A Killer Retreat” is the second book in the Downward Dog Mystery Series by Tracy Weber. The first book in the series, “Murder Strikes a Pose,” was nominated for the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First Novel. It won the Maxwell Award for Fiction. The Maxwell Award is given by the Dog Writers of America.

The series features Kate Davidson, the owner of Serenity Yoga, whose life is anything but serene. She has been invited to teach yoga classes at Elysian Springs resort as part of the wedding festivities for the Center’s two caretakers. She has brought along as her guests, her boyfriend Michael, her best friend Rene and her husband, and her German shepherd dog, Bella.

When Kate finds a wedding guest floating face down in a hot tub, shortly after she has had a fight with her, she becomes a suspect. It is up to her, with help from her friends, to figure out the real killer and clear her name.

As with most good cozy mysteries, characters are critical. Kate Davidson isn’t what you expect to see in a yoga teacher. She is a business woman who rarely takes a break from her business. She obsesses about her dog, Bella, who is suffering from EPI, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. This illness requires a complicated feeding routine three times a day to keep this adopted dog alive. Despite her commitment to her dog Bella, she has a commitment phobia and spends some of the romantic getaway trying to avoid discussing the M-word with her boyfriend.

Tracy Weber’s background includes work as a chemical engineer, an organizational consultant and a group manager at Microsoft. In 2000, she left the corporate world, became a certified yoga therapist and opened her own studio, Whole Life Yoga. Like her protagonist, she also has a German Shepard.

Outside of fascinating characters and an interesting plot, I love it when I read a book for enjoyment and learn something. At Serenity Yoga, Kate teaches Viniyoga, a style of yoga known for its ability to adapt yoga to the needs of each individual student. The information she provided was interesting, but not so much that it detracted from the plot of the story.

If you are interested in learning more about either Yoga or Rescue Organizations for Special Need Animals, Tracy’s website provides information.

Five stars out of five.

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In accordance with the FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge.  I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review.  All they expect is an honest review of the work.