Big Little Spies

Paws and Claws Mystery #7

By Krista Davis


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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


The ladies of the Wagtail Animal Guardians, WAG for short, are in town for a pet adoption charity ball, and Holly is making sure to roll out the red carpet for her special guests. She and her furry best friend Trixie are busy keeping the WAG ladies happy and preparing for the ball when they learn that a retired judge has lost his prized pup.

The venerable citizen has hired a pet detective who has some personal ties to Holly’s new guests. His presence ruffles some feathers, and when the PI is found DOA not long before the ball, Holly wonders if one of the WAG ladies had a motive for murder. To make matters worse, some pet-loving guests of the ball nearly suffer the same deadly fate. Holly and Trixie will have to sniff out the clues and leash a callous killer before they strike again…. (Goodreads)


Big Little Spies, the seventh entry in Krista Davis’s Paws and Claws series, is a pure delight with its complex twisty murder mystery and ideal pet lover’s setting.

I have to admit it, the Paws and Claws series probably has my favorite setting of all of the cozy mysteries I read.  Wagtail, Virginia, is a tourist town that caters to pets and their owners.  There are no cars allowed, every business relates to pets in some way, all of the restaurants have menu items specifically for four legged companions, and even the protagonist’s Sugar Maple Inn allows pets to roam free and has rooms with themed monikers.  I adore it all in its over-the-top-ness and so wish it was a real place.  I would pack up my corgi and head that way in a heartbeat.  If you obsess over your furry family members like I do, this is the mystery series for you.

In Big Little Spies, Holly finds herself once again embroiled in a murder investigation when she and her beloved terrier Trixie stumble across the body of pet detective Seth Bertenshaw.  When Holly finds out he was poisoned and that he has ties to several of her current guests, she cannot help but put on her sleuthing cap.  There are a couple of subplots expertly intertwined with this murder, making the puzzle all the more difficult to solve.  There are so many secrets to uncover, suspects with plenty of reasons to want Seth dead, and twists and turns galore.  I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong, and I did not see the killer’s motive coming.

As much as I admire author Krista Davis’s writing and ability to construct an intricate head-scratcher, I love these characters even more.  Holly is a friendly, trusted, reliable main character, and the supporting cast, including the various guests and pets, are realistically well drawn.  I know Holly and I could be great friends, and I enjoy Rose and Aunt Birdie so much.  There are quite a few new characters in this book that are easy to confuse until you get to know them, but I did not find it too difficult to keep them straight (there is a handy list of characters in the front of the book if needed). 

Big Little Spies is an outstanding addition to the Paws and Claws series, and I highly recommend it to any cozy mystery reader, especially those who enjoy animals that take center stage.  I cannot wait until my next trip to Wagtail.