Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery) by Heather Day Gilbert

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
(An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
by Heather Day Gilbert

About the Book

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (June 25, 2019)
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108841
ISBN-13: 978-1516108848
Digital ASIN: B07HVYQ9XZ

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .

Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . .

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Guest Post

Why Write a Cozy Mystery about Snakes?

by Heather Day Gilbert, author of Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been no friend to snakes. When I spot them in the yard (especially around the areas where my children play), they become a target that needs to be eliminated.

However, when I was brainstorming an idea for an unusual cozy mystery series, the thought of exotic pet-sitting popped into my head. More and more, people are getting into exotic pets, and since I was setting the series in the uber wealthy town of Greenwich, Connecticut, didn’t it make sense that residents like that would pay top dollar to make sure their exotic “babies” were well-tended?

Enter Belinda Blake, pet-sitter. One of the first titles I came up with for the series was “Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass,” so it made sense that she’d first be sitting a snake. But what kind of snake?

I did my online research, watched YouTube videos, and decided a ball python (which is a constrictor, but decidedly smaller than a boa constrictor) would be just the ticket. I still felt a little cringey when reading up on the care of these reptiles, but after seeing these relatively docile animals cozying up to owners—even sitting next to them, “watching” TV (check out my Pinterest board here for pics)—I started to lose some of my innate dislike of snakes.

I ran the snake scenes past my critique partner Becky Doughty, who just so happened to have been a missionary kid who had owned a pet BOA constrictor. She helped me figure out how to work the ball python into my mystery in believable ways.

I HAD thought about featuring a tarantula for book two in the series (hey, why not attack ALL our phobias in one series!?), but instead, I decided to feature wolves. Book Two, Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, is also available for preorder here

I truly hope readers enjoy walking with Belinda as she overcomes some of her snake fears with Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass. I’m not saying you have to run out and buy a snake or feel friendly toward all snakes, but maybe you won’t feel quite as horrified if you run into someone who owns a pet snake in the future.

About the Author

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Like Belinda Blake, Heather plays video games, although so far she hasn’t done any exotic pet-sitting or hunted any murderers. Find out more on

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