In this excerpt, Kate and Rene have gone to the main office of Dollars for Change, the newspaper that employed the murder victim. Kate questions the receptionist while Rene flirts with a male employee to get information.
Rene whispered in my ear. “You take her. I’ve got handsome back there.” She ambled around the room, pretending to examine the assorted newspaper clippings tacked along the wall. She eventually arrived at the coffee area, where she stopped to pour a glass of water.
“Good morning, can I help you two?” asked the friendly-looking receptionist. She wore red oval glasses. They perfectly matched the heart trapped in the center of her spider web tattoo. Her name plate read Tali Rodriguez.
“Hi. I’m Kate, and I sure hope so. This is kind of awkward, but I was hoping to talk to someone in your Human Resources department.”
“You’re looking at it. We all pretty much do everything around here.” She took off her glasses, seemingly confused. “Are you here for a job? You don’t seem like one of our typical vendors.”
“Oh, no, sorry, I’m not. Actually, I’m a friend of one of your vendors, or at least I used to be. He died recently. I’m trying to locate his family, and I thought you might have his emergency contact information.”
I launched into Bella’s story. I basically stuck to the truth, though I may have exaggerated about the direness of her circumstances. I might have even hinted that she only had a day or two left before she’d be sent to the great doggy playground in the sky. I certainly didn’t divulge the fact that I had already spoken to George’s daughter.
As Tali and I talked, I surreptitiously monitored Rene’s progress. She continued to wander around the room, pretending to be engrossed in the posted articles. She made her way to the ponytailed man’s makeshift office, leaned against one of the file cabinets, and started whispering. Not long after, I heard girlish giggles and the deeper voice of an appreciative male.
Did he seriously offer her a cigarette? And did she take it? I couldn’t help but be amused at the thought of Rene, a militant nonsmoker, trying to look sexy while gagging on a menthol light. She leaned in closer, suggestively touching her hair and playfully punching her new friend in the arm. Pulllease. Sidekick indeed. All she would get from this sort of behavior were the guy’s phone number and an embarrassing outbreak of some social disease.
Rene was useless. Our sleuthing success would be solely up to me. I flashed a winning smile, fully expecting Tali to give me everything I requested.
She responded by shaking her head. “I’m afraid I can’t help you. We don’t keep many records here. Frankly, some of our folks have disappeared from their families for good reason. They’d just as soon stay lost, if you know what I mean.”
“Maybe you could connect me to some of George’s friends, then. Did he hang out with any of the other vendors?”
Tali’s reply was firm. “I’m sorry. We don’t give out any information about our staff members. These folks lead difficult lives. Many of them have been traumatized—abused even. I understand your dilemma, but our vendors are finally taking steps to improve their situations. We won’t do anything that could jeopardize that. Unless you have a court order, my hands are tied.”
“But the dog—”
Tali’s courteous tone vanished.
“The dog is irrelevant. Society may not treat these people much better than animals, but they are certainly more important than some dog. Now, I’m busy, so if you don’t mind—” She put her glasses back on and resumed typing.
I was completely out of cash, and I suspected bribery wouldn’t work with Tali anyway. I was about to give begging a try when Rene sidled up beside me and whispered, “I’ve got it. Let’s go.”
Her ponytailed friend stood up in his cubical. “See you at seven, Suzie! I’m looking forward to our date!” Rene grabbed my hand and practically dragged me to the door.
“Suzie?” I asked as we bolted for the car.
“Well you didn’t expect me to give him my real name, did you? I’m a married woman! Now hop in, we’re off to the U district!”
When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
“Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Murder Strikes a Pose, by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davidson, a caring but feist yoga teacher . . . Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!” —PENNY WARNER,AUTHOR OFHOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE
“[T]his charming debut mystery . . . pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn’t put it down!” —WAVERLY FITZGERALD, AUTHOR OF DIAL C FOR CHIHUAHUA
“Three woofs for Tracy Weber’s first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder STrikes a Pose. Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogs—what more could we want? Ah, yes—the next book!” —SHEILA WEBSTER BONEHAM, AUTHOR OF DROP DEAD ON RECALL
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Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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