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CoffeeTown Press (November 2013)
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ONE DOG TOO MANY

A Mae December Mystery

by Farrell, Lia

This cozy mystery series is set in Tennessee and features kennel owner and dog whisperer, Mae December, along with a cast of interesting and engaging characters.

Book 1, ONE DOG TOO MANY, was published in November 2013; Book 2, TWO DOGS LIE SLEEPING, was published in June 2014; Book 3, THREE DOG DAY, was published in December 2014; Book 4, FOR DOG'S SAKE was published in December 2015; Book 5, FIVE DOG VOODOO, was published in November 2016; and Book 6, SIX DOG NIGHT, is tentatively scheduled for publication in December 2017.

Book 1, ONE DOG TOO MANY:
Mae December runs a successful dog boarding business in Tennessee. When her neighbor, Ruby Mead-Allison, fails to pick up her unruly Pomeranian from Mae's kennel, Mae pokes around and discovers the woman's body. It is clad in one red boot, and there is a vehicle counting cord wrapped around its neck. While delving into the mystery of Ruby's death, Mae encounters handsome Sheriff Ben Bradley. Together they find no shortage of suspects. Ruby was standing in the way of a project that would widen the road and make the area safer. Was she killed by an angry neighbor? Her estranged husband? Her disinherited brother? The sheriff may not appreciate Mae's amateur detecting, but he does respond to her as a woman. Meanwhile the murderer thinks it's time to put a permanent stop to Mae's meddling.

Book 2, TWO DOGS LIE SLEEPING:
It's early August in Rosedale, Tennessee, and July December Powell is alone at the historic Booth Mansion, putting the finishing touches on the Showhouse room she designed for tomorrow's grand opening. A loud noise draws her to the nursery, where a man lies dying. Not just any man, but Tom Ferris, the love of her life, who she hasn't seen since he disappeared with no explanation some fifteen years earlier. Who shot Tom in the back? What drove him away in the first place and made him stay away, even after his parents were killed in a car accident? What was he trying to tell July with his last breath? The gossip mill is in high gear in the small town of Rosedale, and July is the sister of Mae, a dog breeder and kennel owner who happens to be dating the sheriff, Ben Bradley. Ben's close relationship with the December family has thrown a wrench in his investigation, forcing him to rely on Detective Wayne Nichols, his deputies, and his office manager Dory to do most of the legwork. Meanwhile July's marriage is imploding, and Mae already has too much to deal with—including a new corgi puppy and Ben's four-year-old son. Mae is torn between loyalty to her boyfriend and her sister as she does her darndest to get the bottom of a case that just seems to involve more and more of their friends and neighbors.

Book 3, THREE DOG DAY:
It's bitter cold in Rosedale, Tennessee, the most frigid January in decades. The kind of chill they used to describe as requiring sleeping with three dogs just to make it through the night. Mae December has found yet another body, this one on the banks of the Little Harpeth River. It's another murder for her boyfriend, Sheriff Ben Bradley, to investigate. Only Mae's broken her wrist, which makes helping out with the case difficult. That's okay, because the murdered man was found near a puppy mill, and all evidence points to the owner as the killer. Surely the case will be a slam dunk. Mae's injury also hampers her ability to run her dog boarding business and care for the three pit bull puppies she's fostering, so she hires Ray Fenton, the kid who blew the whistle on the now-shuttered puppy mill. Meanwhile, Sheriff Bradley's office manager, Dory Clarkson, struggles to pass the physical tests that will allow her to fulfill her dream of becoming a deputy, Mae and her friend Tammy are busy planning Tammy's Valentine's Day wedding to the brother of Mae's deceased fiancé, and Detective Wayne Nichols must revisit his painful past as he fights to free his foster mother from prison. Rosedale is the last place you'd expect to harbor a killer. Now the sheriff's department must solve its third murder in a year.

Book 4, FOR DOG'S SAKE:
On a hot, humid July 4th evening in Rosedale, Tennessee, a young man is dead on arrival at the hospital where Dr. Lucy Ingram works. Lucy recalls the affable young man, Chester Willis, from an earlier visit. The death is pronounced a suicide from an overdose of the insulin used to treat his diabetes, but Lucy isn't convinced. The man just wasn't the suicidal type. She pushes for another autopsy, and they find an injection site proving that someone else administered the deadly dose. Later in the week his ailing father dies as well. Now there is the matter of the father's will. Who stood to benefit if Chester was taken out of the equation? The easy answer is Chester's brother Rick, who is in debt and has an expensive fiancée. Then there's Brooke, the struggling massage therapist the old man befriended. The will has made her a wealthy woman. Sheriff Ben Bradley and Lucy's boyfriend Chief Detective Wayne Nichols are on the case, along with newly appointed investigator Dory, Ben's girlfriend Mae December, and the rest of Ben's office staff. Soon they must accept that there will be no easy answers. The heat has tempers flaring, and Wayne, Ben, and Mae are distracted: Wayne by his changing relationship with Lucy and by having to cope with dark episodes from both their pasts, Ben and Mae by his reelection campaign and the couple's upcoming wedding. Then there is Cupcake, the new basset hound puppy owned by Ben's son Matthew, who becomes the fourth canine to take up permanent residence at Mae's house.

Book 5, FIVE DOG VOODOO:
As Halloween approaches, engaged couple Mae December and Sheriff Ben Bradley have devoted all their energy to Ben's campaign for reelection as sheriff of Rose County, Tennessee. The race is already too close to call when the sheriff's office is hit with yet another maddeningly tricky murder case. In recent years the town of Rosedale has had more than its fair share of murders, a fact Ben's smarmy opponent is all too eager to exploit. Investigator Dory Clarkson and her friend, Counselor Evangeline Bon Temps, are visiting the mysterious Voodoo village when a resident tells them her granddaughter, Zoé Canja, is missing. Her dog, a Weimaraner nursing four pups, escapes the house and finds the young woman's body in a shallow grave. Evangeline becomes Sheriff Ben Bradley's unofficial consultant because her grandmother in Haiti and later her mother in New Orleans practiced Voodoo. A threatening symbol is left on the pavement by Dory's front door, effectively banning her from the case. Evangeline and the sheriff's office ask too many questions, and Evangeline soon wears out her welcome. Voodoo curses aside, Ben's job is at stake, and no one associated with the case is safe until the killer is found.

Book 6, SIX DOG NIGHT:
Noah West's accidental death is re-investigated. Questions about Noah's death were raised in several previous books in the series. Ben Bradley, now Mae's husband, and his Chief Detective, Wayne Nichols, have both speculated from time to time as to whether Mae's former fiancé, Noah, died accidentally or was killed. A man implicated in the cover-up of the dog fighting ring in Three Dog Day, (Vince Harper) was always on police radar for the death. He was a hanger-on in Noah's circle and appears in photos at the recording studio. He was suspected of stalking Mae. It was Vince's brother who purchased Noah's car at a police auction. Mae located Noah's car in Jerrod Harper's garage (in book 3), the site of the dog fighting ring. Vince may also be the person who calls Mae late at night with vaguely worded threats, but he's presently incarcerated and maintains a stony silence when questioned or requests that his lawyer be present. Wayne Nichols agrees to visit the garage that did the police work on Noah's car. Mae is asked to do an “Audio Line-up” and readily identifies Vince as the voice that said, “You should have waited for me after Noah died.” Mae is pregnant and busy raising Ben's son, Matty. She is pretty sure Vince Harper somehow caused Noah's death but is frightened of re-opening old wounds. Sheriff Ben Bradley is not. Solving this crime will take every ounce of Bradley's determination and skill and maybe a bit of assistance from his pretty pregnant wife.

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