The best mysteries to curl up with if you like sleuths who love their dogs

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t remember a moment in my life when there wasn’t a dog in it.  They are members of my family, and I identify with protagonists who have the same connection in their lives. In my day job, I write mysteries and forecast geopolitical events. Mysteries with dogs help me balance the darkness in the world with the sheer delight that can be found with a dog.

I wrote...

Evil Alice and the Borzoi

By DK Coutant,

Book cover of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

What is my book about?

Cleo Cooper, a psychology professor, is living the dream on the Big Island of Hawaii. With ocean-dipping weekends, she enjoys her dog, her job, and her boyfriend Ben - until the day she’s on a research vessel, and a dead body is caught in the dragline. The police determine it is murder and set their sights on a gentle former student, Kai. It doesn’t take much urging from Kai’s auntie for Cleo to investigate. But Ben grows distant, and Cleo’s dog grows ill. A couple of accidental deaths later, someone makes an attempt on her life.

What happened to Cleo’s life in paradise? Can she discover the true killer? Can she stop the killer before the killer stops her?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Fields' Guide to Dirty Money

DK Coutant Why did I love this book?

I love this entire series, but the first one is where Poppy meets Consuela (her Chihuahua with attitude). One of my favorite micro-genres, the funny-cozy-romantic-spy mystery, Poppy Fields is a poor little rich girl. But what redeems her for me, is her drive to do something important in the world. I found it impossible not to fall for her and her bossy Chihuahua. And the communication connection between Poppy and Consuela is one we all hope to have with our dogs. Consuela yaps and Poppy understands her. Not to mention, Poppy couldn’t ask for a better partner in solving crime. 

By Julie Mulhern,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fields' Guide to Dirty Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Poppy Fields, social influencer and secret spy, is on Grand Cayman. Her mission? Maid of honor at her mother’s wedding to Russian billionaire Yurgi Prokorhov. No surprise, Chariss Carlton is a difficult and demanding bride.

When Poppy witnesses a murder, her days change from irritating to dangerous. She and her partner Thor (real name Mark Stone—but a dead-ringer for a Norse god) are tasked with catching a killer and shuttering a billion dollar money laundering scheme.

Between bombs, bridal showers, high-speed car chases, a missing wedding planner, and a femme fatale with her eye on Thor, it will be a…

Book cover of Them Bones

DK Coutant Why did I love this book?

I always like to start a series from the beginning, and in this one, little 6-lb Chablis (a dog) plays a critical role in the plot. A wannabe New York actress, Sarah Boothe Delaney, returns to her family home sans the family with her tail between her legs. She has money trouble, man trouble, and ghost trouble. She begins the story disgusted with Chablis but quickly falls in love with her friend’s pup.

It is a cozy mystery with just a hint of paranormal added. The writing is lovely, and the author includes a range of appealing and diverse characters. And if you are a large dog fan, a hound dog named Sweetie Pie joins the team in a later book. 

By Carolyn Haines,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Them Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Sarah Booth Delaney, an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi . . . if it doesn't make her the deadest.

No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state—or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to…

Book cover of A Borrowing of Bones

DK Coutant Why did I love this book?

This traditional mystery series features Mercy Carr, a war veteran, and Elvis, her dog, a 5-year-old Malinois who suffers from canine PTSD after his service as a military dog. They are a sympathetic and endearing team as they help each other recover from their losses.

I learned a lot about the recovery process of military trainers and military dogs after trauma. I’m so glad there are people with the know-how and patience who will care for these canine heroes. Game Warden Troy Warner and his Newfy-mix, Susie Bear, are a light-hearted counterweight to the sadness of Mercy and Elvis. This book also earned bonus points for big dogs (which I love) as characters. 

By Paula Munier,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Borrowing of Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It may be the Fourth of July weekend, but for retired soldiers Mercy Carr and Belgian Malinois Elvis, it's just another walk in the remote Lye Brook Wilderness - until the former bomb-sniffing dog alerts to explosives and they find a squalling baby abandoned near a shallow grave filled with what appear to be human bones. U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his search and rescue Newfoundland Susie Bear respond to Mercy's 911 call, and the four must work together to track down a missing mother, solve a cold-case murder, and keep the citizens of Vermont safe on potentially the…

Book cover of Stalking Ground

DK Coutant Why did I love this book?

Mattie and Robo (a German Shepard) are part of a K9-Police Unit. Although they don’t bicker on stakeouts, in every other way, they live and work as a team. I  learned about the nitty gritty details (Kevlar protection for dogs!) that these teams need. And how much risk and what a critical role police dogs play when hunting a dangerous fugitive or searching for lost persons.

Also intriguing is that while not an amateur sleuth, Mattie is not a “detective” in the traditional sense of the word. Her primary responsibility is Robo.  And while Robo is a super-star in the K-9 Police world, even he had limitations. This is a great series about working dogs and their relationships with their handlers. 

By Margaret Mizushima,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stalking Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A taut page-turner on multiple levels.” —Booklist
“Dog lovers will want to read this thriller.” —Library Journal

In this follow-up to Killing Trail, a murder investigation takes Mattie Cobb and her canine partner to the Colorado mountains—where the brutal winter landscape conceals an equally brutal killer.

When Deputy Ken Brody’s sweetheart goes missing in the mountains outside Timber Creek, Mattie Cobb and Robo are called to search. But it’s mid-October and a dark snow storm is brewing over the high country—and they’re already too late. By the time they find her body, the storm has broken and the snow is…

Book cover of Dog On It

DK Coutant Why did I love this book?

Now for something completely different but wonderful all the same. The POV is from Chet, the dog, rather than his partner, amateur detective Bernie. Who is a pretty good guy, according to Chet. The author captures the motivations and attention span of a happy, healthy companion dog.

Seeing human interactions and a mystery unfold from a dog’s eyes is a whole different experience and one I recommend. Chet is as lovable as they come, and Bernie’s acceptance of Chet’s ahhh, excentricities, is something I could identify with. This is a mystery, so there are some dark moments that remind me of how vulnerable our beloved dogs are when they are out in the world without us. For me, that was scarier than most thrillers I’ve read. 

By Spencer Quinn,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Dog On It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book of the New York Times bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series, an “enchanting one-of-a-kind novel” (Stephen King) that is “nothing short of masterful” (Los Angeles Times).

Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. This well-behaved and gifted student may or may not have been kidnapped, but she has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. With Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way, their hunt for clues takes them…

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Book cover of The Spanish Diplomat's Secret

Nev March Author Of The Spanish Diplomat's Secret

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author History lover Scriptwriter Reader Nature lover

Nev's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

An entertaining mystery on a 1894 trans-Atlantic steamship with an varied array of suspects, and a detective who must solve his case in six days to prevent international conflict.

Retired from the British Indian army, Captain Jim is taking his wife Diana to Liverpool from New York, when their pleasant cruise turns deadly. Just hours after meeting him, a foreign diplomat is brutally murdered onboard their ship. Captain Jim must find the killer before they dock in six days, or there could be war! Aboard the beleaguered luxury liner are a thousand suspects, but no witnesses to the locked-cabin crime.

Fortunately, his wife Diana knows her way around first-class accommodations and Gilded Age society. But something has been troubling her, too, something she won’t tell him. Together, using tricks gleaned from their favorite fictional sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Jim, and Diana must learn why one man’s life came to a murderous end.

By Nev March,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spanish Diplomat's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Spanish Diplomat's Secret, award-winning author Nev March explores the vivid nineteenth-century world of the transatlantic voyage, one passenger’s secret at a time.

Captain Jim Agnihotri and his wife Lady Diana Framji are embarking to England in the summer of 1894. Jim is hopeful the cruise will help Diana open up to him. Something is troubling her, and Jim is concerned.

On their first evening, Jim meets an intriguing Spaniard, a fellow soldier with whom he finds an instant kinship. But within twenty-four hours, Don Juan Nepomuceno is murdered, his body discovered shortly after he asks rather urgently to…

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