This promising mystery debut features a puzzling mystery, a cute King Charles spaniel and a sunny Los Angeles setting.

Only in L.A. would a place called the "Doggy Indulgence Day Resort" be considered normal. For lawyer Kendra Ballantyne, who has lost almost everything in a scandal, including her license to practice, the doggy spa offers a chance at employment.

Kendra's first dog-sitting job is for P.I. Jeff, who, when he makes rare appearances at home, heats up Kendra's romantic fantasies. Kendra finds herself needing Jeff's investigative skills when she finds a client murdered. As the most likely suspect, Kendra takes to sleuthing to save her own skin. Soon troubles past and present intersect in ways that could lead Kendra directly to jail, unless she can unmask the person who's out to steal her freedom, and maybe even her life.

The brisk momentum of this clever plot, coupled with a surprising conclusion, will satisfy even the most jaded armchair detective. (Jan., 295 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison