Bark If It’s Murder (A Dog Club Mystery) by V.M. Burns

Bark If It’s Murder
(A Dog Club Mystery)
by V.M. Burns

About Bark If It’s Murder 

Bark If It’s Murder (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (August 27, 2019)
Paperback: 162 pages
ISBN-10: 1516107926
ISBN-13: 978-1516107926
Digital ASIN: B07L2G3DJ1

Lilly Echosby just witnessed a murder on a pet cam. Or did she?

When a last-minute opportunity arises to accompany her boss to an art auction in Atlanta, Lilly throws some money at the problem of where to board her toy poodle Aggie (short for Agatha Christie). Posh Pet Haven offers the most luxurious canine accommodations in all of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The place even provides pet cams so anxious owners can check in on their pampered pooches.

But when Lilly tries to take a peek at her poodle, she gets a terrible shock—she witnesses what she’s sure is a murder. She thinks the victim may be the wealthy co-owner of Pet Haven. The police follow her lead but find no body, no evidence of a crime, and no video record. Starting to feel like the dog owner who cried wolf, Lilly decides to go undercover to catch a killer who may be hiding in plain sight …

Guest post

A Recipe for a Cozy

Sometimes it seems like cozy mysteries are the red headed step children of the mystery genre. Admitting to enjoying cozy mysteries is akin to admitting you still enjoy watching cartoons or Disney movies as an adult. Standing up in public and boldly proclaiming to the world that you not only enjoy reading cozies, but you write them will garner a stare and a frozen smile. This is about five seconds before you’re asked, what is a cozy mystery? Why are cozies looked down on? To understand, you need to first understand what ingredients go into making a cozy mystery unique.

Cozies are mysteries with a few distinct features. They typically feature an amateur sleuth (most often a female) solving a mystery. This person is just an average Jane Doe—no one special, and are often from a small town or community. The amateur sleuth isn’t a trained law enforcement expert. They aren’t getting paid to solve the murder nor are do they possess any special knowledge or skills specific to investigating. The idea is to show that anybody can solve a mystery if placed in the right situation. Retired English teacher, Jessica Fletcher, is a perfect example. The average-ness of the sleuth often lends itself to themes, which are also popular in cozy mysteries. Have a neighbor who’s an avid gardener? A relative who loves to bake? Or, a friend who quilts or knits? Perfect. Readers can not only work along with the sleuth to figure out the murderer, but they can also pick up recipes while they’re at it.

Another distinct feature of cozy mysteries is that they cannot have explicit sex, graphic violence or bad language. A murder mystery without graphic violence? Yes, that’s the idea. The amateur stumbles across a dead body, but the reader doesn’t get the gory details. The important thing in a cozy isn’t the HOW, but the WHO, or the WHODUNIT. The reader needs to follow the clues and find the killer.  

Cozies are often humorous, which is probably one reason they aren’t taken seriously. Amateurs make mistakes and often find themselves in tricky situations. An untrained amateur sleuth who enjoys baking cookies, trying to solve a murder sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at least a setup for a good joke. Cozy mysteries rarely disappoint when it comes to capturing the humor of a situation. 

The ingredients that make a cozy mystery…well, cozy are most likely the same things that contribute to cozies not being taken seriously, even within the mystery community. Take a nosy neighbor with a passion for gardening, who digs up a dead body. Throw in a bumbling detective who believes our gardener is the guilty party and a wacky side-kick, determined to help figure out whodunit, and you’ve got a cozy mystery. But, don’t be deceived. Just because a mystery is “cozy” doesn’t mean it can’t be well-crafted, suspenseful and thrilling. Cozies provide all of that, plus a good laugh and if you’re lucky, a great recipe for chocolate chip cookies.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at

Author Links:



Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble  – Kobo


August 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 27 – Mythical Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 27 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW


August 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 29 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

August 30 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

August 30 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

August 31 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

August 31 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

September 1 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW*

September 1 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 2 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

September 3 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

September 3 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 4 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

September 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

September 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT