A Twist in the Tail   

The Oyster Cove Guesthouse, Book #1

By Leighann Dobbs

ISBN: 9781786817266

Author’s Website: leighanndobbs(.)com

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


‘Talk about inconvenient. Not only did I have a dilapidated mansion and no money to repair it with, two cats I had no idea how to care for and a room full of cranky guests waiting for their breakfast, I also had a dead body on my hands.’

Josie Waters has to admit she may have acted a bit hastily when she agreed to purchase the Oyster Cove Guesthouse – a charmingly gabled Victorian mansion on the breathtaking Maine coast – from elderly family friend Millie Sullivan. But Josie was desperate to flee Ohio and in particular her ex-husband, a chef who loved his job so much he left her for it. And anyway, how hard can running a guesthouse be?

The truth is, Oyster Cove Guesthouse is a mouldering money pit with falling-in roof and a cohort of regular guests who are as mischievous as a litter of kittens. And Millie keeps dropping by to dispense unasked-for advice. And Josie might have made a mistake in promising to adopt Oyster Cove’s two resident cats Nero and Marlowe, and treat them in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. Josie has never had a cat before… let alone two feisty felines who think they own the place.

Ok, it’s not going well. At least it can’t get any worse, Josie thinks. Until her first guest ends up dead. (Goodreads)


Any book with cats is a winner in my book, especially the cats in A Twist in the Tail by Leighann Dobbs. Book one in her new series, The Oyster Cove Guesthouse, is a purely delightful way of being introduced to the writings of Ms. Dobbs. Not only do we have the story told from the point of view of an amateur sleuth (Josie Waters) but also from a couple of feline sleuths (Nero-a tuxedo and Marlowe-a tortie) as well!

The story begins with Josie Waters contemplating what to feed the guests at her newly acquired Oyster Cove Guesthouse on the coast of Maine. It goes downhill from there.  Only four of the five guests have made it to breakfast. And a pity since the missing guest, Charles Prescott complained the previous day about the eggs. So Josie got it right today… and he does not show up!!! The resident cats are a bit pesky this morning, trying to get her attention while she is serving the guests but…finally getting Josie’s attention – they lead Josie to a part of the inn that is under extensive renovations. And what does Josie find – you guessed it – a body. In fact, the body of her missing guest Mr. Charles Prescott.  This is not going to bode well for her reputation as an innkeeper. Nor as a free woman as it looks like Josie is the prime suspect. Can the sleuthing cats, Nero and Marlowe find the evidence to exonerate Josie in time?

It was fun to read a cozy mystery with both the human and the pets as the sleuths. There were two different points of view and it was enjoyable watching these two points intersect and drive Josie to the right path. 

Early on Josie described cats and her budding relationship with Nero and Marlowe – and I thought it apropos to reprise her thoughts:

Cats are snaky and can get into anything. Couldn’t they? I wasn’t exactly sure. I’d only owned the guesthouse, and thus the cats, for a short time, and had no idea what those furry little monsters could get up to. They’d been fairly well behaved so far, but the way they stared at me-with their luminous, intelligent eyes-always made me feel like they were up to something behind my back. I didn’t have much experience with cats but Millie had assured me they made great companions. Thus far, I’d been too busy learning the ropes of running the guesthouse to spend time getting to know them.”

Meeting the group of cats was enjoyable and I appreciated how Nero described them all when first introducing them:

  •     Poe – a solid gray cat
  •     Stubbs – an orange stripped cat
  •     Boots – a black cat with white paws
  •     Harry – a large fluffy Maine Coon
  •     Juliette – a fluffy gray cat with a white diamond on her forehead

And each cat had their own, distinct personality. For example, Stubbs said:

Heard someone got iced up at the guesthouse,” Stubbs said. He was prone to using hard-boiled detective slang and Nero often thought that Stubbs’ owner must read too many Dashiell Hammett novels aloud.”

As with any cozy mystery, there are many potential suspects with and as both the cats and Josie wade through the list, the reader is led through a series of little adventures and twists and turns. It was a fun journey. I also am happy to report that I was stumped until the end as to whodunit. And frankly, that is the way I like my cozy mysteries!

I must say – the cover of the book is so cute! And the descriptions of what the Inn looked like and even the countryside view from the window of the Inn that are given throughout certainly were vivid…it was like I was there.

As this is the first book in the series, I cannot wait to get my hands on book two, A Whisker in the Dark, and begin reading that title!

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*