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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Peril at the Pawn Shop by Mel Faye is the first book in the A Walk in the Bark series. Annie has big dreams to open up a dog store, but for now, she works with dogs in whatever way she can - from puppy classes to dog walking to training. Then the local pawn shop owner George Appleby's death is ruled a suicide. Annie believes George was murdered, but the only way to find the truth is to prove it. So she digs deeper into George's life and, with her petsitting client Ralph at her side, takes up the investigation and is in for a surprising turn of events.
Mel Faye weaves a delightful cozy mystery perfect for every dog lover. At her core, Annie is a dog lover which is the first thing learned about her and this love is at the root of her dreams for the future. This love also puts her in contact with several delightful dogs that are met throughout the story with Ralph being a sweet companion and friend. Ralph's a little pug she's pet sitting and he takes up the position as her partner in crime. Faye gives the dogs personalities which differ but stay true to the attitudes of dogs, such as Geraldine who is a fearful Greyhound she trains. The personalities make these dogs into vivid characters just like any of the human ones. Annie has avoided returning to her childhood home but now is back home trying to start over after a break-up and quitting her job, so she's back where she grew up and trying to start a new chapter in her life. She just didn't realize that her new start would involve murder.
As with most mysteries, this revolves around a murder and Annie's determination to solve it. Annie sticks to what she believes which happens to be that George was murdered. She goes to great lengths to prove this to be true and this leads to several interesting moments. Faye encompasses everything beloved about cozy mysteries with a few added charms and a lot of dogs. The town has a quaint small-town vibe and even has the quirky name of Little Nectar. The town provides a great setting for Annie to encounter several townsfolk, each of which adds a spark to the story. Peril at the Pawn Shop is a delightful start to a cozy mystery series that will no doubt become a fast favorite for fans of the genre.