Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass by Heather Day Gilbert (review)

belindablake1_gilbert_kensington copyBelinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass is the first in author Heather Day Gilbert’s new Exotic Pet-Sitter cozy mystery series. When I first heard of the series, I was drawn in by the description, warmed up to it a bit more by the fantastically fun cover, but hooked because of the author.  Having thoroughly enjoyed her Viking historical novels, I was definitely up for giving her new cozy contemporary mystery a try.  And what fun I had “trying” it, right up to the very end.

Belinda isn’t the happily married, successful Blake sister on the cusp of motherhood.  No, she’s the Doc Marten-wearing, video game reviewing one who is less socially adept.  But she has lucked into a rare rental, a carriage house in upper class Greenwich Connecticut. Perfect for her endeavors as an exotic pet-sitter, but when murder occurs in her back yard, Belinda is quickly out of her element in dealing with the family from the main house.

Investigating the murder with the help of the scion of the Carrington family, Belinda finds that her pluck and doggedness are brought to the fore.  Her investigation is interesting and entertaining, as her current exotic charge comes into play and more than one possible romantic interest (and future opportunities to explore those possibilities as the series continues) is introduced.

Belinda is just off-center enough to be awkwardly relatable and the various suspects and other players, including the pets in Belinda’s charge, add variety, interest, and keep the plot hopping.

A very enjoyable start to a new series and I’m looking forward to reading more. If you are a fan of contemporary cozy mysteries, the Exotic Pet-Sitter series might well become a new favorite.  Along with the fun titles and adorable covers, it’s a light read with just the right amount of depth and heart.


Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery, #1) by Heather Day Gilbert | Lyrical Underground, June 25, 2019 | ebook, 192 pages

This review refers to a digital galley read through NetGalley, courtesy of Kensington Books.  All opinions expressed are my own.

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .  
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . .




6/25/19 4/11/19 5/16/19 Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass Gilbert, Heather Day Kensington

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