Pets in Cozies — Vinyl Resting Place, the latest by Olivia Blacke
Author Guest Post + Book & Author info + Author Pet Corner!
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Vinyl Resting Place — And Pets in Cozies!
Vinyl Resting Place blends murder, music, and macchiatos in a delightful cozy mystery.
When Juni Jessup returns to her small Texas hometown, she and her sisters put all their beans in one basket to open Sip & Spin Records, the ideal place to enjoy musically-themed coffees like Espresso Yourself while listening to great music and town gossip, until – record scratch! – a body deader than disco falls out of the supply closet during the grand opening.
Family is everything to the Jessup sisters, so when their off-beat uncle is arrested, they’ll do anything to help, including putting Sip & Spin Records up for collateral. Unable to face the music, Uncle Calvin takes off, leaving the future of the shop in peril. Can Juni and her sisters catch the real killer before the trail – and the coffee – goes cold?
To purchase Vinyl Resting Place, click on the following links: Amazon, B&N & IndieBound. Click here for additional sellers.
“A charming cozy for a new generation of mystery readers . . . Vinyl Resting Place is a delight!” –Elle Cosimano, USA Today bestselling author of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
“Vinyl Resting Place is bolstered by the sisters’ genuine bond, colorful personalities, and not-so-gentle conflicts. It’s a winning combination.” –New York Times Book Review
Pets In Cozies
By Olivia Blacke
If you’re anything like me, you love pets. Not just your pets and your friends’ pets, but every pet you meet. If you’re also a cozy mystery aficionado, then you’re in luck, because most cozies are chock full of adorable fuzzy (and sometimes scaly or feathered) pets! So instead of talking about some of my favorite cozies, I want to talk about some of my favorite cozy pets.
Wait a second, what’s a cozy you ask? A cozy is the lighter side of murder mysteries. Usually set in a tight-knit community, cozies have two distinct traits. First, they’re rated PG-13—no graphic violence, gore, or other “adult” situations or language. Second, there’s a hook—a central theme revolving around what the amateur sleuth does when they’re not hot on the trail of a murderer. Even when the hook isn’t specifically animal-related, there’s often a pet involved. For example, Diane Kelly has two ongoing series (The Mountain Lodge Mysteries, starting with Getaway With Murder and the Southern Homebrew Mysteries, beginning with The Moonshine Shack Murder) that prominently feature cats.
In Vinyl Resting Place, my new cozy, Juni Jessups and her sisters own a record shop-slash-coffee bar called Sip & Spin, so the hook is music (with a shot of espresso). When the sisters were getting the shop ready for customers, a stray cat named Daffodil (or Daffy for short) moved in and made himself at home. Daffy is a big orange and white cat that resembles a giant plush candy corn. He’s affectionate (and sometimes demanding, as cats can be) to the sisters but wary of strangers. In addition to keeping Juni company when she’s alone in the shop, he has a knack for helping find clues. Daffy’s also featured prominently on the cover, because he really is the bestest kitty.
In the Colorado Wine Mysteries by Kate Lansing, starting with Killer Chardonnay, wine maker Parker Valentine also has a wonderful cat named Zin (short for Zinfandel, of course. What else would a self-respecting wine maker name her cat?) But the feline hijinks don’t end there! As the series progresses, readers are introduced to more adorable cats. Even when Parker goes on vacation in Mulled To Death and has to leave Zin at home, she manages to befriend a very mischievous kitty.
Not every pet in cozies is a cat. There are some spectacular pups, too! Oliver is introduced to us in To Fetch a Felon, the first in the Chatty Corgi Mystery Series by Jennifer Hawkins. Oliver is a very special corgi, indeed. In addition to loving scones and living it up in an idyllic village in Cornwall, Olivier can “talk” to tea shop owner-slash-amateur sleuth Emma Reed. This talent comes in very handy, because who better to sniff out clues than an adorable talking corgi?
Speaking of pets that can talk, Marshmallow, the Persian cat in Jennifer J. Chow’s Sassy Cat Mystery Series (beginning with Mimi Lee Gets a Clue) is able to help pet-groomer Mimi Lee solve murders that stymie the local cops. Marshmallow can not only eavesdrop on suspects, but he can also communicate with other pets and bring even more information to the investigation. And while we’re on the subject of Mimi Lee, she runs a pet salon called Hollywoof in L.A. How cute is that?
I’m not saying that I’m obsessed with Longganisa, Lila Macapagal’s Dachshund in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mysteries, but when she was first introduced in Mia P. Manansala’s Arsenic and Adobo, I felt compelled to crochet a copy of her. Okay, maybe I’m a little obsessed. But can you blame me for falling in love with a sassy sausage dog named after a Filipino sausage? Longganisa doesn’t talk, but she helps Lila stay in shape with long jogs, and on occasion, even helps her find a dead body or two.
Like Daffy in Vinyl Resting Place, in the Beloved Bookroom Mystery Series by Dorothy St. James (starting with The Broken Spine) librarian-turned-sleuth Tru Beckett’s cat started out as a stray. We don’t know much about the aptly named Dewey Decimal’s life before he adopted Tru, but in true cozy mystery companion fashion, he’s got a patch of fur in the shape of a skull. Dewey also has a hidden talent—he’s a matchmaker!
One of the things I love the most about Zoe, the dog in Misha Popp’s not-quite-cozy Pies Before Guys Mysteries, is that she’s a rescue pit bull. In Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies, people think that Zoe must be fierce or mean because pit bulls have a bad reputation. But in reality, Zoe’s a sweetie-pie (pun intended). It’s her pie-baking mommy, Daisy Ellery, that people should keep an eye on, but by the time they figure that out, it’s already too late.
There are so many wonderful cozies to choose from, and many of them feature wonderful pets. Whether they’re companions or sleuthing partners, they all add a special spark to the mystery. From Koko and Yum Yum in Lilian Jackson Braun’s classic The Cat Who… series to Camo the kitten in Raquel V. Reyes’s Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series (beginning with Mango, Mambo, and Murder), I personally hope that cozies continue to feature fantastic pets!
Elena agrees 100 percent! Great to have you visit on my blog.
Author Pet Corner!
I’m fortunate to have a derpy little puggle named Baileycakes in my life. What’s a puggle? She’s ½ pug, ½ beagle, and all snuggles. She has a special place in my heart (and apparently has a special place on the couch, formerly known as *my* place on the couch). She’s a little dog with a big attitude who often makes appearances on my video calls and virtual events because she loves attention.
Baileycakes is a rescue puggle. Although she was bred as a “designer” dog, someone dumped her in a parking lot where she was found by a good human and taken to a shelter. Baileycakes would love to remind everyone to chip and spay/neuter their pets, and to adopt, not shop!
Her favorite things are bacon, cuddles, bacon, getting the zoomies, bacon, doing circus-level acrobats (she once scaled a bookshelf to get a stuffie she wanted), bacon, sleeping under the covers, and bacon.
OLIVIA BLACKE (she/her), author of the Record Shop Mysteries, beginning with Vinyl Resting Place, and the Brooklyn Murder Mysteries (Killer Content and No Memes of Escape), finally found a way to put her Criminology degree to good use by writing quirky, unconventional, character-driven cozy mysteries.
Olivia is a little nerdy, a lot awkward, and just the right amount of weird. She is a recovering ex-Texan who resides with her husband Potassium and Baileycakes, their roly-poly rescue puggle.
When not writing, reading, or spending way too much time on social media, Olivia enjoys Amigurumi crochet, scuba diving, collecting tattoos, watching hockey, and baking dog cookies. She wants to be a unicorn when she grows up.
Connect with Olivia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or check out her website OliviaBlacke.com.
Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery
The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook.
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