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Downward Dog Mystery #1

Murder Strikes a Pose

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Yoga instructor Kate Davidson tries to live up to yoga's Zen-like expectations, but it's not easy while struggling to keep her small business afloat or dodging her best friend's matchmaking efforts.

When George, a homeless alcoholic, and his loud, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, start hawking newspapers outside her studio, Kate attempts to convince them to leave. Instead, the three strike up an unlikely friendship.

Then Kate finds George's dead body. The police dismiss it as a drug-related street crime, but Kate knows he was no drug dealer. Now she must solve George's murder and find someone willing to adopt his intimidating companion before Bella is sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer on her trail, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

288 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Tracy Weber

7 books548 followers
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel. The fourth book in her series, A Fatal Twist, will released January, 2017 by Midnight Ink.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their precocious German shepherd puppy, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

Sign up for her monthly newsletter including mystery recommendations, yoga tips, and series news at http://tracyweberauthor.com/newslette....

Tracy loves connecting with readers! Feel free to visit her at TracyWeberAuthor.com, friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracywe, or e-mail her at Tracy@TracyWeber.net.

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5 stars
216 (23%)
4 stars
316 (34%)
3 stars
253 (27%)
2 stars
95 (10%)
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29 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 263 reviews
Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews721 followers
December 27, 2016
I don't want to dwell deep in this review. My aim here is not to warn people not to read this average book, since I know that there are fans of such fare, and they will read the book regardless of what I have to say. I wrote this review simply to keep track of my books read and my thoughts.

One problem with this story is the decision made by the author to make the heroine, Kate Davidson, very nice, balanced, healthy, calm, intuitive, if not merely determined. The author tried at least. Many of us hold the belief that fictional heroes are usually much more perfect than ordinary real humans. I think that the author does not know how to write a nice person's character. She had to follow the much followed route of making her heroine fiercely independent, and headstrong. In doing so she muddied the waters. The author has not been able to get inside the head of a good person. She herself might have some personality flaws. That has had a direct bearing on her book.

The troubles that Kate has to face were weirdly avoidable. E.g making an adversary of Tali with a stupid line of inquiry. Taking Bella everywhere despite knowing her problem. Breaking up with Micheal. I can't believe after all that that the writer would make Kate cower before the fury of Alicia, a friend and a cancer patient. Also I don't know even now how had Kate solved to mystery. There was no proof, there were no clues. I also think that this is the first mystery I've read that uses the word 'alibi' less than five times. So my purpose is now done, I needed the catharsis that writing this review has given me. So yeah, the one star is less for the awfulness of the book and more for the laziness of the author.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Emmalynn.
1,297 reviews14 followers
May 7, 2023
Huh.. I struggled between a 2.5 and 3 stars on this one because Kate is do unlikeable at times, then the author tries to pull you in with the knowledge that she’s suffering from some grief and depression over the death of her father and then George, but Kate is just down right mean to people. She’s deceptive, rude, all contrary to what she allegedly preaches and practices as a yogi. Even her initial contact with George and Bella was off the charts mean. Kate believed she can bully people into solving the murder of George or taking Bella who she repeatedly says she doesn’t want 😒😒 and believes she can solve the crime because the cops are idiots. Michael the love interest starts of great then turns into the chauvinist out of nowhere, it’s like the author was writing two different books or characters.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,467 reviews9,625 followers
October 8, 2015

I love the cute little cover of the book, I had to read it because....yes, those that know me.. it has a dog in it :)

Kate owns a yoga studio and one day this horrific noise disturbs the serenity of the studio. Kate runs out to see what is going on and that is when she meets George and his German Shepherd Bella, who is barking up a storm.

George has found him a little job of sorts, which puts his little set-up outside of the studio. Bella who barks at all dogs and tries to attack men, is causing problems with people coming into the studio.

Once Kate hears George's story and starts helping him with buying some things from the Pet Store next door, she finds he is really a nice guy just trying to help a dog he rescued.

Unfortunately, George does some bad things to save Bella from a deadly disease, he's trying to find a way to get money for the rest of Bella's life. This leads to his murder. (that's not a spoiler, it says so on the book)

Kate goes out of her way to solve George's murder and find a home for Bella. You all know where Bella is going..right? :)

I loved Bella, I loved George and I liked Kate and her love interest, Michael. Overall, I thought it was a good mystery, I'm not sure how I would have felt without Bella in the book though :)

Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews515 followers
August 30, 2016
★★★★☆ I enjoyed this one. I liked the yoga studio setting and the writing flowed. I shook my head at the heroine, Kate, a few times around the center of the book, but she was one determined woman to find the killer. And, of course, I love Bella, the dog. Looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Kevin.
1,503 reviews34 followers
August 10, 2017
Interesting first book in a series about a Yoga studio owner/teacher and the dog she tries to save after a homeless man dies. There's not a ton of character development nor a whole lot about yoga in this book, but the mystery itself was pretty good even though I'd guessed the killer fairly early on. There is quite a lot of the book about dealing with the rescued dog.
I liked this a lot more then the British yoga series Downward Facing Death I'd read recently.
Profile Image for Andrea Guy.
1,464 reviews61 followers
February 8, 2014
Murder Strikes A Pose is a fun new book in the "Downward Dog Mystery Series" by Tracy Weber.

The plot revolves around the death of homeless man, George, who has left behind his special needs, German Shepherd, Bella.

I think Bella, really is the star of this book, with her personality disorders and her illness. When the book opens you can't begin to think that Bella is going to be a wonderful dog, but as things progress and Kate rather unwillingly accepts the dog into her heart, Bella blooms.

Kate is actually the character I have a little bit of a hard time with. She's a struggling yoga instructor/business owner. You can really feel for her, but at the same time you want to bop her, like her unwillingness to trust men with beards to the way she deals with Bella as well as her relationship with Michael the pet shop owner.

I did love how she cared about finding the reason for George's death and her relentless pursuit for the truth. I only wish that she would have turned into more of an animal lover by the end. I think that's the one thing that kept this from being a fantastic novel. I never felt that Kate saw Bella as more than "just a dog," and as a animal lover, that bothered me.

I do look forward to seeing how this series goes, and how Kate, Michael and Bella get closer.

Oh and the murderer? I never guessed it!
Profile Image for Kelly.
107 reviews30 followers
January 17, 2014
Nothing draws me into a book more than a dog as one of the main characters! Tracy Weber's book "Murder Strikes A Pose" follows a yoga studio owner as she tries to solve a friend's murder while also trying to find a good home for his dog. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but I enjoyed the yoga studio owner's clumsy attempts at sleuthing, and I loved watching her fall in love with Bella the German Sheperd over the course of the novel. There's a reason that foster failure is such a well known moniker in rescue dog organizations!

I liked the interactions with both the good and not-so-good dog trainers, because it illustrates to people that glitz and glamour don't mean good, and that you should always follow your gut. I appreciated some of the yoga students (the ones we got to know, anyhow) as well as some of the other characters.

For any dog and mystery loving readers, this book is one you should get your hands on as soon as you can. I had trouble putting it down and read it in a matter of days. Can't wait for another Downward Dog mystery!
Profile Image for Allison.
665 reviews34 followers
August 17, 2014
Really, really good. Read quickly and thought the interaction between the characters was believable. I LOVE her friend, I forget her name but I think it's Rene (?) ...anyway she is quite funny and man can she eat! Calories apparently just walk away from her. All in all, a fun read and I would say it's a winner for a 1st book. Looking forward to more in the series.
Profile Image for Rajesh.
138 reviews
December 6, 2015
Not much of a mystery book, than a dog book crossed with a 'benefits of yoga' book. Not sure how this book has been rated so highly. Maybe, all the reviewers were dog loving yoga practitioners.
Profile Image for Lelia Taylor.
872 reviews16 followers
September 13, 2014
3.5 stars

I don’t read a lot of cozy mysteries these days—not because I don’t like them but because the edgier stuff tends to appeal to me more (a cycle that I’m sure will change as it does from time to time)—but, every now and then, I feel the need. It’s sort of like occasionally indulging my craving for peppermint patties rather than being on a continual sugar high. The timing of my stop on this blog tour was perfect because I was in the mood for it and I really wanted to check out Tracy Weber’s first book.

This mystery suffers from two failings that are quite common in cozies—there is the seemingly requisite TSTL scene and the amateur sleuth is 100% convinced she can do a better job investigating than the professional detectives; to me, that makes her occasionally very annoying. I was especially irked by a scene in which Kate thinks Detective Martinez is gullible because she actually believes several alibis after having verified them and then Kate accuses her of being apathetic with absolutely no reason. In short, Kate can sometimes be so arrogant and full of self-pity that I would momentarily lose any rapport I had with her.

Fortunately, there are just a few of those episodes and Kate is usually likeable and involved in snooping for admirable reasons. I especially appreciated her dedication to doing what’s right for Bella, a dog who is in dire need of help, but also her willingness to re-think her own pre-conceived notions when it’s called for. On the other hand, the men in this story surprised me because every single one is overbearing or worse at one time or another. Still, Michael makes quite the nice romantic lead in spite of having the “manly man” attitude once or twice. Kate’s girlfriend, Rene, is a terrific buddy and made me envious with her ability to eat and eat and eat with no apparent consequences.

At this stage, you might think I didn’t really like Murder Strikes a Pose but that truly isn’t the case. There are some uncomfortable scenes, some involving the plight of the homeless but even more focused on Bella. Animal lovers may—no, will—cringe sometimes but I urge you to persevere; Ms. Weber has points to make that matter, not least of which is the idea that we simply must do what we can to take care of the four-footed creatures who need us and only want to be part of our lives. Sometimes, that obligation comes about because of the evil that people can do and I applaud the author for not being afraid to show that evil. It’s this sort of thing—mingling life lessons in with a good mystery—that lifts this cozy above many others. When all is said and done, putting annoyances aside, I enjoyed this series debut and will be looking forward to Kate’s next adventure, Killer Retreat, in January.

Oh, and I learned quite a bit about yoga ;-)

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2014.
Profile Image for Chanticleer Reviews.
3 reviews138 followers
December 11, 2013
In this award winning mystery, yoga instructor Kate Davidson tries her best to live the Zen life, but she often finds herself being challenged with her fluffy hips, her struggling yoga business, and missing her deceased dad, who was a cop. Date-free for nine months, three days and seven hours since her break-up, Kate tries to resists friend Rene’s numerous attempts to set her up with dates.

Into Kate’s world steps George, a homeless alcoholic with a German shepherd sidekick named Bella who loves to bark. The duo has decided that the entrance to Kate’s yoga studio is the perfect place for them to hang out, which definitely challenges Kate’s savasana.

An uneasy truce develops between Kate, Bella, and George as she learns more about George’s history and that Bella adores him. She also learns that Bella was stolen, but George corrects her: “Bella wasn't stolen. She was rescued.”  Bella needs costly medicine, and George has a scheme to get the funds needed for his dearest friend in the world.

But George is murdered, and the Seattle cops dismiss it as another drug-related street crime. Kate ends up taking care of the sickly, shedding dog that is the size of a small horse. She also finds that having a murder take place within steps of your business is not the best thing to increase clientele. Despite warnings, Kate takes on solving George’s murder. She is also desperate to find Bella a home.

Kate and Bella become unlikely partners on the murder beat and at home when Kate realizes George’s murderer is hot on her trail and that Bella may know too much. Weber keeps the plot twisting and turning until its climatic and satisfying conclusion.

Its fresh writing, social relevance, and suspenseful page-turning plot make Murder Strikes a Pose a hands-down winner. We look forward to reading more of Kate and Bella’s clever sleuthing adventures in the next novel of Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog Mystery series.

Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber was awarded a First Place Blue Ribbon in the Mystery and Mayhem Awards, a division of the Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon writing competitions.

[Reviewer’s Note: Even if you don't know your downward dog pose from your dolphin plank, we believe that cozy mystery readers will enjoy this engaging first novel in Tracy Weber's Downward Dog Mystery series.]
Profile Image for Kristen.
2,072 reviews130 followers
February 6, 2017
In Tracy Weber's Murder Strike a Pose, the first installment in the Downward Dog Cozy Mystery, you'll enjoy this debut and strike a yoga pose at the same time too. When yoga teacher Kate Davidson encountered a homeless man named George and his monster-sized German Shepherd named Bella outside of her yoga center hawking cheap newspapers, she befriends him and his dogs and tries to force him to leave. But when she overheard a conversation outside of her center and discovers his dead body, she needs to provide a home for Bella, she digs into George Levin's background and learned what lead to him to live on the streets. When the police thought it was nothing but a brawl that did him in, Kate thinks otherwise, though she'd been threatened along the way. She would stop to nothing. With help from her best friend Rene and her boyfriend Michael, they figure it out, when she discovered who did him and why in the end as Bella saved her life and had found a new happy home with Kate.
Profile Image for Barb.
248 reviews10 followers
August 9, 2015
A delightful read! Tracy Weber has created a delightful scenario with Kate's yoga studio. Kate tries to get a homeless man with a huge German Shepherd to stop hanging out in front of her shop because the dog barks at everyone and disturbs the tranquility of her space. She ends up becoming friends with the old man. When he is murdered, nobody believes it was anything but a drunken brawl or a drug deal gone bad, but Kate knows that's not true. In addition to adopting the dog, Bella, who, by the way, needs expensive and lifelong medications, Kate needs to find out who really murdered her friend George. I didn't see the solution until the very end, and I couldn't put the book down. No wonder Tracy Weber received so much praise for this first book in a series which, I certainly hope lasts for a long time.
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,194 reviews724 followers
June 11, 2020
Yoga - check. Dog - check. Cozy mystery - check. A comfy read that was just what I needed. I found the rest of the series in random places all over the internet and am sad it appears to be out of print - a new publisher needs to snap this series up and rerelease it.
Profile Image for Teena in Toronto.
2,187 reviews64 followers
August 6, 2014
Kate has recently opened a yoga studio and is barely getting by. It doesn't help when a homeless man and his large German Shepherd, which doesn't like other dogs, starts selling newspapers outside her door. Instead of freaking out, Kate does the Zen thing and befriends George and Bella.

When George is killed, the police assume it was during a fight among the homeless and don't put a lot of effort into finding out who the killer is. But Kate can't let it go and starts investigating on her own and comes up with a list of people who could have done it. In the meantime, to save Bella from going to the pound (and probably put down), she takes her in until she can find her a home. But who is going to want a large German Shepherd with behavior problems and health issues?

This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it. It's obvious the author wrote from experience ... she has a yoga studio and a German Shepherd named Tasha. I liked the writing style. It is written in first person perspective from Kate's point of view.

I liked Kate. She's still struggling with the death of her father a couple years ago. Despite the fact that she is a self-professed crazy cat lady, she takes Bella in and tries to find her a home ... with patience, she does eventually find Bella the best home. Kate has a good heart ... though she only has $4,000 left to her name, she doesn't hesitate to juggle her needs with those of Bella so Bella can have the medicine, food, training, etc. she needs. And I love a story that has a dog! Bella sounds like a great dog! Other supporting characters include her best friend, a new love interest (a pet store owner) and a slimy landlord.

This is the first of the series and I look forward to reading others.

Blog review post: http://www.teenaintoronto.com/2014/08...
Profile Image for AngryGreyCat.
1,503 reviews36 followers
March 18, 2014
This is the first in a new yoga themed cozy mystery. The series opens with the reader meeting Kate, a yoga studio owner, who has a run-in with a homeless man and his dog Bella. Eventually, they become friends or at least Kate tolerates George and Bella’s presence outside her studio. George is murdered and Kate can’t just let it be written off as a dispute between the homeless, which is what it seems the local police are doing.

She investigates with her sometimes side kick, Rene, and Bella, George’s dog. Along the way, she meets Michael, the owner of Pete’s Pets, and a romantic interest. There is a lot of investigation and quite a few leads and suspects. The mystery is very well crafted. The main characters are all developed and realistic.

I really appreciated the urban setting, which is very different from the average cozy. This is very reminiscent of the urban setting in Kerry Greenwood’s Corina Chapman series, which I love. Very different characters, themes and settings, but both series have a similar contemporary urban feel.

The mystery plot and the yoga theme flow seamlessly together. The theme does not overwhelm the mystery plot or the characters. A fun, well written first in a new mystery series. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes cozies, especially ones with a more contemporary feel. I am definitely going to be looking forward to the next one in this series.

Profile Image for Stormi (StormReads).
1,791 reviews159 followers
October 1, 2016
Kate is a struggling Yoga instructor who tries to maintain a zen-like life but sometimes it's just really hard. Especially when a homeless man decides to take up residency outside her studio to sell papers with a very vocal dog named Bella.

As time goes by though she becomes friends with George and is very upset when she finds him dead near the studio. Now she is stuck with a moody dog who doesn't seem to like bearded men or any other dog. She has grown attached to Bella but can't really afford to keep her so she tries her best to find a good home for her. Meanwhile, doesn't like the job the police are doing to try and find George's killer because they just think it was a drunken brawl so she decides to try and solve the murder herself.

Murder Strikes a Pose was a cute cozy and I liked the mystery even though I figured it out early on but was invested enough in the story to find out how things ended, especially with Bella.

I liked Kate as she is flawed and very relatable. She tries so hard to be all peace and love but dealing with some of those around her it was very hard at times. The other characters in the story were also likable. I really like Michael and if he can put up with her very non-zen like times that can lead to some ranting then he is a keeper. :)

Overall, it was a nice cozy and if you are a yoga fan or like dogs in your cozies then you will enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Carole.
327 reviews18 followers
August 17, 2014
Murder Strikes a Pose is an entertaining and enjoyable cozy mystery, the first in a new series to feature yoga instructor Kate.

She rescues a huge German Shepherd dog called Bella when her owner, George, is found murdered near Kate's yoga studio. George, a homeless alcoholic, and Kate had become friends when George started selling newspapers outside her studio.

Unfortunately, poor Bella has health and behaviour issues but, undeterred, Kate looks after her while trying to find a new owner and also trying to find George's killer, not believing the police's verdict that he died in a drunken brawl.

Kate is a brilliant protagonist, she's nosey (perfect credentials for an amateur sleuth!), argumentative and stubborn.

With a good storyline that unravels leisurely, interesting characters and flowing writing, I think this is sure to delight cozy mystery fans.

Taken from my blog Carole's Book Corner
Profile Image for Jill Yesko.
Author 3 books14 followers
March 23, 2014
What’s a 30something Seattle yoga teacher to do when she finds a dead body and a snarling German Shepherd on her yoga studio’s doorstep?

If you’re writer and real-life yoga studio owner Tracy Weber, you first take a deep, cleansing breath, then sit down with a cup of organic chai and pen a fast-paced mystery that will keep you wondering whodunnit until the last page.

Murder Strikes a Pose has just the right mixture of blood (hey, the title does say “murder”), guts (as in a gutsy heroine), and sex appeal (a cute guy who works in a pet store is a can’t miss) to enliven its 274 pages.

I enjoyed getting to know protagonist Kate Weber, a yoga teacher with an attitude who seamlessly makes her way from warrior one pose to ace amateur private eye without losing her balance.

That Kate enjoys red wine and can hold her own against bad guys earns her big points in my world.

So roll up your yoga mat and grab a copy of Murder Strikes a Pose. It’s a bark out loud great read!
Profile Image for Terri Crossley.
138 reviews
February 10, 2016
I really enjoyed getting to know Kate and Bella is this book! I loved the fact that both had flaws but we're great main characters! Kate was funny and quirky and sometimes a little annoying but that just made her even more real! When George a homeless guy starts selling papers out in front of Kate's Yoga studio she is sure he will ruin her business. It isn't the fact that he's homeless but he has a huge dog that is terrifying her customers. You can't really relax when the constant barking is hard to ignore! Kate finds a way to make everyone happy and even begins to become friends with George and Bella! So when George winds up dead Kate knows she must do what she can to catch his killer! With Bella in tow this unlikely pair set out to catch a killer! I already purchased book number two and can't wait to see what happens next! I highly recommended this book!
Profile Image for Maggie.
Author 41 books393 followers
November 9, 2013
Seattle’s Serenity Yoga becomes less serene when a homeless man with an aggressive dog takes up space on their sidewalk. Kate Davidson, the owner of the studio and a yoga teacher, tries everything she can think of to make the man move on, but he turns up day after day, until the day he doesn’t.

Kate finds George dead in the alley behind her shop, his quivering German Shepherd, Bella, locked in the crate Kate bought for the dog. Stuck with Bella, who also has a rare digestive illness, Kate is determined to find justice of George. His death isn’t a drug deal gone bad as the cops think. Someone did this on purpose.

Weber’s debut novel is a yogalicious romp. She mixes yoga with sleuthing and the perils of second-time-around dating into a compelling, inviting read.
Profile Image for Missi Martin (Stockwell).
792 reviews11 followers
July 18, 2014
I truly enjoyed this book. Tracy Weber is well on her way to captivating a wide variety of readers. While I am a cat person, I still love a good story with any kind of animal. Whatever animal lover you are, whether you enjoy yoga, sitting in a cafe with a friend over coffee and yummy baked goods, perusing the pet store, hanging at home, or solving a murder then this book is right down your alley.
Even reading all the yoga sessions will put you at ease while you get lost in Kate and Bellas story.
I couldnt put it down and neither will you !!!
Profile Image for Alexandra.
206 reviews2 followers
January 7, 2014
LOVED THIS BOOK! There are so many things I just adored about this book and cannot believe this is the first book from the author! Made me laugh, want to cry and also at times want to punch a few of the characters lol. I absolutely LOVED the character of Rene and hope to see more of her in the series!It honestly kept my full attention all the way to the very end I knew it would be love when I saw the main doggy character was named Bella =)
Profile Image for Melodie.
1,278 reviews67 followers
March 28, 2015
Calling this one probably 3.5 stars, but going the extra 1/2 as I like the author. She seems like a really nice person. Good story and I really like the main character because of what she was willing to do for a dog with beyond special needs, that no one else wanted. A chance for some good relationships here, so I'll definitely read more. Recommend!
Profile Image for Linda Rowland.
463 reviews53 followers
January 27, 2015
Not sure why I waited so long to read this. Maybe the lack of knowledge or real interest in yoga.
Must admit that I skimmed much of what I did not understand, but did like the main character, and loved the dog.
Profile Image for Diane.
236 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2015
This book drew me in with some of my favorite things, Dogs, Yoga, Mystery, I really enjoyed it!! It was funny, well written, and creative. I really liked the main characters, and Bella, well she stole my heart. What a great way to debut a series. I can't wait for the next one!!
Profile Image for Susan O'Brien.
Author 5 books55 followers
March 28, 2015
It was impossible not to become emotionally invested in Tracy Weber's characters and plot right away, and I sped through the book in just a few days. Meanwhile, the information about yoga sprinkled throughout the book tempted me to take a class. Murder Strikes a Pose really struck a chord with me!
13 reviews306 followers
November 15, 2015
Awesomely fun and mysterious. This is a charmingly playful story about yoga and dogs. I loved hearing about Seattle and it's people. I highly recommend this author and this book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 263 reviews

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