Not a Creature Was Purring
Paws and Claws Mystery, Book #5
By Krista Davis
Author’s website: www.Kristadavis.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Inn owner Holly Miller finds it ruff staying cheerful over the holidays when the dead body of a beloved businessman turns up in the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia.
Inspired by her German heritage, Holly’s grandmother has arranged for Wagtail to have a Christkindl Market packed with goodies and decorations for the howliday tourists. But Holly’s mood takes an unseasonable turn when she learns that her old flame and childhood friend Holmes Richardson has brought his fiancée home–and she’ll be staying at the Sugar Maple Inn…
A love triangle becomes the last thing on Holly’s mind when her Jack Russell Trixie’s nose for trouble leads her to the corpse of a pet clothing tycoon. Now Holly and her dedicated detectives–Trixie and Twinkletoes the cat–must sniff out the killer to keep Christmas from going to the dogs.
If you are looking for a whimsical read to put you in the Christmas spirit, then Not a Creature Was Purring is the perfect choice. The fifth book in the Paws and Claws Mystery series is still fresh and the best installment yet. Family drama, murder, a little romantic heartbreak, and pets come together to make a fantastic gift for any cozy mystery reader.
Christmas is just around the corner, and Holly Miller and her Inn are busier than ever. The entire town of Wagtail has pulled out all the stops to create a Christmas wonderland. With the Christkindl Market, sneaking around at night in the guise of an elf making Christmas wishes come true, and the arrival of a pet clothing tycoon and his entire family at the Inn, Holly has little time to be distracted by the imminent arrival of her best friend Holmes and meeting his fiancé. Holly quickly learns that not only is said fiancé part of the Thackleberry family, but Norma Jeanne is one of the snobbiest, most high maintenance people she has ever met. Norma Jeanne’s cousins are just as spoiled and out of touch with the real world, and when patriarch Dale is found stabbed to death, the entire family seems only concerned with their inheritance, not solving his murder. The bodies start piling up, and cantankerous Aunt Birdie becomes a suspect. This, along with Holmes’ connection to the family and her genuine fondness for generous Dale, Holly does all she can to help Officer Dave unmask a murderer.
OK, I just have to say it – I so want Wagtail to be a real place. I would move there in a heartbeat. It is a pet lover’s paradise where animals are just as important as people, and pets are welcome everywhere. Of course, all of the pets coexist without incident, and, other than the higher than average murder rate, it seems just about perfect. Davis does a wonderful job of giving detailed descriptions of the town green, shops, and the Inn that I feel like I am right there in the midst of the celebration watching the snow fall while Christmas lights twinkle all around and children sing carols, eating some pretty fantastic food, and lavishing affection on every animal in sight.
There are a variety of recurring characters that I simply love, including Holly, Oma, Holmes, his grandmother Rose, and Mr. Huckle. I even secretly love Aunt Birdie in all her crustiness. We do get to see another side of her here which is quite nice. Holly is a level headed, inquisitive, and intelligent sleuth. I think we could be friends. I admire that she tries to take the high road with nasty Norma Jeanne, but she definitely has more patience with her than I would. At least Norma Jeanne shows her true colors in the end. At times, I wish I could have slapped some sense into Holmes, but series readers learn why he has been dragging out his engagement. The Thackleberry family is hard to stomach – they are so intentionally nasty and narcissistic, especially the youngest generation and Dale’s wife Vivienne, and I eagerly wanted them to be guilty.
The mystery itself is compelling, with an additional murder thrown in to complicate the investigation. I felt compelled to keep reading, at the expense of ignoring chores and family, until the very last page (which, in my opinion, is worth the price of the book). There are some funny moments including a towering Grinch, but there are some poignant moments, too. At one point, Holly overhears Inn employee Mr. Huckle talking to German Shepherd Maggie, who is thought to be very ill, about how Heaven must be a lot like Wagtail. This brought a tear to my eye, and I dearly hope what he says is true.
I adore the Paws and Claws series and hope there are many more adventures to be had and bodies for Jack Russell Terrier Trixie to discover. I recommend this to any fan of quality cozy writing, but pet lovers especially will not be disappointed. Highly recommended.