cover image Purebred Dead

Purebred Dead

Kathleen Delaney. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8501-2

Dog-loving cozy fans will welcome Delaney’s series launch, an extension of her Ellie McKenzie series (Dying for a Change, etc.) featuring Ellie’s good-natured, high-energy aunt, Mary McGill, a retired schoolteacher in Santa Louisa, Calif. Mary starts poking into the business of show breeding after two children glimpse a tall man in robes fleeing the final inn of the town’s Christmas pageant, leaving behind in the manger the bloodstained body of Cliff Mathews, discredited and error-prone alcoholic former vet, and an adorable black-and-white cocker spaniel puppy. A look at Cliff’s diary and a second stabbing, this time of a beloved local pet store owner, show Mary and her police chief nephew-in-law, Dan Dunham, that the motivation for Cliff’s murder may go beyond old grudges. Neither fearful nor reckless, Mary investigates mostly because she’s already involved in everything in town. Christmas cheer, puppies, and cute, resourceful children add to the fun. (Aug.)