The Puppy Who Knew Too Much
by V.M. Burns
Chattanooga, Tennessee, is my hometown, and it is also the setting of V. M. Burns’ The Puppy Who Knew Too Much. Although I know Chattanooga has changed since I moved away from the South, this book became a trip down memory lane. There are many factual details that make the book more realistic—the scary winding roads leading up to beautiful and tony Lookout Mountain, interstate highways that ease traffic across the Scenic City, and greasy burgers and delicious shakes in East Ridge. Other aspects are altered but have a basis in truth, particularly the fictional Chattanooga Museum of Art, situated on the bluff overlooking the Tennessee River and backed by the Hopewell family. When I lived in Chattanooga, it was actually the Hunter Art Gallery. From there you can see the Walnut Street Bridge, now a pedestrian bridge, that I crossed every day in our family VW to attend school. Other authentic tips of the hat are extended to Moon Pies, Southern hospitality, and great weather (compared to the Midwest and Northeast). As well as providing me with an outlet for my nostalgia, all of these smile provoking memories are related to reassure the reader of the authenticity of the setting.
As to the other aspects of this cozy mystery, the plot is intricate with several murders and the strong possibility that the crimes are related. Lilly has recently moved to Chattanooga with her toy poodle, Aggie, to push the restart button on her life. Just a few moths prior, she was jailed for the murder of her philandering husband. She is convinced by her friend Dixie to relocate in Chattanooga, and she finds a temporary job as an accountant at the museum. Life becomes “interesting” for her quickly as she informally investigates a murder with the help of her lawyer daughter Stephanie and her friend Dixie. Along the way, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officer Red joins forces with the group and romance is on the horizon.
The best part of this book is the role of various dogs. There is a lot of information about dog training to be picked up by osmosis as Dixie is a dog trainer. The story features a K-9 officer and Aggie, a smart puppy desperately in need of training. There is also a rescued dog with a surprise involvement.
The Puppy Who Knew Too Much barks out: Welcome to the South, one that has moved along with the times, but has retained beautiful views, the friendliness it is famous for, as well as a slower pace of life!
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #2 in the Dog Club Mystery Series, but works quite well as a standalone.
Publication: February 12, 2019—Kensington Books (Lyrical Underground)
…she had the You poor pitiful thing look in her eyes that she always gave me before she said, “Bless your heart,” which I’d learned was Southern speak for You’re an idiot.
I always thought the Midwest was a relatively friendly area, but two weeks in Chattanooga showed me the South was on a totally different level of friendliness. Complete strangers talked to you.
“It’s a Southern thing. We’re always trying to feed people and get them married off.”
“Honey, you’re in the South. We believe in hugs.”