Rita Mae Brown takes murder mystery to the dogs

Murder is going to the dogs in mysteries lately, and one of the most recent releases proves that a smart pet can be a great ally when it comes to solving crimes.

Best-selling author Rita Mae Brown is known for her cat-centric series featuring Mrs. Murphy, a cat with uncanny sleuthing skills, but Brown has a new series that features an equally intelligent little dachshund named Baxter, who helps out his owner whenever trouble arises.

In the second book of the series, “Murder Unleashed,” Baxter and his owner, Mags Rogers, are still settling into ranch-style living outside Reno with Mag’s great-aunt Jeep and her German shepherd, King. They are asked to help with a community outreach program aiding a group of homeless moms and their kids who are squatting in foreclosed homes. Mags and Jeep decide to lend a hand, even if it means fighting all those who would rather see the program, and the people, disappear.

When a former banker is found dead in one of the abandoned homes, it becomes up to Mags, with a little help from Baxter and King and their canine buddies, to figure out who is behind the violence taking place in the Red Rock Valley.

Brown once again delivers an exciting, slightly off-kilter mystery that will have readers entranced until the howling end. I love how she incorporates the animals and their particular way of thinking into the story, and the line drawings that accompany the text are delightful.

Full of fast-moving action, a healthy dose of humor and well-written intrigue, “Murder Unleashed” is sure to satisfy both mystery and animal lovers.