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December 26, 2023

Are you sitting down? I'm going to recommend a mystery book series that repeatedly breaks my #1 rule about including debunked, outdated, and total BS dog training and behavior details. Shocker, I know. And, yet, these otherwise funny and engaging books have helped me survive a difficult year, and I adore them. FIVE STARS -- Highly recommend. I traded emails with the author to share my angst over those mentions of alpha dogs and being pack leaders and other stuff, so they know where I stand. Why on earth am I writing this? Keep reading to find out what I enjoy these books in the Bought the Farm Series by Ellen Riggs (pssst ... that's a pen name). The author's real name is Sandy Rideout, and sometimes one or both names show up, so don't let that throw you. 

mystery book series photo, books 1-10 of bought the farm mysteries

Dog-Centered Mystery Book Series

I suggest getting the first 10 books in a set (for Kindle, if possible) so that you can go right from one to the next. The Kindle set also includes Book 0, which is the prequel and explains the hero border collie's backstory. His name is KEATS. Yes, like the poet. I didn't realize the books came in sets, so I bought the first few individual books. The set is definitely the way to go, then after Book 10, you need to get books 11-17 individually. Book 18 comes out in August 2024. I've preordered already. So worth it for the hours and hours and hours of entertainment! I've been having SO much fun!

What Do I Love?

The main character (IVY) rescues KEATS from a bad situation (in Book 0). Then, she ends up running a hobby farm back in her home town. The farm once featured prominently in a reality show with the heiress who revamped the farm and renovated the inn onsite. It's a crap-ton of responsibility, with plenty of farm-animal and manure humor.

The books are funny and interesting, and often I have NO clue whodunnit until the very end, and it keeps me reading. I guess I'm not a great sleuth. The mystery book series also features an underlying love story with a bit of a Hallmark movie feel that's super fun this time of year. And, several recurring characters in the books also provide hilarious scenarios, especially, if like me, you know survivalist types with bunkers and stockpiles. Ha!

I enjoy the often feminist and later-in-life perspectives of the mostly female characters in town and in the mystery book series. Plus, there is a time when KEATS needs to rescue his sister. So that's fun since I've met one of Clover's littermates and one of Tori's! (photos below)

Oh, and there's a funny group called the rescue mafia that reminds me of people (I won't name names) who've secretly helped dogs in my community who weren't being cared for properly. As I recall, one got a late-night freedom flight to California to a much better home. 

rox on the beach in VA with Clover's littermate speedy between my feet in 2019

Me spending the day on VA Beach with Clover's littermate Speedy (between my feet) and his brother Dodger in 2019 ... my last work trip before the pandemic

tori and her littermate roo meeting in 2016

Tori in the back and her littermate Roo (who lives with one of my pals) during a visit at our house in 2016

What Makes Me Curse?

Well, in addition to the alpha junk, I also think KEATS is too often allowed to be a snot, nipping people's legs a lot (biting hard, tearing holes, etc.) It gives me flashbacks to foster puppy ACE from summer 2023 (who was absolutely a working dog and NOT a pet -- photo below). KEATS also is forever walking around town off leash. Then, there's the ongoing issue with emotional support dogs often getting rights of access supposedly reserved for working / service dogs. See what you think.

foster puppy ace a BC with high drive

Also, the rescue mafia group's adoption process is insane with off-the-charts, are-you-bleeping-kidding-me, almost-no-one-is-good-enough rules. As a foster volunteer for an open admission shelter with open-minded adoptions that aren't an ordeal, I struggle with such sanctimonious groups, but I suppose that's also reality in a lot of places. I simply worry that it drives people to other less-than-idea sources of dogs. 

I'm currently reading the prior / older series called Mischief in Dog Town, which is comes with a lot more alpha and other baloney that's also mixed up with reward hierarchies. It's kind of a jumble for my personal issues with those topics, so I assuage myself by adding notes on my Kindle like ... bullsh*t or FFS or Ugh!!!

mischief in dog town series of books

Where Do I Suspend Disbelief in the Mystery Book Series?

OMG. So many murders in a small town very close together. It's comical, but each one is different and interesting.

And, Yet With Gratitude

And, honestly, the books have saved me from myself at a tough time this year with the:

For that help of getting me through it all with escapist reading, I am grateful, despite poking a bit about my issues. (ha ha) Hey, there, Sandy! Truly. I'm a fan, and I trust that my readers/fans will 100% understand my intent here. 

These stories gives me something to do and something to think about. So here we are, with me suggesting these mystery books to you, if you're looking for something fun. I trust that you're smart enough to see / skim over the disagreeable parts and enjoy the rest of the details and stories.

New Series Too? 

The newest books are kind of paranormal in nature. They publish in a mystery book series called Mystic Mutt Mysteries, if that's of interest. I've not read those yet. 

Anyway, give some love to the author on Facebook too. I'm sure it'd be appreciated, and the photos of her doodle dogs are so fun. Plus, like me, Riggs / Rideout now lives in the world without a Mommio and could use a boost.  

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

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