Murder at Corgi Country Club
An animal-loving sleuth. A puzzling murder. Nikki, Sonia and their lovable pooches must find the murderer before the wrong person gets collared for the crime.
Nikki Green loves volunteering at the local animal shelter. When the shelter is in dire need of funds, she is on a mission to do everything she can to ensure the doors are kept open, and the pets are taken care of. Luckily, her good friend Sonia Whitter has just the solution. A charity auction at the local country club.
But the auction comes to a grinding halt when an acquaintance of Sonia’s is murdered. Nikki and Sonia put on their detective hats and decide to help the investigation along. But Nikki’s hunky boyfriend, Detective Quinn Grant, would prefer they stop sniffing around.
Nikki, Sonia and their adorable, furry companions, dig up a pile of clues, secrets and enemies. Will they save the shelter and find the murderer before the evidence is buried?
Buy Murder at Corgi Country Club to unleash a twisty mystery today!
Join Nikki, Sonia and their canine companions for a heartwarming, page-turning cozy mystery that will keep you guessing till the end.
Release date: August 26, 2019
Publisher: Independently published
Print pages: 242
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Murder at Corgi Country Club
Sparks of color scattered across the morning sky as Nikki Green parked in front of the animal shelter. Two other cars took up spaces in the large parking lot. The morning shift consisted of Petra, the manager of the shelter, and Grant, one of the employees. Nikki preferred to volunteer in the morning, as that seemed to be when the shelter needed the most help. As Nikki stepped out of her car, sharp barks rang through the air. Many people in the town of Dahlia were still sound asleep in their beds, but the animals inside the shelter were eager to start their day.
Nikki turned the key, that Petra had given her for her early morning visits, in the lock on the front door. The barking increased in reaction to the subtle clink of the door handle.
“Morning friends.” Nikki smiled as she stepped into the lobby of the animal shelter. She turned the lock on the door behind her, then scrunched up her nose. A mixture of animal scents, as well as cleaner fumes combined to create a smell that only the animal shelter had. It wasn’t exactly bad, but it wasn’t exactly good either. Nikki adjusted to it as she headed down the hall to the kennels.
Although Nikki helped wherever help was needed, her heart did belong to the cats and dogs of the shelter. She would visit the cats and often she took the dogs for walks, or just out to play to give them a little exercise. Lately, her dog walking business had picked up, and she hadn’t been to visit as much. She vowed to correct that, as the shelter dogs and cats were just as important to her as the dogs she walked each day.
“Nikki, is that you?” A voice called out from the end of the long corridor that ran the length of the kennels. Although Nikki couldn’t see the source of the voice, she recognized its sweet but frazzled tone.
“Yes, it’s me, Petra. Good morning.”
“Good morning. I’m so glad you’re here. Can you start on the food on that end?
I’ll meet you in the middle.”
“Sure.” Nikki’s response was drowned out by the sound of a hose being turned on. Petra was a bit obsessive when it came to keeping the runs clean for the dogs. Nikki loved that about her. She made sure every animal in her care was not only safe and well cared for, but also loved.
“Hey there, Spots.” Nikki crouched down in front of the first kennel and smiled at the Dalmatian. When he came in as a stray, one of the workers had begun calling him Spots, and the name stuck. “Nobody came to get you yet, huh?” She frowned as she reached through the bars to stroke his ears. “Don’t worry, pal, someone is going to be so lucky to have you.”
Nikki hoped that would be the case. Sometimes it was hard for her to see the animals at the shelter, and then go to the homes of animals that were very loved by their families. It didn’t seem fair that some dogs had a safe and warm home to curl up each night, while others still waited to be welcomed into a family. At least she knew they were well cared for at the shelter.
As Nikki began to dish out food to each of the kennels, the dogs became even more excited. She laughed at their exuberance. When the cup she used to portion the food scraped the bottom of the large bag, she frowned.
“Hey Petra, you’re getting pretty low on dog food.” Nikki tossed a cupful of kibble into the bowl of a mixed Pointer, then looked up at her friend as she reached the next kennel.
“I know.” Petra frowned as she looked down at the clipboard in her hand. Her fingers tightened along the edge of it. “I’m going to try to get some tomorrow.”
“Try to?” Nikki met her eyes. “Do you need me to run to the store for you? I can pick it up later this afternoon.”
“It’s not that.” Petra took a deep breath, her eyebrows furrowed as she looked back at Nikki. “Things are pretty tight right now. Of course, first priorities will be taken care of, such as food and other immediate needs. But honestly, I’m not sure the shelter will remain open after the end of the month. So many of our resources have run dry. Even the vet that allows us to make deferred payments, we’re so far behind now that he can’t continue to offer services.” The breath she drew trembled a little, before she exhaled. “It’s a tough time right now. If it weren’t for volunteers like you, we wouldn’t even still be running.”
“Petra, I had no idea things had gotten so bad.” Nikki frowned as she searched Petra’s eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I thought I had a few more resources I could rely on, and when they fell through, I realized just how desperate we were.” Petra wiped the back of her hand along her forehead and settled her tired gaze on Nikki. “I’ll figure out something, I’m sure. I always do. It’s just a little more dire than usual.”
“If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.” Nikki frowned. She wished she could offer a generous cash donation, but there wasn’t a lot of money in dog walking and pet sitting. It paid for her small apartment, and other needs, but it didn’t leave her a lot to hand out. She had been saving to purchase a piece of land where she hoped to build a house and animal retreat. She hoped the retreat would include dog and cat boarding facilities, a rescue shelter and a small training facility. She could donate some of that money to help out. She just needed to work out how much.
“Nikki, you already do so much.” Petra smiled and shook her head. “Don’t you worry about this. Thank you for letting me vent. Now, I know that Bassie needs a run. She’s been whining all morning.”
“I’ll take her right out.” Nikki stared at her a moment longer, as she searched her mind for a solution. A soft whine from Bassie’s kennel drew Nikki farther down the corridor. The Corgi had been turned into the shelter as a senior dog, but she didn’t act like one. She loved to run and play just like the puppies. As Nikki opened the kennel and crouched down to greet her, a rush of determination flooded through her. She would find a way to help Petra and the shelter, no matter what it took.
After exercising a few of the dogs and helping with some cleaning, Nikki dropped her car off at her apartment, then began to gather her dogs for their morning walk.
Coco, a German Shepherd, greeted her at the door of his house with a drippy smile. “Oh, I see you’ve already been in your water bowl.” Nikki grinned as she crouched down to greet him. Although Coco’s large size and strong frame intimidated some, Nikki knew he was a sweetheart that loved a hug. She put her arms around his shoulders and gave him a gentle squeeze, then clipped his leash on.
As Nikki worked her way through her collection of dogs, she used the time to consider options for the shelter. She could ask her clients for donations, but that wouldn’t likely add up to much. The shelter needed a large infusion of cash, and fast.
Once Nikki had returned all of the dogs to their homes, she continued on her journey to her friend Sonia Whitter’s house. Calling it a house was an understatement, it was a mansion, an estate, with one of the oldest and most valuable homes in Dahlia centered on several acres of property.
Nikki walked Sonia’s Chihuahua, Princess at least once a day. She usually walked her with some of her other dogs, but a few times a week she walked her separately, and Sonia had started joining them. Though she was about fifty years older than Nikki, Sonia had become one of her closest friends, and they both enjoyed sharing the time together. However, that morning as she led Princess along the sidewalk, Nikki was distracted and couldn’t bring herself to gossip about the latest controversy to hit the country club.
Nikki listened to the sound of her own footsteps, as well as Princess’ tiny paws skittering across the pavement. The Chihuahua had more energy than most dogs she walked, and though her legs were tiny she could move very fast.
“Nikki, what’s wrong?” Sonia glanced over at her as she stared down at the sidewalk.
“Huh?” Nikki looked over at Sonia and smiled as she shook her head. “I’m sorry, my mind is somewhere else. How have you been doing?”
“I asked you first.” Sonia raised an eyebrow as she continued to study Nikki. “I know when something is up. You’re never this quiet.”
“You’re right.” Nikki sighed. “I’m not very good company today. I spent a few hours this morning at the animal shelter, and things are so stressful there right now. I just can’t get it off my mind.”
“Stressful? What do you mean?” Sonia snapped her fingers at Princess as the dog sniffed at the edge of a flower garden. “Not in Mr. Palo’s flowers, Princess. No, no! I’ll never hear the end of it.” Sonia huffed and rolled her eyes.
“Over here, Princess.” Nikki gently guided her to a patch of grass along the sidewalk. “Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to keep up steady enough donations. It’s possible the shelter might have to close by the end of the month. I just wish there was something more that I could do to help.”
“Not enough donations?” Sonia waved her hand and laughed. “Oh, that’s no trouble at all.”
“What?” Nikki turned to face her. “What do you mean? Without donations they can’t buy supplies, or continue to pay the vet that treats the animals.”
“What I mean is, that’s a problem we can fix.” Sonia fished her phone out of her purse. “I’ll just make a few phone calls and we’ll have a fundraiser set up in no time.”
“A fundraiser?” Nikki’s eyes widened. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.” “Maybe because you don’t have years of experience running them.” Sonia put her phone to her ear. “Don’t worry, I have every contact I need to get everything going. I also have some things I am happy to donate. We can have it at the country club, they love anything that gets their name in the paper.” She held up her finger and turned her attention to her phone. “Gloria? Oh wonderful, yes. Listen, I’d like to throw a party, are you up for it?” She laughed at the response. “I thought you would be. It’s for the local animal shelter. Yes, and it needs to be put together as quickly as possible. Say, this Sunday?” She paused, glanced at Nikki, then smiled. “I know it’s last minute. But they really need our help as fast as possible. I’m sure we can get it together in time. Great, wonderful. I’ll check in with you later.” She hung up the phone, then snapped her fingers. “Just like that.”
“Just like that, what?” Nikki stared at her with wide eyes.
“We’re going to have an auction at the country club on Sunday, all of the wealthiest people in Dahlia, and probably some from neighboring cities, will be there.” Sonia crossed her arms and smiled. “Pretty impressive, hmm?”
“That’s an understatement!” Nikki laughed. “Wow, this is amazing. I can’t wait to tell Petra, she’s going to be so excited.”
“Oh yes, and do ask her to choose a few cute animals to have there at the party. People just love to see what their money is going to support. The cuter they are, the bigger the checks.” Sonia winked.
“I can’t thank you enough for this, Sonia.” Nikki wrapped her arm around her shoulders and pulled her in for a light hug. “You are amazing!”
“Just promise me that next time something is on your mind, you’ll tell me.” Sonia looked into her eyes. “We’re friends, right?”
“Right.” Nikki smiled as she turned her attention back to Princess. “I guess I just thought I could solve it myself.”
“It never hurts to have a little help.” Sonia whistled at Princess as she headed straight for a nearby mailbox. “Not on Mrs. Pennyworth’s mailbox, not a chance. She’ll have us kicked out of Dahlia in no time.”
“If there’s anything I can do to help with the party, just let me know.” Nikki steered Princess away from the mailbox. “I’m happy to help.”
“If you can get there early on Sunday, I’ll introduce you to a few people. Plus, it never hurts to have an extra set of hands when throwing a last-minute party. Things can get pretty chaotic, pretty fast.” Sonia glanced at her watch. “In fact, I’d better start making some phone calls. Why don’t you go fill Petra in about the party? I can walk Princess home.”
“Are you sure.” Nikki met her eyes with a faint frown.
“Nikki, I’ve told you to stop looking at me as if I’m an old lady, remember?” Sonia narrowed her eyes, then took the leash from Nikki’s hand. “I can handle one little Chihuahua.”
“I’m sure you can.” Nikki grinned as Princess bolted for the next mailbox. “Stop right there, beast!” A shrill shriek emitted from the bushes beside the
mailbox just before a man wielding hedge-clippers stepped out. His towering frame and broad shoulders added to his domineering appearance. “Don’t you dare let that thing wee on my mailbox!” He waved the hedge clippers through the air. “Mrs.
Whitter, I’ve warned you before!”
“Back off, Jerome!” Sonia scooped Princess up into her arms. “Don’t you wave those things at me. I’ll have you in handcuffs before you can blink.”
“Now you’re threatening me?” Jerome growled, then looked over at Nikki. “Could you please inform Mrs. Whitter that it is against the law for her creature to urinate on my property?”
“Well, actually—” Nikki began.
“Don’t you speak to her. If you have a problem with me, Jerome, then you deal with me.” Sonia lifted a thin eyebrow as she met his eyes. “Or perhaps I should just call Mr. Barclay and discuss this incident with him. He might want to know that his accountant is threatening his friends and their innocent canines during his off hours.”
“Now you really are threatening me.” Jerome sighed as he let the hedge-clippers rest against the side of his leg. “I don’t want any trouble, Mrs. Whitter. I just want a wee-free mailbox. Is that so much to ask?”
“Princess would never wee on faux wood.” Sonia sniffed as she looked away from the mailbox. “She prefers real oak, as do most with any taste.”
“Just keep her away from it.” Jerome waved his hand and grunted. “I am going on vacation this weekend, make sure you keep her away from my garden when I’m not here.” He pointed his finger at her then turned back to the bush.
Nikki had to hold back a laugh as Sonia met her eyes.
“See? I can handle things just fine.” Sonia gave Princess a peck on her furry cheek. “Now, go tell Petra the news. We have lots to do before Sunday.”
Nikki smiled as she watched the pair walk off. However, she didn’t walk away until she was sure they were far from Jerome. She turned and took a few steps down the street. All of a sudden, she felt water hit her face. She gasped and jumped back.
“Sorry!” A deep voice called out.
“That’s okay.” Nikki laughed.
“I didn’t see you.” The man held the garden hose in his hand.
“No problem, Geoff. It’s just a bit of water.” Nikki smiled, as she wiped some water from her face.
“Mrs. Whitter isn’t with you today?” Although short in stature, and slim, the man’s sharp features conveyed a sense of authority.
“She was, I just have to rush home to do something.” Nikki waved, before she broke into a jog in the direction of her apartment. She couldn’t wait to tell Petra that the animal shelter might be saved after all.
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