct? It was actually on Ruby’s property?”

“Yes, right. I went to see what she was pointing at and noticed something red at the base of one of the trees.” She stopped, overcome with nausea.

“Go on. What happened then?”

“Just a minute.” Mae went to the refrigerator and took out a pitcher of fruit tea. She poured a glass and added ice. She stood and looked out her window for a moment, seeing the lush spring morning that contrasted starkly with Ruby’s demise. She took a few deep breaths to compose herself before she turned back to the sheriff.

“When I got over to the trees, I saw a red boot. The boot was on a foot. Ruby’s foot.”

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