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Dog Club Mystery #1

In the Dog House

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A killer wants Lilly Echosby to roll over and play dead . . .

Lilly may be losing a husband but she's gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly's dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimbo—except for one problem: Albert Echosby’s just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect.

With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it's a good thing her best friend Scarlett "Dixie" Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to take a break from the dog club circuit to pay a visit, along with her own prize pair of poodles. With help from Dixie, her defense attorney daughter, and a blue-eyed man in blue with a K-9 partner, Lilly is determined to collar the real killer. But when a second murder occurs, it's clear they're dealing with one sick puppy . . .

244 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 21, 2018

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About the author

V.M. Burns

18 books1,008 followers
Valerie (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 Northern Georgia with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her short story, "The Vermeer Conspiracy" was an Anthony and Edgar Award finalist in 2022. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, Crime Writers of Color, and Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com.

Contact Info: author@vmburns.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 150 reviews
Profile Image for Chatting About Cozies.
1,138 reviews48 followers
June 30, 2018
I love cozies, poodles, and strong, capable female characters, so I definitely loved this debut book! Protagonist, Lilly Anne’s hubby of 25 years is divorcing her, and their daughter, Stephanie, is her lawyer while Albert lawyers up with high-powered attorney, Charles Nelson. Let the fun begin! Lilly’s longtime friend, Dixie (Scarlett Johnson), arrives to visit with 3 poodles along. One is a black toy poodle, Aggie, who absolutely stole my heart and Lilly Anne’s, too! Now, these two girl friends are going to have fun together and the dogs are going to help them! Before you can say ‘woof!’, however, somebody offs Albert! The books at the car dealership they owned look suspicious. Lilly Anne can’t believe Albert was so stupid and left her such a mess to decipher.

Humor scenes galore kept me giggling throughout this entertaining storyline. The poor old man in the wheelchair—bless his heart—I loved his connection to Lilly Anne. I really liked Officer Joe and his K-9 dog, Turbo. Reading this new cozy mystery was a treat! I look forward to the next book in the Dog Club series.

I reviewed an arc provided by NetGalley and Kensington Lyrical. Thank you.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,379 reviews270 followers
February 2, 2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

First, I couldn’t resist that cover. That face, that face, that puppy dog face. I just had to find out what the poodle was up to.

It turns out that poodle belongs to Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, best friend of our protagonist Lilly Echosby, and she owns not one but two show poodles. She also has a toy poodle with her that Lilly quickly adopts and names Aggie, a nod to Agatha Christie. Dixie has come to town, taking a break from the dog show circuit to be with Lilly as she deals with her pending divorce. Her husband has left her for a child, well a woman who could be his child. I would say Albert Echosby was a low down dirty dog but that would insult dogs more than him. He hasn’t told his family about the divorce and actually expects Lily to still host his grandmother’s birthday party. She agrees after some negotiations, but tempers run high at the party.

The next day Lilly continues to make plans for his life sans Albert. She is going to pack up and head to Tennessee with Dixie. Her plans come to a screeching halt when she learns Albert has been murdered and she is the prime suspect. That makes no doggone sense. She does have one member of the police force on her side because he has clearly fallen for Lilly’s defense attorney daughter. They both, along with Dixie and Lilly’s son are going to help Lilly do everything they can to put the real killer in a cage. When another murder occurs they must double their efforts but realize they could be putting themselves in the line of fire.

This series is off to an amazing start. I love Lilly, close to my age with two grown children, it was easy to identify with her. When she adopted Aggie so fast I loved her even more. I liked that the romantic entanglement had to do with her daughter as Lilly had enough on her plate with Albert and his bimbo, Bambi Love. Oh my starts, Bambi was truly a piece of work. The aspect of Dixie coming to Lighthouse Dunes after receiving an email from her friend was fantastic. Advice from a total stranger and Dixie helped Lilly make crucial decisions and also brought out her strength. The rest of the characters are also very well developed for a first book in a series and easy to envision. The dogs stole my heart and added so much to the story.

The plot flowed so well. Perfectly penned and full of humor, I loved every minute of it. The descriptive writing style took me right into the story and into these characters lives. It turned out there were plenty of suspects and a variety of clues to follow. An unexpected twist brings the story to a very entertaining conclusion.

Reading In the Dog House was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I can’t wait to get my hands on The Puppy Who Knew Too Much. Lighthearted and Fun! This was a Perfect Escape!
Profile Image for JoAn.
2,060 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2018
In the Dog House by V.M. Burns was a great beginning to a new series (I hope). I've enjoyed her Mystery Bookshop series; and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this new series.
Lilly Echosby and Dixie Jefferson are best friends and women who I would love to know in person. Ms. Burns' descriptive writing painted a clear picture for me of Lilly, her daughter and son, Dixie and Lilly's ex-husband and his family. As in her other series, Ms. Burns included dogs, 3 poodles who stole each scene when they appeared. The plot moved swiftly with twists and red herrings that kept me turning the pages to find out more. I confess that I did have an inkling of who the culprits might be before the reveal; but I was greatly surprised by how much more was involved than just murder. A well-crafted mystery that kept me totally intrigued until the last page. I want the next one in this series now!
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Lyrical Underground via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews50 followers
July 23, 2018
The first book of a new series. I found a well-written plot that is funny at times. The MC's are developed. The descriptions of the are good.

Lilly Echosby is angry and upset after husband, Albert told Lilly that he wanted a divorce. He planned to marry his girlfriend. Lilly's friend Dixie Jefferson is visiting from Tennessee. Dixie had been to a dog show. She brought her poodles with her and a recuse poodle who needs a home. Lilly named the poodle Aggie. That night her husband is MURDER in an apparent robbery. The police decided Lilly is the main suspect. In order to clear herself. Dixie and Lilly become involved in the investigation. Was Albert's murder an accident? Why did Albert send a new will to Lilly? What is going at the auto dealership? I am looking forward to the next book. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Kensington Books for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Karen.
503 reviews54 followers
October 30, 2018
Last Friday night I finished In The Dog House by author V.M. Burns. This is a first in series that I truly enjoyed. Not your average cozy and was delightful in that it was not as predictable as some first in series can be. I loved the main character, her family and best friend. I like how the story was set up and how the setting, will change for the next book in the series. My favorite character though has a very small part and I can not give it away but I hope somehow she shows up in another book. She reminds me of a fairy godmother with a great attitude and I hope that she comes back in a future book. The main character and cozy animal have a great bond, love at first sight. I would really like to see how this series grows and I know dog and cozy lovers are going to so enjoy this book!
Profile Image for Mary Brown.
1,212 reviews48 followers
August 11, 2018
In The Dog House
Dog Club Mystery, Book #1
V.M. Burns
5+ Stars


Recently divorced Lilly Echosby finds a community of new friends at a Tennessee dog club, never guessing she’d be groomed to solve a murder close to home . . .

Sure, Lilly Echosby’s husband dumped her after thirty years of marriage, but there’s an upside, too. She’s recharging her CPA career, trading brutal Michigan winters for the sunny south, and best of all, she can finally get a puppy. Enrolling her new toy poodle, Agatha Christie, at the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club also comes with a new best friend: club trainer and southern belle, Scarlet “Dixie” Jefferson. Unfortunately, not everything in Lilly’s life is quite so cuddly. Her neighbor, Bradley Hurston, is a cantankerous, growling, poodle-hating blowhard. For Lilly, snapping back at him in public wasn’t exactly the best revenge. The next day Bradley is murdered in the community pool and Lilly becomes number one suspect. Now the fur is really going to fly . . .

On the scent to find the real culprit, Lilly and Dixie discover that Bradley’s bad-neighbor policy was blocks long. So is the list of suspects. But is aggressive behavior a motive to kill? Lilly and Dixie think there’s more to Bradley’s past. Something more sinister. And they have every reason to fear that Bradley won’t be the last in the community to be put down. (Goodreads)

This is the first book in the Dog Club Mystery series and I thought it was excellent. The characters were great, the mystery was well plotted and there was a lot of humor in this book.

The characters are well developed and well rounded. Lilly is a smart, strong caring woman who was betrayed by her husband in the worse way. She is a mom with two grown children with whom she is very close to. And she has an old friend named Dixie that she is excited to reconnect with. So when her husband is killed and she is the prime suspect, she has friends and family standing beside her. She knows she has to find the real killer before she is put away for life.

I really liked the fact that Lilly was an older protagonist with a family. I also liked the fact that she did not stumble upon a dead body like in so many of the cozies that I read. Another thing that I liked was the fact that Lilly did not have any type of love connection with the detective working on the case. I thought all of these things gave this cozy a unique perspective.

The writing style flows smoothly and defined the characters very clearly by their actions and words. It was a quick easy book to read and kept me swiping pages as fast as I could. Her descriptive writing pulled me into the story right from the start and took me on a wonderful journey. And there was plenty of humor that kept me laughing throughout the book.

The mystery was well plotted and fast paced. There were enough suspects to consider and clues to sift through and was not easy to solve, which is how I like my mysteries.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy. This is the first book in this series and I cannot wait to read the next book. And I am going to have to check out this authors other series, she is very good at her craft.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.

Profile Image for Carla.
5,797 reviews122 followers
February 17, 2019
This was a great start to a new series. The main characters are fantastic (smart and sassy) and the dogs, oh how I loved the dogs, especially, Aggie (short for Agatha Christie). As soon as I finished this one I started the second and new one. If you have not read this book, I recommend you grab it now and enjoy the first two in this series.

Lilly Echosby is being dumped. Her husband is divorcing her for a bimbo named Bambi that he met at a strip club. While trying to come up with a settlement, Albert is shot dead in a supposed robbery gone bad. Lilly, of course, is the prime suspect, isn't it always the spouse? Fortunately for Lilly, her BFF, Dixie has arrived with her RV and two standard poodles in tow. As well, she has a toy poodle that she has rescued from a puppy mill, who is absolutely adorable, yet needs a lot of training. Lilly names her Aggie and they fall in love. With her two grown kids in town for their dad's funeral (one a defense attorney, one an actor) along with Dixie they decide they need to investigate on their own if they are going to clear Lilly. When a second murder occurs, she is blamed for that as well and gets arrested. With the help of a handsome, blue-eyed, K-9 officer named Joe and his dog Turbo, they get into some funny scrapes, yet are able to solve the mystery.

This was a great story. There was so much happening with the divorce, murders, embezzlement, family drama, crazy animal action and some romance (not Lilly). Lilly was not someone who was going to back down, even when it came to a couple of physical altercations. As much as I loved Lilly, Dixie and Stephanie, I hated Bambi. She gives women a bad name. The male characters, who were somewhat secondary, were still a large part of the plot and story. The author does an amazing job of tying all these plot-lines together in a fantastic ending. There were enough clues dropped along the way that I did figure out what was going on and who the murder was, but how they solved the crime, and the tension packed showdown, kept me reading quickly until the end. Dixie is a fantastic sidekick, she is funny, yet smart and sassy. Lilly's kids, Stephanie and David were amazing. I loved the relationship they had with their mom and the way they jumped in to help find the murderer. The dogs were definitely stars. Poodles may not be attack dogs but, these dogs had one man shaking in his boots and were able to take down another, I loved them. There was just enough humour in this story to keep me smiling throughout. I will definitely look for me books by V.M. Burns. I definitely recommend this book and the next in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,137 reviews68 followers
August 19, 2018
Oh my goodness, this is such a great beginning for this new series! I absolutely loved this book. And those adorable dogs just added to how much I loved it, especially little Aggie! I hope there's another one coming up soon!

Lilly Echosby had just found out her husband wanted a divorce. He was leaving her for a dumb bimbo named Bambi. The next minute he was found shot, found by said bimbo. Lilly of course was the obvious suspect. With her two grown kids in town for their dad's funeral and her bestie Dixie by her side, they were determined they were going to find the real killer and clear Lilly's name. When a second body turned up and she was blamed for that, she only became more determined to tie those two killings together. With the help of a K-9 officer named Joe and his dog Turbo, they cracked the case open and even got the mastermind of it.

This was a really exciting mystery since there was more than the murder going on. Lilly being a CPA had discovered the car dealership her husband had owned had something hinky going on. Officer Joe said he'd help, which I thought was good because he did genuinely want to clear her name, but he could also keep the civilians somewhat safe. I loved reading about the SING self-defense method. I had only read one other book where it was used to take down a bad guy. It was pretty important in nailing someone in this story.

I haven't despised a character as much as I loathed Bambi in forever. There have only been a handful of characters throughout the books I've read that I have literally hated or was hoping they'd become the next victim. The author must have a special gift for being able to instill that, just as she has a gift for describing and telling about adorable dogs. In one scene, I literally had leaky eyes reading about something that happened to little Aggie, the toy poodle Lilly was adopting.

I liked Officer Joe an awful lot and almost hate to think about Lilly possibly leaving town. I hope that her pal Dixie stays in the story, she's such a hoot, I love her to pieces! Lilly's grown kids, Stephanie and David were amazing. They had a great relationship with their mom, but were able to show their dad the respect he needed when it was time for the funeral. I hope they make an appearance in future books too! The dogs were definitely stars as well. Poodles may not be attack dogs but just the scene of a grown man being scared when one had taken him down was so comical. What awesomely trained dogs!

If you couldn't already tell, I'm very anxious for the next book in the series! I volunteered to read this one early via NetGalley and the publisher. Release date is August 21.
Profile Image for Linda.
Author 11 books655 followers
August 30, 2018
Dogs rule in this charming new cozy by VM Burns! One day Lilly Echosby is a spurned spouse, and the next she’s a suspect in her ex-husband’s death. Sure, Lilly had plenty of motive to want her cheating ex out of her life, but she didn’t expect to be charged with his murder. With her best friends--both human and canine--and loyal family members heeling at her side, Lilly sheds the cloak of suspicion and sets out to deliver some ruff justice to a killer. This fast-paced cozy kept me racing through the pages until the final reveal. I’m anxious to read the second installment in this promising new series!
Profile Image for Barbara Tobey.
2,091 reviews38 followers
August 13, 2018
Loved it! A delightfully amusing read. Dogs, Italians, Southern sass, divorce, death, romance, scones, bimbo, and so much more. I am eager to read more of Lilly's adventures. Dixie and the dogs are sure to add to the fun. The publisher provided a copy via NetGalley.
Profile Image for PugMom.
494 reviews3 followers
January 4, 2019
Fun first in series! I’m eager to read more about Lilly and her canine companion Agatha Christie!
Profile Image for Jeanie.
1,180 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2018
This LOL cozy mystery is first in the new Dog Club Mystery series. It is outrageously funny and well-written, and I can almost see the author thinking “what else can possibly happen to Lilly this week?” The characters, in particular Lilly and her Dolly-Parton-haired friend Dixie, are designed for maximum impact. We get a tiny glimpse into the world of dog competitions. Underneath it all is the pervasive murder mystery awaiting resolution, so Lilly won’t have to find out if a well-bred Catholic girl can survive in prison.
Lilly’s divorce from the man whose business she helped build in the early years of their marriage is almost complete. Albert has taken up with a sweet young thing who is younger than their children. Bambi’s assets are there for all to see, especially when he has the audacity to bring her to his and Lilly’s home for the 95th birthday party of his grandmother. Almost as irritating is that he told his family that Lilly is gay…that Dixie, the college friend she recently reconnected with is her partner. (NOT!) Lilly’s plan to pack up and move to Tennessee near Dixie, while made in less time than one can learn to spell Chattanooga, is a sound one. Both of her children are grown and living away from home. Their daughter is a very successful attorney and their son a highly acclaimed stage actor.
The morning after the birthday party, the police come to advise Lilly that Albert is dead, shot when confronting a would-be thief in his and Bambi’s apartment. While Lilly doesn’t care a lot about what Albert does any more, she does care that he was murdered, and makes the funeral arrangements for the family. Bimbo…um…Bambi keeps calling with stuff like she needs money and she was shut out of Albert’s bank account. The corvette Albert gave her was stolen, and did Lilly take it.
Things only go downhill from there. For several reasons, including that she would inherit the car dealership and Albert was found to have $1 million stashed in an offshore account, Lilly is accused of his murder. Before she has to find out how to pack for prison, she and Dixie team up for a slightly older version of Nancy Drew. Lilly’s son and daughter get in on the action, as well as Dixie’s elegant, well-trained standard poodles and Lilly’s new toy poodle, Aggie.
Lilly is a fabulous new protagonist in the cozy mystery world! She has a wicked sense of humor evidenced throughout. I felt as if I got to know her well over the course of the novel. Other characters are as well-defined as fitting their roles, most are 3-D in HD color. I like Lilly and Dixie best, and am happy these college roommates have been able to reconnect.
This cozy mystery has almost everything I love in the genre. It drew me in from the first page, the first sentence. It is at times serious, such as when Lilly is going to be arrested. There is also a great deal of humor, necessary to survive a really nasty divorce and murder allegations. The characters are unique, and there are pets that contribute to the story. The murder is complex, a challenge to solve. I was only partially right in picking the killer, completely missing the motives. There are several plot twists as well as a second murder and a couple red herrings that kept me turning pages. The ending brought some surprises, and all loose ends were tied up. I highly recommend this fun-tastic new series!
From a grateful heart: I won a copy of this through a Goodreads First contest and was not required to post a review.
Profile Image for Fred.
943 reviews38 followers
August 4, 2018
In The Dog House is the first book in the A Dog Club Mystery series.

I love this wonderful new series from V. M. Burns.

Lilly Anne has been married for twenty-five years and the marriage has provided two adult children, Stephanie and David. The story begins with Lily Anne shouting at her soon-to-be ex-husband, Albert: You Two-Timing Low Life Weasel. Words that she might wish she hadn’t said out loud. Well directed words at her soon-to-be ex as he had the nerve to bring his bimbo, Bambi Love to divorce settlement meeting.

The day after the disaster at lawyers office Lily Anne contacts her college friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson asking for help in finding a place to live in Chattanooga. Two days later she arrives in her RV, along with her two Standard Poodle show dogs and an equally adorable rescue miniature poodle. The next morning they are awakened by some serious barking of the dogs. They find Albert backed up to the door by the dogs. When things are settled down Albert has the gall to remind Lily that “they” are hosting his grandmother’s 95th birthday. The evening at the party Albert informs his family that they are divorcing because Lily is a lesbian. Needless to say, the party went downhill from there. The next morning the police arrive at Lily’s door to inform her that Albert has been murdered. As the polices investigation progresses Lily soon becomes a prime suspect.

With this news, Lily, Dixie, and Stephanie set out to find Albert’s name and clear Lily’s name. Albert had claimed that sales were down severely at his used car lot, but there seems to be a good selection of inventory. Plus, they need to find out where all the money that is in an off-shore bank came from.

The story is well-plotted and told story with an enjoyable cast of well-developed cast of believable characters. Also enjoyable was reading about the Standard Poodles and help they provided in tracking down the murderer.

I’m looking forward to the next book in this fabulous new series to see if Lily follows through with her move to Chattanooga.

2,104 reviews19 followers
August 21, 2018
In the Dog House by M.M. Burns, is a clearly outstanding light mystery and I want the next book NOW! As a fan of her Mystery Bookshop, I wasn't surprised to discover that I love the new series, but I was surprised to love it even more the the first series. Both books have a great balance of plot versus character with a slight lean towards the development of the characters, and great characters they are. The distinction may just be that I often favor the book I finished most recently or it may have a bit mare character interaction, which I love. The difference is the difference between a 5 star and a 5.25 star rating. Readers of either series will come out the winner. The plot in every one of her books that I have read has been excellent and intriguing and has drawn me in from the beginning. V.M.Burns makes me care what happens in her novels and that is besides the wonders dogs who people her books.
Profile Image for Jerri Cachero.
577 reviews47 followers
September 10, 2018
What a great book! It was fast-paced and I couldn't put it down until I found out "whodunit"!

Lilly finds herself on the way to divorce court when her husband Albert leaves her for another woman. Lilly is crushed, but determined to create a new life for herself. Then, Albert is murdered and the police have Lilly as their number one suspect!

I enjoyed the friendship between the hilarious Dixie (Lilly's college friend) and Lilly. Dixie shows poodles and drops everything to help Lilly figure out who killed Albert. I love animals, so the addition of Dixie's two poodles plus sweet little Aggie (a toy poodle who is a gift from Dixie to Lily) made the book even more fun to read. Stephanie and David, Lily's two 20-something children were wonderfully written - mad at their father but at the same time grieving his loss.

The mystery will keep you guessing and I loved the way the mystery was solved. I can't wait for the next book to see what the ladies are up to now!

4,761 reviews52 followers
June 5, 2022
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

After her husband leaves her for a woman younger than their children, and the in-laws all blame her, a woman contacts her old college friend and decides to move to Chattanooga. Then her soon to be ex is murdered, and she is the prime suspect.

To clear her name, she has to find the real killer. She also gets a dog. She, her friends, and her kids all get together to find the killer.

Rather simple, as these things go, but entertaining.
Profile Image for Kristin.
662 reviews8 followers
June 14, 2018
Awesome book. Started reading this one day, got 40% of the way through it without even realizing it, finished it the next time I picked it up. Very hard to put down. Loved the dogs, the mystery, the whole family dynamic. Can't wait to read more in this series.
Profile Image for RO G'ma.
1,005 reviews35 followers
July 8, 2018
In the Dog House is the first book in V.M. Burns’ A Dog Club Mystery series. The storyline is well plotted and the well-developed characters are affable. The story flows at a steady pace, with humorous moments, and an interesting mystery with enough twists and red herrings to keep the reader engaged and guessing. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Lilly and Albert Echosby have been married for twenty-five years and have two adult children, Stephanie (a lawyer) and David (an actor), but Albert cheated on Lilly and they’re getting a divorce. After an unsettling meeting with her soon to be ex-husband and his young stripper girlfriend, Bambi Love, in their daughter’s Chicago law office, Lilly took the train back to their home in Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana. While on the train, she met Miss Florrie, who listened to her problems and gave her sage advice. Following Miss Florrie’s advice, Lilly decides to find her happy place and contacts her friend and college roommate, Scarlet “Dixie” Jefferson, who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They reconnect, Lilly falls in love with a toy poodle rescue Dixie had with her along with her two champion standard poodles, and Lilly starts planning to move to Chattanooga. Lilly reluctantly agrees to host a birthday party for Albert’s grandmother, he brings Bambi, tells his family he’s divorcing Lilly because she’s a lesbian rather than tell them he broke his marriage vows, and they get into an argument. The next day, police officers show up at Lilly’s door to inform her that Albert is dead. Stephanie calls her grandmother and learns that Bambi said they surprised a burglar and Albert was shot. It doesn’t take long for the authorities to start taking a hard look at Lilly. The books at their car dealership look suspicious and Albert had a million dollars in an offshore bank. When the murder weapon shows up in one of the family cars, Lilly, Dixie, Stephanie, and David believe she’s being set up. Her attorney, Christopher Williams, arranges for her to turn herself in, but before she can, her wheelchair bound neighbor is murdered and the police place her under arrest.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Profile Image for Karen.
652 reviews1 follower
August 21, 2018
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was not expecting to enjoy it as I felt the whole premise had been done to death (no pun intended).
However, I found the characters entertaining and the whodunit was top notch.
I would certainly read the next in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of the book.
Profile Image for Shawna Shaheen.
323 reviews4 followers
March 14, 2022
Book 1 Lilli husband wanted a divorce. So in the court his 20 year old girlfriend Bambi came with him and Killing wanted to tear her up. Her daughter Stephanie was her lawyer and held her mom back. Stephanie was on her mom side. Her best friend came to stay with her Dixie. She brought along her to standard poodles Leia and Chyna and had a toy poodle that she brought aong. Lilli fell in love with her and named her Agatha after Agatha Christie the mystery writer. But she used Aggie for short. When her husband Albert came to the house to get things the dogs nearly bit his head off. He was nervous and Lilli told him he better leave and give the kids custody of money and stay away from her. He had the nerve to tell her that she needed to prepare for his whole family to be there for his grandma birthday. So when his whole family came to the house ( he had the decenticy to tell his family that she was lesbo that is why he left her) Lilli really got pissed she told him to come upstairs there she threw some perfume bottles and other things at him. And his little bingo came up there and then they marched off. Well then the police told Lilli that he was shot and Bamboo was the witness but she did not see the shooter. Another death was in this book her neigbor. This was ok book some of it was funny. I just thought the story could be better.
Profile Image for Kathy.
537 reviews11 followers
August 10, 2018
Really a cute cozy that had me giggling out loud which was fine at home but people thought it was odd on the bus:)

This involves some of your normal cozy things, a cheating husband with a dancer named Bambi Love no less, and a divorce. It also has that handsome blue-eyed, necessary in a cozy type of cop for someone to fall in love with. He has a canine companion named Turbo that you’ll fall in love with. There are gorgeous poodles brought to visit by Lily’s best friend Dixie and a teensy mini rescue poodle for Lily to cuddle. What better to cuddle than a sweet little puppy when you have a cheating husband. While Lily might be smart about dogs, she is a pushover about husbands and agrees to give a birthday party for the cheater husband’s grandmother. The cheater tells his family Lily is a lesbian because he needs a reason to have Bambi at the party of course. This all leads up to exactly what you’re thinking. It’s the cheater that gets murdered. Seems like V.M. Burns sure picked the most deserving person for her murder. I mean you have to have a murder in a cozy, don’t you?

To be perfectly honest, if you are a fan of Berenson’s Melanie Travis series, I think the beginning of this book will seem as if that’s what you are reading. Lily’s best friend brings her standard-sized poodles and is full of talk about showing them at dog shows. However, as it turned out it was a very different storyline and Burns gives her characters their own unique personalities. In fact, Burns made her characters real, funny, and enjoyable. Even the bad guys or girls were entertaining.

This is Book 1 in a series titled “Dog Club Mystery”. It’s a great one and I’m anxious for Book 2.
However, Burns has two other series and they have great reviews as well. Check them out.

***This book was provided to me free of charge by NetGalley and all opinions are definitely my own.
August 21, 2021
I love Burns' cozy accidental sleuth mysteries BUT I can't rate them higher than 3 stars for one big reason...


Now, in my head reading this I've decided Lilly is Nichole Beharrie, lol. What drives me to distraction is every side character gets at least a sentence or two of description, just not the heroine or her children. I honestly don't understand why that is and why it's a thing.

Anyway, this was a fun read with characters I enjoyed and a mystery that wasn't all that convoluted but still satisfactory.
Profile Image for Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews.
2,320 reviews120 followers
August 19, 2018
I enjoyed this book so much I stayed up way too late to finish the book! Thankfully it was a Friday night.

I enjoy a good cozy and I think one of the things I liked best was that the character was around my age. Not that it is a requirement, but sometimes it is nice to see a slightly older protagonist. Plus it had dogs in it...that always hooks me into a story.

As is with most firsts in a cozy, the main character is a suspect to whoever was killed. In this case, it was Lilly's soon to be ex-husband. Typical mid-life crisis by leaving her for a younger woman! But we learn more about Bambi as the story progresses and I wondered about her motivation.

Then there is the soon to be ex's family - I don't know how Lilly put up with them all those years. What self-absorbed and selfish people! If I knew my spouse's family was like that I might not have married into that family especially if he made excuses for them. I think

Lilly's friend Dixie is a hoot! I loved that she came down to see her friend and was there to help her through this whole situation. She is spunky and not afraid to tell you what is on her mind.

I wasn't extremely surprised at the bad guy reveal. There are several clues that might lead you to this character, but the clues are not obvious. I figured out some of the mini mysteries going on in the town.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what happens in book 2 as there are some big changes ahead for Lilly!
February 4, 2019

I had no expectations going into this book. I have read Ms. Burns's previous series and knew I enjoyed her writing, so I just went into the next series blind.

I adored this book. I love the Cozy Mystery genre and the easy to fall in love with protagonists. However, I hadn't realized I missing something more until I read this book. The protagonist is a middle aged woman dealing with real middle aged problems. It was really nice to truly relate on a deeper level.

Lily is a soon to be divorcee. Her husband of 25 years has left her for a woman younger than there children. She had not worked outside of the home for many years, at her husband's request. He has since cut her off financially and is trying get her out of their home as well. So naturally when he turns up dead in a supposed burglary, Lily is the prime suspect. With the support of her children and best friend, she is determined to prove her innocence. It's a very bumpy road but with love and support, anything can be possible.

I felt that this was almost a middle aged coming of age story. Lily finds herself, her determination, and the road to her happy place.

I read this in one sitting. I also had the audio downloaded with the digital copy. The narrator is great. I highly recommend this series. Thankfully, I was awarded an ARC of book 2, The Puppy Who Knew Too Much. I am already 1/3 of the way through and its just as good. This book releases on 2/12/2019.
Profile Image for Ms. Woc Reader.
468 reviews649 followers
August 19, 2018
I wanted to like this one but it was too slow moving for me. This is the second book I've read by V.M Burns and I don't think her writing style is for me. This cozy mystery seemed to put more emphasis on the dogs and the redundant every day behavior of the family than actually solving the mystery. The story became a chore to get through and I know longer cared who killed Lilly's husband. Although the answer was the most obvious. She's not a baker so I don't need to read about her casserole baking and breakfast making. And I know throwing in those replacement words for curse words was supposed to be cute but it wasn't. She's a grown woman with her own adult children. That part just came across as annoying and cartoonish to me. I would've rather the author just wrote that she let out a series of explicits. It especially was out of place in a story that had a character who was a stripper and did not hesitate to call a female dog the b word ; to hear a lady yell rassa-frazzin and other words.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,390 reviews59 followers
August 21, 2018
In the Dog House by V.M. Burns is the debut novel in A Dog Club Mystery series. Lily Echosby is getting a divorce after being married for twenty-five years. Her husband, Albert cheated on her with Bambi Love (I am betting that is not her real name). After a disastrous divorce meeting, Lily meets Miss Florrie on the train home who gives her some excellent advice. Lily reconnects with her old friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Upon hearing what Lily has been going through, Dixie arrives the next morning in her RV with her two Standard Poodles and an adorable toy poodle in need of a home. Lily promptly adopts the endearing puppy and calls her Aggie (short for Agatha Christie). The morning after a disastrous party to celebrate Albert’s grandmothers ninety-fifth birthday, Lily is surprised to find police on her doorstep. Albert was shot by someone who broke into his residence during the night and he did not survive. Since Lily’s alibi will not hold up in court (Aggie), she is the number one suspect. Lily with the help of Dixie, Stephanie (her daughter), and David (her son) set out to find Albert’s killer. When Lily’s next door neighbor is murdered, it leads to her being collared. Can this foursome prove Lily’s innocence and keep her out of prison? Orange is not Lily’s best color.

In the Dog House is a light-hearted, humorous cozy mystery. I thought the story had a steady pace and I found it easy to read. I wish, though, that the author had taken the time to develop her characters. Since it is the first book in the series, I wanted more information on Lily (not just her immediate background). It also would have been nice to have details on the town where Lily lived (I missed the small town feel). A lot of time is spent on the day-to-day activities. I do not need to know every little detail about Lily’s life (cooking, laundry, getting dressed, doing dishes, walking dogs). The mystery is uncomplicated, and the solution was handed to readers on a silver platter. There are limited number of suspects and the pointed clues make solving the crime a cinch. There are cute dog antics and Aggie sounded adorable (I wanted her). I liked that Lily used creative curse words (instead of real ones that offend me), but the same could not be said for Bambi Love. There was a stakeout scene that included dogs that I found amusing. In the Dog House is for the cozy mystery reader who prefers a light mystery with comical antics.

December 4, 2019
So I had all three books in this series and I always wanted to make time for them, so it was a perfect time to do so with the "Read a Series in a Month Challenge." In this first installment, we are getting to know all the players. Lilly is newly separated and in the process of getting a divorce when we first meet her. She has spent her entire adult life taking care of her husband and raising her children and feels she is being traded in for a younger, newer model. However, before the ink gets a chance to dry, Lilly's soon-to-be-ex ends up dead and Lilly is the prime suspect. Her college best friend shows up in town to help Lilly and she just happens to be a dog trainer and this is where the dogs enter. She gives Lilly a poodle who soon becomes her new sidekick and all of them together, with Lilly's attorney daughter thrown in, set out to prove Lilly's innocence.

I could tell right off I was really going to enjoy the characters in this series. Lilly is an older adult starting her life over and I found myself feeling very sympathetic toward her. Also, never having a puppy before, it was fun to see Lilly increase her knowledge of dogs and also grow to realize how much this little pup can help her as she starts a new chapter of her life. Dixie, Lilly's friend, is a very colorful character and was even compared to a larger-than-life Dolly Parton as one point. The mystery was extremely interesting and not too easy to solve. I had my suspicions but the book also kept me on my toes.

Having read several of the author's Mystery Bookshop books and not being solely convinced that I enjoyed them as much as I wanted, I know why I was hesitant to start this series. That being said, I LOVE this series and can't wait to read the rest of them. If you like cozies and pets, then get to reading!
933 reviews17 followers
August 2, 2018
Normally you would want to avoid being in the doghouse, but in the case of this fun, laugh out loud mystery, you will definitely want to make an exception.

With its perfectly balanced blend of suspense, action and laugh out loud humor, In the Doghouse makes for a fantastic read. It is easy to cheer for Lily and her slightly overwhelming friend Dixie (Not to mention fall in love with Aggie and Chyna and Leia ), as they search for who killed her soon to be ex- husband, Albert. The investigation quickly becomes a family affair, with her daughter, a defense attorney, and her son, an actor joining in. Lily even has the chance to do a little matchmaking when a certain blue eyed policeman agrees to help.

Albert’s antics are more than enough for any self respecting woman to WANT to kill him (cheating with bimbo, telling his family they were divorcing because Lily is a lesbian, still expecting Lily to hold a party for his grandmother’s birthday), but Lily certainly didn’t give in to temptation. That means Lily and the gang need to look at other aspects of Albert’s life.

I enjoyed the humor that permeated In the Doghouse. It was the kind that arises naturally when people are thrown together in unusual situations. The dogs were a wonderful addition, and little Aggie in particular had quite the personality. It was a nice to see Lily, her children and Dixie working together. I also liked V M Burns’s portrayal of the police. Even though Lily was the main suspect, they treated her with compassion and respect. The police were professionals focused on discovering the truth, as opposed to stopping once they found a suspect. Put those aspects together, along with a well plotted mystery, you get a winner. In the Doghouse is an excellent cozy mystery that will appeal to those who enjoy humorous cozies as well as animal lovers.

5 / 5

I received a copy of In the Doghouse from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

— Crittermom
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
41 reviews
November 20, 2022
The vitriolic language they use to talk about Bambi, the “bimbo” of this book is wild. Misogynistic, slut shaming, degrading, dangerous language all because this girl had the audacity to be the other woman to a man old enough to be her grandfather. I don’t even care that she ends up being a part of the murder plot, none of the characters had any idea of that until the very conclusion. And the line where the main character, after dehumanizing this girl the entire book for being a stupid, home wrecking, dirty “prostitute” is like “hmmm I try not to be judgmental of sex workers because they’re people just like us” is LAUGHABLE. I prefer my cozy murder mysteries to be lacking the kind of language that gets sex workers literally killed in real life, thank you very much.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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