STAY CALM AND COLLIE ON is the first in the Lane Stone’s Pet Palace Mysteries.
Buckingham Pet Palace is known for treating dogs like royalty-until murder dethrones its good reputation!
As owner of an upscale doggy daycare and spa, animal-lover Sue Patrick pampers pooches for the most elite clients in Lewes, Delaware. Surely she can survive a weeklong visit from Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, her well-to-do business partner from England. But before Sue can serve her guest a spot of tea, she discovers more-than-a-spot of blood inside the company van-and all over the driver’s dead body . . .
Someone abandoned the van full of dogs at the Lewes ferry terminal and got away with murder, leaving Sue and Lady Anthea pawing for clues. With a fundraising gala approaching and Buckingham Pet Palace facing scandal, can two very different women work together to fetch the culprit from a list of dodgy suspects-or are they heading toward a proper disaster?
Book two, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL PUG, is available for pre-order now.
“Sue! Hi!” My customer gave the Buckingham Pet Palace lobby a furtive once-over. “Is she here?”
No need to say who she was.
I propped my elbows on the reception counter and lowered my voice like I was about to reveal news to her and her alone, secrets people would kill for. “Her flight from Heathrow landed on time. She flew into Dulles. The driver called me from there and then again when they crossed the Bay Bridge.” I was happy to indulge her curiosity with minute details; after all, I had worked long and hard to get everyone in Lewes, Delaware talking about Lady Anthea Fitzwalter. The whole town seemed to be looking forward to the first visit of our very own royal personage.
“Good afternoon, Lydia.” My head groomer, Mason, joined us, leading a geriatric beagle. He handed our customer the leash, then pivoted to give me a tired, put-upon nod.
“Thanks for fitting us in. I wanted Loopy to look his best for Friday’s gala.”
Mason turned back to her and managed a weak smile. I telepathically dared him to point out that the beagle looked pretty much the same after a groom as before, the exception being the Union Jack bandana Loopy now wore. Though only in his mid-twenties, Mason was one of the best dog groomers in Delaware. This particular dog had hardly been a challenge, still I complimented him on a job well done. But received no acknowledgment.
“You look tired,” she cooed. Bingo! That’s what Mason was longing to hear.
“Exhausted. You have no idea.” Mason reached a toned and heavily tattooed arm down to give Loopy one final behind-the-ear scratch, then dragged himself away, calling over his shoulder, “I did teeth and glands.”
She turned back to me. “Sue, is he okay?”
“He’s loving every minute of it.” Mason’s hangdog expression hadn’t fooled me at all. He tells me weekly that he’s an artist. On Saturday he told me he was suffering for his art. I slid Lydia’s credit card slip across the counter and showed her where to sign. “Both of my groomers are booked solid getting all the dogs ready for the gala.” Abby, my Standard Schnauzer, still needed to be groomed. It was only Monday, so I wasn’t worried. I discreetly tucked the receipt into a cellophane bag along with a gluten-free dog treat in the shape of a blow-dryer.
She patted her shoulder bag. “I have my invitation right here. Engraved, even. Oh, my. Very nice.” She paused in her quick sentences. “Might we see Lady Fitzwalter during the week here?”
“Oh, yes. She’ll be in and out all week. Drop by anytime for tea.” I pointed to the table of Twining’s tea and Wedgwood mugs, which we have out every day. Our usual fare of Walkers shortbread had been replaced by the more labor-intensive clotted cream and scones. Of course, the Savannah Road Bake Shop had done the heavy lifting in baking the pastries. I’d purchased the clotted cream from a British specialty grocer in Wilmington. Though Walkers sported the coat of arms and the words, By Appointment HM the Queen, showing their Royal Warrant status, I wanted something special for my co-owner’s visit.
Our contract allowed Buckingham Pet Palace to use her likeness and her name, but Lady Anthea had gone above and beyond that with her frequent emails, sometimes asking astute business questions, sometimes attaching photos for me to use. I appreciated all she’d done to make the Pet Palace a success and I wanted her to know it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lane Stone lives in Alexandria, Virginia and Lewes, Delaware. She writes the Pet Palace Mysteries and the Tiara Investigations Mysteries. When not writing she enjoys characteristic baby boomer pursuits: travel and volunteering. She serves on the board of the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation, on Georgia State University’s Political Science Department Advisory Board, the External Advisory Board of Northern Virginia Community College’s Braden Center for Women, Gender and Social Equity and as co-president of the Alexandria, VA branch of American Association of University Women.
She holds a post-graduate certificate in Antiquities Theft and Art Crime.
Learn more about Lane and her books at: