“A Biscuit, a Casket” by Liz Mugavero
I love animals, but not more than Stan (Kristan) Connor. Disillusioned by the corporate world, particularly after losing her job, Stan moves to Frog Ledge. Here, she starts her own business making wholesome, organic pet treats. She becomes a hit with the residents of the small town. Particularly with Jake, a bar owner Stan has her eye on.
She does more than just make treats for animals. Somehow, she gets roped into having parties for dogs and cats, complete with costumes. Setting up for a party on a dairy cow farm which is also hosting a haunted evening, corn maze and all, Stan is brought into something scarier than just pop-up ghosts and an eerie maze. The farm’s owner Hal Hoffman is found dead in the corn maze, stabbed with an old sickle.
Hal’s wife Emmalee is understandably upset. The neighbors and co-op members all pull together to help with the farm chores and to bring solace to Emmalee. Emmalee pleads with Stan to help with the books and accounting because Stan used to be in ‘finance.’ Not really, but close enough for this group. Great. Just what Stan wants. But she knows she should have neighborly spirit and agrees.
Stan can’t help herself and immerses herself into the murder investigation, much to the dismay of Jessie, Jake’s sister and trooper. But it’s not all fun and games. There’s a murderer out there and Stan lands right in the middle of the manure pile, literally. Then her mother, Patricia, unexpectedly shows up for a ‘visit,’ and Stan knows there’s more to Patricia’s appearance than what she’s saying. But Stan doesn’t have time to figure it out. She has to concentrate on her orders for pet treats, solving Hal’s murder, throwing animal parties, and hopefully dating Jake...and staying out of muck that she seems to keep falling into.
A laugh-out-loud and absolutely fun and quick read. Recommended!Reviewed by Starr Gardinier Reina, author of “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story”