The action in this cozy takes place in and around a boutique store, where pet clothes and handmade treats are sold. The idea is original and lends a good deal of humor and interest. Dogs dressed in coats might be familiar to most readers, but it's likely that not too many readers have thought about costumes for cats, let alone guinea pigs and iguanas. They're all here, and both the pets and their owners have personalities that are well-drawn and individual. The plot moves along well, and the partnership between Izzy (the pet boutique owner) and Sean (the lawyer) is solid and helpful to their friend Rena, whom the police suspect of murder. As they continue the investigation, suspects are identified one by one and then eliminated until a solid case is built. It all works very well and offers a good deal of suspense.
The one point I missed was more presence from the police. They drop out fairly early in the investigation, and this absence seems to weaken the need for Izzy and her friends to continue their work. However, it's a good start to the new series, and I look forward to the next installment. The pet boutique and preparation for the "Halloween Howl" are a great backdrop for the mystery.