Odessa Dean has made a home of Brooklyn. She has a fun job waiting tables at Untapped Books & Café and a new friend, Izzy, to explore the city with. When she's invited on a girls' day out escape room adventure, she jumps at the chance. It's all fun and games until the lights come on and they discover one of the girls bludgeoned to death...
The only possible suspects are Odessa and the four other players that were locked in the escape room with the victim. She refuses to believe that one of them is responsible for the murder, despite what the clues indicate. In between shifts at the café, Odessa splits her time interviewing the murder suspects, updating the bookstore's social media accounts, and searching for the impossible--an affordable apartment in Brooklyn.
But crime--and criminally high rent--waits for no woman. Can Odessa clear her and Izzy’s names before the police decide they're guilty?
Pets in Cozy Mysteries
Cozy mysteries usually fall into a category such as food and drink, hobbies, or pets. My best fits food and drink, since both and revolve around Untapped Books & Café in Williamsburg, where waitress—and amateur sleuth—Odessa Dean serves artisanal dishes and craft beer.
However, pets play a huge part in the . Huckleberry, who looks “like a cross between a golden retriever and a couch cushion that had been left out in the rain,” is the resident shop dog at Untapped. Always underfoot, he has a critical role in solving the mysteries. Rufus the cat is why Odessa is in Brooklyn, or at least he’s the excuse her aunt uses to convince her to leave Louisiana. He causes his share of trouble, but is always around when Odessa needs a friend.
As you might have guessed by now, I love animals. I’ve had dogs, cats, lizards, ferrets, birds, fish, pet rats, hamsters, and even a wolf. At one time, between me and roomies, my household consisted of three dogs, a cat, several kittens, ten ratties, a couple fish tanks, an iguana, and a hedgehog. One of my first jobs was working at a zoo, where I was an animal ambassador—the person who carried small primates and enormous snakes around to meet with visitors, and I got to spend my free time making friends with gorillas and giraffes. I’ve always had a dog in my life and am currently claimed by an adorable rescue puggle called .
Because of my—can we be honest and call it an obsession?—with animals, I’m drawn to cozies that feature pets. No discussion about cozy mysteries or pets can be complete without mention of Sassy Cat Mysteries and Oliver, the chatty corgi, from Jennifer Hawkins’s .… Series by Lilian Jackson Braun, but my enthusiasm doesn’t end there. Mia P. Manansala’s features an adorable dachshund named Longganisa, who is so cute that I had to crochet my interpretation of the little sausage dog to gift the author, and now she is often spotted on Mia’s Instagram . I also adore talking pets, like the Persian cat, Marshmallow, from Jennifer J. Chow’s
Whatever animals you’re a fan of, you’re bound to find a cozy to read with your favorite furred, scaled, or feathered friend. I especially love cats in cozies, because I’m not allergic to them in books! Kate Lansing’s Colorado Wine Mysteries feature multiple cats from Parker’s cat, Zin (short for Zinfandel, of course), to Madeline the lodge cat in her latest novel, . Laurie Cass’s have Eddie, the crafty rescue cat. Dorothy St. James’s Beloved Bookroom Mysteries always include what is, in my opinion, the most cleverly named cat in cozies—Dewey Decimal.
Do you have a favorite cozy mystery series with a central pet?
~ Olivia Blacke
About Olivia Blacke
author Olivia Blacke writes quirky, unconventional, character-driven Cozy Mysteries. After shuffling around the U.S.A. from Hawaii to Maine, she currently resides with her husband and their roly-poly rescue puggle, but is forever homesick for NYC. In addition to writing, disappearing into a good book, and spending way too much time on social media, she enjoys SCUBA diving, crocheting, collecting tattoos, and baking dog cookies.