Kneading to Die is the first in Liz Mugavero’s Pawsitively Organic Mystery series. Newcomer Mugavero takes us back to more familiar terrain with this “pet mystery.” In this fine first novel, the characters ring true, and the plot and narration are seamless. The series protagonist is Stan (short for Kristan) Connor, a recently downsized corporate communications specialist from Chicago. After she is unexpectedly ejected from her hitherto fabulously successful career, Stan falls in love with a house in small-town, rural Frog Ledge, and with her generous severance package is able to purchase the property outright. When she moves to the country, Stan doesn’t know quite what to expect, but she certainly doesn’t expect to stumble upon the corpse of the town vet when she first brings her cat to the veterinary clinic. As has already become evident to her, though, wars over animal care are rife in the town. What is the best means of nurturing and treating animals? Traditional veterinary medicine? Homeopathic animal medicine? Stan enters the fray with convictions of her own: she espouses the use of organic products for pet treats, and she cooks wholesome meals for her cat, Nutty. In fact, now that Stan has been liberated from her high-pressure job, she has time to pursue an endeavor that she truly loves: a business baking organic pet treats. Encouraged to peddle her wares at a local farmers market, Stan’s treats are an instant hit. Animals devour them and come begging for more. Unfortunately, however, several animals become ill and Stan’s treats are blamed for poisoning the pets. Clearly, this can’t be true, since her own cat thrives on the treats and has eaten samples from the batches in question. What to do? Stan sets out to vindicate herself by doing a bit of detecting. In the course of exonerating herself, she solves the murder and other attendant crimes, thus contributing to the welfare of the town and its animals. Best of all, she embraces her new way of life. Animal lovers and cozy readers, rejoice!