Amateur sleuth Kate Davidson is a yoga teacher, doula, and 'mom' to a digestively challenged German Shepherd named Bella. Kate also has a penchant for stumbling across dead bodies. In this fourth book in the 'Downward Dog' series - set in Seattle, Washington - Kate finds a man stabbed to death.
As the story opens Kate is assisting with a baby delivery at a facility called 'A Better Birth Associates' (ABBA) - preparing to help her friend Rene give birth to twins in a few weeks. In ABBA's hallway Kate sees Dr. Richard Jones - an ob-gyn/fertility specialist - kissing a nurse who's not his wife.
Handsome, well-coifed Dr. Jones - snidely nicknamed 'Dr. Dick' - lives up to his moniker by philandering, fighting with his rebellious step-daughter Nicole, and yelling at his wife Rachel before her yoga class. So it's not a huge surprise when Kate, attending an event at Lake Washington Medical Center, finds the doctor's body in the ladies room. Even worse, Kate runs into Rachel hurrying away from the scene. Rachel is arrested but Kate can't believe the frazzled woman is guilty - and sets out to find the real killer.
Meanwhile, Kate's boyfriend Michael - a great guy and talented (but messy) cook - brings home two Labradoodle puppies. Michael found the abandoned pups near the entrance to his dog food store, and suspects a well-meaning homeless woman named Momma Bird left them there.
The pups are cute but Kate already has her hands full with German Shepherd Bella - who can only eat enzyme-laced 'smoothies' and won't use the doggie door - though Kate repeatedly demonstrates by crawling through herself (ha ha ha). Moreover, the pups routinely escape their locked enclosure and wreak havoc in the house and yard (they DO use the doggie door).
Even though Kate is busy - teaching yoga, assisting her hugely pregnant friend Rene, and caring for the three dogs - she makes time to investigate Dr. Dick's murder. Kate's list of suspects include Dr. Dick's current girlfriend, his former mistress, his step-daughter Nicole, his medical partner, and a young couple who blame Dr. Dick for the death of their newborn baby.
Other interesting characters in the story include: Summer - who's teaching Kate to be a doula; Betty - who runs a dog shelter/rescue service; Jamar - a guy you wouldn't want to meet if you mistreat animals; Tiffany - a gal who doesn't do yoga but likes the outfits; and Sam - Rene's husband and self-appointed 'healthy food monitor.'
I like Kate's careful preparations for being Rene's doula, her warm interactions with Michael, her dog-rescue adventure, and her loving attention to Bella. On the downside, Kate's 'detective work' is a bit thin.....and it's hard to believe she has a meltdown after a few minutes of hot yoga (Really? She owns a yoga studio!) In the end, the murderer is revealed in a rather unexpected turn of events.....and the puppies have a forever home.
This is a humorous and enjoyable cozy mystery that I'd recommend to fans of the genre.
Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book.