While Phyllis and her friend Carolyn are preparing for a baking contest, her housemate Sam adopts Buck, an adorable Dalmatian who was hit by a car. To thank local veterinarian Hank Baxter for helping the dog, Phyllis and Carolyn bake a batch of doggie treats for his other four-legged patients.
But when they arrive at the clinic, the vet is in the process of being arrested—for the murder of his wife! Convinced that the police are barking up the wrong tree and that someone’s been burying evidence, Sam begs Phyllis to help find the real killer. Joined by Buck, the friends engage in a dogged pursuit of the murderer, who will stop at nothing to muzzle them…permanently.
Phyllis Newsom put her hands over her ears and said, “Oh, my goodness!”
“Yeah, they’re kinda loud, aren’t they?” Sam Fletcher said with a grin. “And enthusiastic, to boot.”
They stood in a cement-floored runway between rows of metal cages filled with dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds, and mixtures of breeds. The air inside the cinder-block building contained an assortment of smells, all of them pungent and none particularly pleasant, but Sam didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he looked as happy as Phyllis had seen him in a while.
Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all, she thought.
When he had first told her that he wanted to get a dog, her immediate impulse had been to say no. A flat, non-negotiable no. And since the big, old two-story house on a tree-shaded street in Weatherford, Texas, belonged to her and Sam only rented a room there, it was Phyllis’s decision to make.
The problem was, Sam wasn’t just a boarder, subject to his landlady’s rules and decisions. The four retired teachers who lived in the house—Phyllis, Sam, Carolyn Wilbarger, and Eve Turner—had become more like family over the years. They were best friends as well, and in Sam’s case, Phyllis had to admit that the two of them were more than just friends. She couldn’t just dismiss what he wanted out of hand.
Because of that, she found herself in this big, smelly, noisy room full of barking dogs.