Friday, February 12, 2016

And They Call It Puppy Love -- Dogs in Cozy Mysteries

Dogs...what would we do without our furry companions? They listen to us without interrupting, forgive us our grouchy moments, and love us even when we've messed up. How many sleuths trying to solve a case "consult" with their canine sidekicks on those long walks where we look like we're simply uttering a "with me" or "leave it" command? Don't fool yourself. We'd be nothing without them. Here are some cozy mysteries featuring dogs:

Donna Ball -- The Raine Stockton Dog Mystery Series
Smoky Mountain Tracks #1
Rapid Fire #2
Gun Shy #3
Bone Yard #4
Silent Night #5
The Dead Season #6
High in Trial #7
Double Dog Dare #8
Home of the Brave #9
Dog Days #10
Raine Stockton runs a dog kennel in North Carolina, when she's not training dogs, volunteering with her therapy dog, or doing search-and-rescue with a rambunctious Golden Retriever, Cisco. But Raine has money troubles, men troubles, and dog problems. And that's not counting the dead bodies that keep turning up.

Karoline Barrett -- The Bread and Batter Mystery Series
Bun for Your Life #1
Raisin the Dead #2
Newly divorced baker Molly Tyler and her business partner Olivia Williams find themselves on the receiving end of a local orchard owner's wrath during the annual Apple Harvest Fair. When Calista Danforth is found strangled with one of their tee shirts, Molly becomes the prime suspect. Thank heavens Detective Sean Corsino has her back. He also has a Bassett Hound named Beau. The fun continues in the next book, when Molly's mother's boyfriend is murdered and Library Director Anne Tyler becomes the chief suspect.

Little dogs are proof that good things come in small packages.
Sara M. Barton -- The Scarlet Wilson Mystery Series, The Off-The-Books Mystery Series
Miz Scarlet and the Imposing Imposter #1
Miz Scarlet and the Vanishing Visitor #2
Miz Scarlet and the Holiday Houseguests #3
Miz Scarlet and the Bewildered Bridegroom #4
Henry Hartman's Boondoggle Crisis #2
Henry Hartman's Fall Guy Crisis #4
Scarlet Wilson, innkeeper of the pet-friendly Four Acorns Inn, has never been able to resist diving into a mystery, ever since she, brother Bur (Colonel Grey Poupon), and friends played Clue as kids. When the inn's adopted Jack Russell discovers clothing belonging to a missing family, amateur sleuth "Miz Scarlet" stubbornly refuses to quit the case, a pattern quickly repeated in subsequent tales. FBI Agent Henry Hartman works sensitive cases, often requiring cover, and little Boondoggle is the perfect pooch to tag along with Henry and wife, Syd, all the way to Hilton Head, SC, as the mob is hot on their trail.

Laurien Berenson -- The Melanie Travis Mystery Series
A Pedigree to Die for #1
Underdog #2
Dog Eat Dog #3
Hair of the Dog #4
Watch Dog #5
Hush Puppy #6
Unleashed #7
Once Bitten #8
Hot Dog #9
Best in Show #10
Jingle Bell Bark #11
Raining Cats and Dogs #12
Chow Down #13
Hounded to Death #14
Doggie Day Care Murder #15
Gone with the Woof #16
Death of a Dog Whisperer #17
A Christmas Howl
The Bark Before Christmas
Melanie Travis, a thirty-something school teacher from Connecticut is raising her son as a single mother when she gets dumped by her boyfriend, and that's when her life goes to the dogs. Not only does she get into the state kennel club (and the dog show circuit) in this 17-book (and two novellas) popular canine mystery series, she hones her amateur sleuthing skills over the years, in between romantic challenges with the men in her life, including an ex-husband and a fiancé who can't make up his mind. Luckily, she has an assortment of poodles near and dear to her heart to get her through the dog days.

Sheila Webster Boneham -- The Animals in Focus Mystery Series
Drop Dead on Recall #1
The Money Bird #2
Catwalk #3
Shepherd's Crook #4
This mystery series is written by an author with an extensive (and impressive) non-fiction booklist, ranging from dog breeds to dog rescue. A canine competition seems to bring out the homicidal urge in the first book of this series, featuring animal photographer Janet McPhail, her Australian Shepherd Jay, cat Leo. Janet finds herself juggling family matters and work in between uncovering malicious criminal activities.
Look at that face and tell me you don't have a cookie for a good dog.
Eileen Brady -- The Kate Turner DVM Mystery Series
Muzzled #1
Kate Turner stumbles onto crime in the course of her work as a relief veterinarian in Oak Falls, New York in this "pet noir" series by real-life Arizona vet, Eileen Brady.

Sherri Bryan -- The Charlotte Denver Mystery Series
Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse #1
Fudge Cake, Felony and a Funeral #2
Spare Ribs, Secrets and a Scandal #3
Pumpkins, Peril and a Paella #4
Café-bar owner Charlotte Denver, who lives in a small seaside village in England, turns amateur sleuth when her heartthrob, Chief Inspector Nathan Costello, finds himself tangled up in one murder investigation after another. This cozy mystery series offers up romance, recipes, and best of all -- a dog.

Blaize Clement and John Clement -- The Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series
Duplicity Dogged the Dacshund #2
Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs #5
After being injured in a tragic accident, Deputy Dixie Hemingway retires and starts a pet-sitting business down on Siesta Key. It seems like an easy job, looking after other people's pets in laid back Florida, but things quickly spiral in this ten-book series. When she takes on a dachshund with a penchant for digging, she finds herself drawn into the hunt for a dangerous psychopath. And when a young girl goes missing, Dixie is forced to take on dangerous criminals. Was the girl a material witness in a murder case?

Nancy Coco -- The Candy-Coated Mystery Series
All I Want for Christmas Is Fudge #4
Innkeeper and fudge shop manager Allie McMurphy, event planner Jenn Christiensen, and Marley, a Golden Retriever with a nose for crime, hunt down the clues in this Mackinac Island after a Santa is murdered during the Santa Fun Run.

Susan Conant -- The Dog Lover's Mystery Series
A New Leash on Death #1
Dead and Doggone #2
Dead and Doggone #3
Paws Before Dying #4
Bloodlines #5
Gone to the Dogs #6
Ruffly Speaking #7
Black Ribbons #8
Stud Rites #9
Animal Appetite #10
The Barker Street Regulars #11
Evil Breeding #12
Creature Discomforts #13
The Wicked Flea #14
The Dogfather #15
Bride and Groom #16
Gaits of Heaven #17
All Shots #18
Brute Strength #19
Sire and Dam #20
Holly Winter, a dog trainer and columnist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, takes on canine intrigue in this twenty-volume mystery series.

Waverly  Curtis -- The Barking Detective Mystery Series
Dial C for Chihuahua #1
Chihuahua Confidential #2
The Big Chihuahua #3
The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice #4
The Silence of the Chihuahuas #5
A Chihuahua in Every Stocking (Special novella)
When Pepe's new owner, Geri Sullivan, takes an assignment for a seedy Seattle investigator known as Jimmy G., she winds up stumbling over one very dead millionaire. With the help of her adopted Chihuahua, she delves into murder after murder in this five-book series. While Geri is the human narrator, the "motor-mouth" pooch adds his own two cents in this humor-laced mystery series.

Kathi Daley -- The Zoe Donovan Mystery Series
Halloween Hijinks #1
The Trouble with Turkeys #2
Christmas Crazy #3
Cupid's Curse #4
Big Bunny Bump Off #5
Beach Blanket Barbie #6
Maui Madness #7
Derby Divas #8
Haunted Hamlet #9
Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies #10
Christmas Cozy #11
Alaskan Alliance #12
Matrimony Meltdown #13
Soul Surrender #14
Heavenly Honeymoon #15
Hopscotch Homicide #16
Ghostly Graveyard #17
Santa Sleuth #18
Animal Control officer Zoe Donovan investigates animal problems in this eighteen-book series (many holiday-themed) that spins humor, a little romance, and murder together. Charlie, her mixed terrier joins her on cases, as do a couple of friends, Levi and Ellie.

Krista Davis -- The  Paws and Claws Mystery Series, The Domestic Diva Mystery Series
Murder, She Barked #1
The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer #2
Murder Most Howl #3
The Diva Frosts a Cupcake #7
The Sugar Maple Inn keeps Holly Miller busy enough, but she really has her hands full when her Jack Russell terrier, Trixie, and cat, Twinkletoes, keep turning up dead bodies in Wagtail, Virginia in the three-book Paws and Claws mystery series. Domestic Diva Sophie Winston and her sidekick take on the task of doing a fundraiser for a dog shelter, only to find the baking competition brings out the worst in someone after the last remaining employee of Sugar Baby's gets iced.
If you're going to live in the Highlands and frolic in the heather, it pays to have long legs.
Lia Farrell (mother-daughter team of Lynn Farquhar and Lisa Fitzsimmons) -- The Mae December Mystery SeriesOne Dog Too Many #1
Two Dogs Lie Sleeping #2
Three Dog Day #3
Four Dog's Sake #4
Mae December's successful dog boarding business in Tennessee might seem like an unlikely setting for a murder series, but when Ruby Mead-Allison fails to pick up her misbehaving Pomeranian, Mae decides to deliver the pooch personally, discovering the dead body. That kicks her amateur sleuthing career into gear, and as she becomes romantically entwined with Sheriff Ben, the body count begins to rise, the tempers begin to flare, and the supply of suspects only seems to grow.

Carolyn Haines -- the Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Series
Them Bones #1
Buried Bones #2
Splintered Bones #3
Crossed Bones #4
Hallowed Bones #5
Bones to Pick #6
Ham Bones #7
Wishbones #8
Greedy Bones #9
Bone Appétit #10
Bones of a Feather #11
Bonefire of the Vanities #12
Smarty Bones #13
Booty Bones #14
Bone to Be Wild #15
Rock-a-Bye Bones #16
Heroine Sarah Booth Delaney, the Zinnia, Mississippi private investigator and sometime actress who is haunted by an antebellum ghost, has a couple of canine partners in her sleuthing capers -- Sweetie Pie, the red tick hound, and Chablis, the Yorkie, in this 16-book series.

Dianne Harman -- The Cedar Bay Mystery Series, The Liz Lucas Mystery Series, The High Desert Mystery Series
Kelly's Koffee Shop #1
Murder at Jade Cove #2
White Cloud Retreat #3
Marriage & Murder #4
Murder in the Pearl District #5
Murder in Calico Gold #6
Murder in Cottage #6 #1
Murder and Brandy Boy #2
The Death Card #3
Murder at the Bed & Breakfast #4
The Blue Butterfly #5
Murder& the Monkey Band #1
Murder & the Secret Cave #2
Three different women, all dog lovers, throw themselves into investigations. Kelly has a Boxer by the name of Rebel and follows the clues with romantic interest Mike. Liz Lucas is a widowed fifty-something innkeeper with a protective Boxer, Winston, a lovable St. Bernard, Brandy Boy, and a need to get to the bottom of things. Marty Morgan, a recently divorced antiques and art appraiser, restarts her life just outside Palm Springs, diving into intrigue with her black Lab, Duke.

Mary Hiker -- The Avery Barks Dog Mystery Series
Butterfly Boy #1
Strange Outfit #2
Play Fetch #3
Underwater #4
Good Friends #5
In the mountains of North Carolina, Avery Barks is a volunteer trainer for search-and-rescue dogs. While helping an elderly neighbor, she and her dog, Chevy, stumble upon their first murder victim. The last thing she wants is to be considered the prime suspect, so woman and dog get busy. In subsequent tales, they tackle a dead body at an animal sanctuary, a dead body left on the road, a series of fires set by an arsonist, and a criminal investigation that's gone bad.

Susan Holmes -- The Waterside Kennels Mystery Series
Deadly Ties #1
Dangerous Deeds #2
Maggie Porter finds trouble in the Ozarks with her champion Labrador Retriever, aging Cocker Spaniel, and Beagle retired federal service dog.

Linda O. Johnston -- The Kendra Ballantyne Pet-Sitter Mystery Series, The Pet Rescue Mystery Series, The Barkery and Biscuits Mystery Series
Sit, Stay, Slay #1
Double Dog Dare #6
Beaglemania #1
The More the Terrier #2
Hounds Abound #3
Oodles of Poodles #4
Teacup Turbulence #5
Bite the Biscuit #1
This dog-loving author started with heroine Kendra Ballantyne, the fired attorney-turned-pet-sitter, spun that series off with her pet rescue (no-kill shelter) tales, and just started a third dog mystery series.

L. A. Kornetsky (AKA Laura Anne Gilman) -- The Gin and Tonic Mystery Series
Collared #1
Fixed #2
Doghouse #3
Clawed #4
Private concierge (and unlicensed private investigator) Ginny Mallard and her Shar-pei, Georgie, join forces with bartender Teddy Tonica and his bar cat, Mistress Penny, to solve the cases they stumble upon unexpectedly.

Susan J. Kroupa -- The Doodlebugged Mystery Series
Bed-Bugged #1
Out-Sniffed #2
Dog-Nabbed #3
Bad-Mouthed #4
Okay, I admit it. This series is appropriate for middle school kids. "Should I leave it off the list or put it on?" As a former librarian and educator, I read a lot of kiddie lit and loved it. Based on the comments from happy adult readers who were charmed by the stories, I just have to add it to this adult cozy mystery list, given that there are enough adult elements in each book to make them work for an audience that likes "clean reads". After Doodle flunks out of service school, he goes to work for Josh Hunter of Hunter Bed Bug Detection. Josh's ten-year-old daughter, Molly, is a junior sleuth who counts on Doodle for help. If you have kids or grandkids, this might be a fun share with them.

C. A. Larmer -- The Ghostwriter Mystery Series
A Note Before Dying #6
Roxy Parker is a gutsy ghostwriter who finds herself penning the life story of rock legend Jed Moody, but that effort is interrupted when he's electrocuted during a performance. The list of suspects is long -- could it be a rejected lover, a wife with an ax to grind, a fuming band mate, a publicist with secrets tucked out of sight, or "Sparkie Sam", the electrician who's caught Roxy's eye? He may have a cute Border Collie mix, but he sure doesn't have alibis, especially after the second murder.

Nancy Martin -- The Miss Ruffles Mystery Series
Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything #1
In the first book of a new series, Mule Stop, Texas heiress Honeybelle Hensley meets a suspicious end and her incorrigible dog is the beneficiary of her will. It's up to Sunny McKillip, reluctant dog sitter, to keep the Texas Cattle Cur pooch alive.

Margaret Mizsushima -- A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery
Killing Trail
Officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner investigate the murder of a young girl in the mountains of Colorado with the help of local vet and single father, Cole Walker. Could his daughter know something about the murder?

Ellen O'Connell -- A Dianne Brennan Mystery for Dog Lovers
Rottweiler Rescue #1
Best known for her Western romances, this author has a long history of Rottweiler rescue work and uses it for this popular dog tale. Dianne Brennan transports a Rottie to an adopter's home, only to discover a very dead body and the killer fleeing the scene. There's only one problem -- Dianne didn't actually get a good look at the guilty party. Once the murderer begins to stalk her, Dianne fears she won't be able to keep herself or her dogs safe, especially because she believes the investigators from the Sheriff's Office have set their sights on the wrong suspect.

Neil S. Plakcy -- The Golden Retriever Mystery Series
In Dog We Trust #1
The Kingdom of Dog #2
Dog Helps Those #3
Dog Bless You #4
Whom Dog Hath Joined #5
Dog Have Mercy #6
After a difficult divorce and a conviction for computer hacking, Steve Levitan needs to restart his life. He heads back to Stewart's Crossing, takes on a job as an adjunct professor at Eastern College, and makes friends with his next-door neighbor, Caroline Kelly. When she is murdered, Steve becomes temporary guardian for her Golden Retriever. That is the beginning of a successful sleuthing partnership between man and dog as the hunt for Caroline's killer comes together.

Spencer Quinn (AKA Peter Abrahams) -- The Chet and Bernie Mystery Series (The Bowser and Birdie Mystery Series is for kids)
Dog on It #1
Thereby Hangs a Tail #2
To Fetch a Thief #3
The Dog Who Knew Too Much #4
A Fist Full of Collars #5
The Sound and the Furry #6
Paw and Order #7
Scents and Sensibility #8
Told from the point of view of the furry sidekick, this popular humorous mystery series features the adventures of Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, and Chet, his clue-sniffing canine extraordinaire.

David Rosenfelt -- The Andy Carpenter Mystery Series
Open and Shut #1
First Degree #2
Bury the Lead #3
Sudden Death #4
Dead Center #5
Play Dead #6
New Tricks #7
Dog Tags #8
One Dog Night #9
Leader of the Pack #10
Unleashed #11
Hounded #12
Who Let the Dog Out #13
Outfoxed #14
With his Golden Retriever Tara, attorney Andy Carpenter rescues dogs and humans from Death Row and runs the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue organization, with his buddy, Willie Miller, when he's not investigating crime.

Jinx Schwartz -- The Hetta Coffey Mystery Series
Just Add Water #1
Single, sassy civil engineer Hetta Coffey decides it's time to set sail, despite her lack of experience on the water. Fed up with men, she prefers living with her adopted dog, the irrepressible R. J., joins the local yacht club, and gets herself into all kinds of trouble in this humorous cozy mystery

Working dogs need to keep busy, lest they get into trouble.
Nancy Jill Thames -- The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series
Murder in Half Moon Bay #1
The Ghost Orchid Murder #2
From the Clutches of Evil #3
The Mark of Eden #4
Pacific Beach #5
Waiting for Santa #6
The Ruby of Siam #7
The Long Trip Home #8
Murder at Mirror Lake #9
Murder at the Empress Hotel #10
Jillian Bradley and her tiny Yorkie clue-sniffing companion, Teddy, enjoy their ritual of proper afternoon tea while chasing down murderers and bringing criminals to justice.

Diane Vallere -- The Mad for Mod Mystery Series
Pillow Talk #1
That Touch of Ink #2
With Vics You Get Egg Roll #3
Interior decorator Madison Night and her Shih Tzu, Rock, find themselves up to their eyeballs in abductions, murder, and mayhem in this 3-book series.

Peggy Webb -- The Southern Cousins Mystery Series
Elvis and the Dearly Departed #1
Elvis and the Grateful Dead #2
Elvis and the Memphis Mambo Murders #3
Elvis and the Tropical Double Trouble #4
Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse #5
Jack Loves Callie Tender (prequel)
Elvis and the Bridegroom Stiffs #6
Elvis and the Buried Brides #7
Elvis and the Rock-a-Hula Baby Capers #8
Callie Valentine Jones and her bodacious cousin, Lovie, join forces with Elvis (he ain't nothin' but a hound dog -- no, really...that's what he is!) to solve cases at home in Tennessee and on the road, on the trail of corpses and criminals.

Tracy Weber -- The Downward Dog Mystery Series

Murder Strikes a Pose #1
A Killer Retreat #2
Karma's a Killer #3
Seattle yoga instructor Kate Davidson and her adopted German Shepard, Bella, join forces with friends in a 3-book series that starts when Bella's owner dies under suspicious circumstances and Kate believes he was murdered. Determined to uncover the truth, the persistent yoga instructor and her canine sidekick are on the hunt for the real killers.

Nina Wright -- The Whiskey Mattimoe Mystery Series
Whiskey on the Rocks #1
Whiskey Straight Up #2
Whiskey and Tonic #3
Whiskey and Water #4
Whiskey with a Twist #5
Whiskey and Soda #6
Whiskey, Large #7
In the first book of the series, widowed thirty-something realtor Whiskey Mattimoe runs head-long into crime in Magnet Springs, a small town on Lake Michigan, and some of it is at the paws of her purse-snatching Afghan hound, Abra. That's the start of a long sleuthing partnership between woman and dog, with some romance and several dead bodies thrown in for good measure.

Sue Owens Wright -- The Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series
Howling Bloody Murder #1
Sirius about Murder #2
Embarking on Murder #3
Braced for Murder #4
Elsie MacBean, AKA Beanie, a forty-something stringer for the Tahoe Times, and her Bassett Hound buddy, Cruiser, never expect to find a dead body on a hiking trail near Cave Rock, the sacred Washoe Indian site proposed as the perfect location for a new casino. Half-Washoe Beanie is caught in the middle of a hot fight between proponents of the casino and opponents. In subsequent tales, she and Cruiser tackle investigations of a strangled heiress who got into a fight at a doggie fundraiser, a trophy wife who asked for a divorce at Beanie's big 5-0 party, and a euthanized dog shelter worker who may have been targeted by an animal rights group.


  1. Mary Hiker - The Avery Barks Dog Mysteries
    #1 Butterfly Boy
    #2 Strange Outfit
    #3 Play Fetch
    #4 Underwater
    #5 Good Friends

  2. Thanks, Mary! I've added your books and your author site, so readers can connect. :)

  3. Thanks for including me!

    Add Susan Kroupa to the list, too--her Doodlebugged Mystery series is fabulous!
    #1 Bed-Bugged
    #2 Out-Sniffed
    #3 Dog-Nabbed
    #4 Bad-Mouthed

  4. As this is an adult cozy mystery list, I was hesitant to add a series that's appropriate for middle school readers. But I did my homework (groan) and found that a number of adults loved the series, loved the adult elements in the mysteries, loved Doodle's point of view, and even picked up some dog behavior insight in the stories. And that was before I read Susan's blog post about losing her daughter (I'm also The Practical Caregiver and often do what I can to advocate for cancer families.) Spot on, Susan. Thank you for bringing the Doodlebugged series and author to my attention.

    1. Sara, thanks so much for including my books. It made my day! As I mentioned on FB, I intentionally aimed the series at both middle-grade (the child protagonist) and adults who love gentle cozies. I will definitely look up The Practical Caregiver, too. Sounds like a wonderful site.

  5. Thank you so much for the great list. There are so many on the list that I love that I know I want try out the ones that I haven't. I too have had so many recommendations for Doodlebug that I bought it but haven't read it yet.

  6. Add Kathi Daley with zoe Donavan series with Charlie.

  7. Hi, I expected to see Waverly Curtis's series about Pepe the Chihuahua detective as well. Very enjoyable mysteries set in the Seattle area.

  8. What a nice list! Would you mind if I shared it with our local library? I'd like the second the suggestion to include Waverly Curtis's Pepe the Chihuahua series. Lots of fun.

  9. Please do, Susan. What I love most about the list is that is gives readers access to traditionally published authors and some respected Indies. I tried to make sure that the books are all still in print, because there is nothing more frustrating than finding out that a really great book is unobtainable. It's like telling someone about a really great fudge cake and then admitting you just ate the last piece. ;)