Karma's a Killer
A Downward Dog Mystery, #3
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Date of Publication: January 8, 2016
Number of pages: 288
Cover Artist: Nicole Alesi/Deborah Wolfe Ltd
When Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson agrees to teach doga (yoga for dogs) at a fundraiser for a local animal shelter, she believes the only damage will be to her reputation. But a few downward-facing dogs are the least of Kate’s problems when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning.Guest Post:
The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism and organizational politics. As they investigate the dangerous obsessions that drive these groups, Kate and her sleuthing team discover that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like hOMe.
Getting Cozy in the Big City
If you ask five people the key characteristics of a cozy mystery, you’ll get at least six distinct answers. ;-) I’ve grown to believe that what constitutes a “cozy” has more to do with how the mystery feels versus any distinct rules. And the rules that do exist? Well, they seem to get grayer every day. For my part, I love exploring the gray area.
Most cozies have a few key elements in common:
- The story revolves around solving a mystery, usually a murder.
- The (typically female) protagonist is an amateur sleuth—in my Downward Dog Mystery series, a yoga teacher—versus a police officer or a private investigator.
- Profanity is minimized.
- Blood and gore are off-screen.
- Sex is behind closed doors.
- The crime and its resolution take place within a tight-knit community, usually a small town.
I came to Seattle for college at age eighteen and took root as deeply as a hundred-year-old oak tree. My mother loved to tease me about the first and last time she and my father took me home to Billings, Montana for summer break. My friends and I looked so desolate, she felt like she was kidnapping me for a three-month prison camp.
That summer in 1983 was the last time I spent more than two weeks away from Seattle.
Seattle gets a bad rap for being gray and rainy, but the flipside is that you’ll never see a place greener or more lush outside of the tropics. Within an hour or two, you can visit a major university, climb a mountain, go boating, dip your toes in the ocean, ski, attend live theater, shop in a quaint island town, and hang out with a troll holding onto an actual Volkswagen. And don’t get me started on the annual nude bicycle parade…
So even though Seattle doesn’t fit the small-town criteria, it’s a blast to explore in a cozy mystery series. Diverse communities, laid-back residents, and subcultures ranging from eco-sensitive bicycle commuters to Ethiopian immigrants. I have a feeling that my yoga teacher/sleuth Kate will have no shortage of places to explore—or murders to solve—anytime soon.
What are some of your favorite cozy series? Do they fit the criteria I outlined above, or—like mine—do they dance in the gray area?
About Karma’s a Killer:
Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is about to discover that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like om. When she agrees to teach doga—yoga for dogs—at a fundraiser for Dogma, a local animal rescue, Kate believes the only real damage will be to her reputation. But when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning, a few downward-facing dogs will be the least of Kate’s problems…
The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.
And if solving a murder weren't complicated enough, Kate will also have to decide whether or not to reconcile with the estranged mother who abandoned her over thirty years ago. Not to mention having to contend with an almost-bankrupt animal rescue, a cantankerous crow, an unwanted pigeon houseguest, and a rabbit in a doga class. What could possibly go wrong?
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|Tasha & Seattle|