"A yoga teacher is suspected of murder at a health resort"
Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted January 11, 2015
Mystery Cozy | Mystery Woman Sleuth
I thoroughly enjoyed Murder Strikes A Pose featuring yoga
teacher Kate Davidson and the large dog foisted upon her
after the death of her owner. So I was thrilled when
inimitable characters returned in this second Downward
Mystery - for those not familiar with the term, it's
name of a strengthening yoga pose.
Kate and Bella, accompanied by Kate's new boyfriend
who runs a Seattle pet store, are heading off for A KILLER
RETREAT on Orcas Island where a retreat centre has asked
Kate to teach yoga for a week. The autumn weather is good
on Puget Sound, she's brought Bella's specialist diet and
wedding will be celebrated during the week. What could go
A thunderstorm terrifies poor Bella, who next day takes it
out on a terrier whose haughty female owner refuses to
him on a leash. Michael gets covered in mud saving the
pup's life. The wedding party is composed of as many
tensions as people, and while Kate's delighted with the
vegan restaurant, others throw tantrums over the lack of
meat. Someone else has clearly had enough aggravation
one of the guests, because after teaching her class, Kate
stumbles upon the scene of a murder.
I like the gentle yoga teachings, such as; speak less,
speak the truth, and rather than cause harm, say nothing.
Kate keeps trying to live up to her own ideals but like
rest of us she's not perfect, and sometimes angry words
slip out which she instantly regrets. We can all learn
her experience on Orcas Island. The local police are more
used to straying goats than criminals, but that doesn't
mean they are slow. Kate is potentially in a lot of
trouble. If she can't prove her innocence, her days of
running a yoga studio may be at an end.
With plenty of detail about renovating a health resort
(including bamboo towels) and yoga classes, the account
feels busy and personal relationships provide a further
dimension. Tracy Weber has compressed a lot of life
experience into this tale of a week at A KILLER RETREAT.
The dog lovers among us will be constantly amused while
fans of amateur sleuth stories could hardly do better.
Tracy Weber has really got into her stride so I can
recommend this instalment in the Downward Dog
When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes to
wedding guests at the Elysian Springs resort, she jumps
the opportunity, even though it means being forced to
the wedding ceremony of the center's two caretakers.
Avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate's
problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down
the resort's hot tub, shortly after a loud, public (and
somewhat embarrassing) fight with Kate. The police pick
as their number-one suspect, so she's forced to team up
boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd
sidekick Bella to find the real killer. But they'll have
solve the murder before the police arrest Kate, or her
gig may last a lifetime--behind bars.
ExcerptThis excerpt begins shortly after yoga teacher Kate
Davidson finds a body in the spa at an Orcas Island
The deputy separated the five of us, presumably to keep
us from synching our stories. After allowing me to change
into some dry clothes, he sequestered me in the center’s
library and told me that “Sergeant Bill” would take my
statement shortly. By “shortly,” he must have meant a few
days after Hades turned icy. I paced the small room for
well over an hour, reliving the morning and thumbing
through magazines I didn’t have the attention span to
I should have practiced pranayama or done a few yoga
poses to calm myself, but I couldn’t seem to sit down.
All I could do was pace like a caged tiger, back and
forth, forth and back, thudding my tennis shoes against
the wooden floor in a dull, rhythmic cadence. Hopefully
being a trapped animal wasn’t my metaphorical future.
The police couldn’t think I killed Monica, could they?
I had to admit, from an outsider’s perspective, it didn’t
look good. I didn’t like Monica, that was no secret. My
fingerprints were all over her belongings, not to mention
the murder weapon. I’d even been found yanking on
Monica’s water-soaked body.
Back to pacing. Back and forth, forth and back.
Ninety panicking, fretting, foot-pounding minutes later,
the deputy knocked at the door. “Sergeant Bill’s ready to
talk to you now.”
He led me to Emmy’s office, which “Sergeant Bill” had
commandeered for a makeshift interview room. Sweat
covered my palms and dripped down the back of my neck. I
felt like a paranoid teen on her way to the principal’s
office. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I was convinced
I’d be sent to detention, nonetheless.
“Have a seat Miss, um …” The man sitting behind Emmy’s
desk looked down at his notes.
“Davidson. Kate Davidson.” I hesitated, much too nervous
to sit. “I’d rather stand, thank you.”
His eyes met mine. “I said, have a seat, Miss Davidson.”
It wasn’t a request.
While the sergeant reviewed his notes, I drummed my
fingers on the desktop and took stock of my future
inquisitor. He was short, no more than five-foot-six, and
his pants were held up by a belt approximately two sizes
smaller than his doughy middle. His receding hairline
accented a large, creased forehead.
Nervousness made me goofy—like a dental patient who had
inhaled too much nitrous. I couldn’t suppress a giggle. I
was about to be grilled by the sergeant from Gomer Pyle.
He laid down his notebook and scowled across the desk.
“Something funny I should know about? Personally, I don’t
think murder’s a laughing matter.”
I immediately sobered. “No, of course not.”
“Glad to hear it.” He leaned back and smiled disarmingly.
“This should only take a few minutes.”
He pretty much stuck with the basics at first. He told me
his name: “Sergeant Bill Molloy, but you can call me
Sergeant Bill.” He asked me where I lived, why I was on
the island, what I’d done that morning, and how I’d
happened to come across Monica’s body. His lilting,
almost melodic voice lulled me into a false sense of
I conned myself into believing that Sergeant Bill was
just a good old boy, looking for the truth. Dad said I
should never lie to the cops, so I answered his questions
honestly. But I didn’t volunteer any information. My
recent altercations with Monica had nothing to do with
her murder. Why confuse the issue?
Sergeant Bill took copious notes, nodding and smiling
encouragingly. After fifteen rambling minutes, I
completed my spiel.
“Well,” he said, closing his notebook and laying down his
pen. “I think we’re about done here.”
“You mean I can go?” It couldn’t possibly be this easy. I
never got away with anything.
He shrugged. “I don’t see why not.”
Relief washed over me like water in a warm shower. For
once, luck and the universe were on my side. I stood up,
eased to the door, and rested my hand on the doorknob.
Only two more steps and I’d be free. My mind chattered,
nervously narrating each action in a silent monologue.
OK, Kate, you’re almost there. Stay calm and don’t blow
it. I took a deep breath. Turn the knob to the right. The
latch clicked and released. Open the door. The hinges
squeaked open; a cool breeze caressed my cheeks. As I
glanced through the doorway, the empty hall beckoned me—
coaxed me toward freedom.
Step one foot forward, and—
“You know, there’s only one thing I don’t get about your
The melodic lilt in Sergeant Bill’s voice had completely
Tension spread from my toes to my scalp. I tried to
suppress—or at least camouflage—a mounting sense of
panic. I took a deep breath and turned to face him.
Sergeant Bill leaned forward, elbows on the desk, fingers
laced together. He didn’t look at all friendly.
I forced my lips into a smile and tried to look innocent.
“Why is it that six different witnesses say you
threatened to strangle the victim this morning?”
Sergeant Bill wasn’t smiling anymore. Then again, neither
was I. We stared at each other in silence.
“Why don’t you close that door and sit on back down.”
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