Yappy Hour is a light, entertaining, dog-lovers’ murder mystery. Set in a quaint California coastal town, there are plenty of dogs, but the mystery solving stays firmly (and believably) in the hands of the humans.
When Maggie’s sister Rachel asks her to hold down the fort at Rachel’s bar, The Wine and Bark, Maggie hesitates only a moment. It’s not like Rachel to make a last minute request by text and Maggie’s unsure of her ability to handle the dogs who come to the Friday Yappy Hour. But how hard could it be?
Maggie’s good deed — and life in sunny resort-like Pacific Cove — take a dark turn when Maggie opens the bar door. She finds Yolanda, a Yappy Hour regular, standing over the dead body of Dan Walters, the manager of the restaurant next door (DelVecchio’s).
Maggie has just moved from New York City to Pacific Cove, where her sister and great-uncle Ernest live. A bad economy sunk her a career as a financial planner. She’s hoping to be hired as a purser for a cruise line has just opened a port of call at Pacific Cove.
With the murder, Maggie realizes how little she knows about Rachel’s life in Pacific Cove. Rachel’s friend Abigail mentions her disapproval of Rachel’s latest beau Chuck Hazelton. Someone at DelVicchio’s was complaining about the bar and its Friday Yappy Hours to the city and Alcohol Beverage Control.
Chef Gus DelVecchio is a neighbor of Rachel’s and disarms Maggie with his offer of a home-cooked dinner after the taxing day of the murder. Further clouding things is Maggie’s unwilling attraction to Officer Brad Brooks, who is investigating the murder. As much as Maggie is drawn to the hunky investigator, she’s so protective of Rachel that she withholds key pieces of information she finds.
There’s a lot going on in this novel that will keep you guessing about who did it until the very end. This is a perfect book for a lazy day at the beach or the pool. It’s cozy, but not cartoonish. It’s teasingly complex, but never gory.
Author Diana Orgain is a San Francisco native who fell in love with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Francisco State University. In addition to Yappy Hour, she has two mysteries series: Maternal Instincts and Love or Money.