Big Little Spies (A Paws & Claws Mystery) by Krista Davis Early #Review @BerkleyMystery

Big Little Spies (A Paws & Claws Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th In Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Berkley (April 6, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 045149170X
ISBN-13: 978-0451491701
Kindle ASIN: B0838KLBG1

A pet detective on the hunt for a prominent pooch is found dead, and inn owner Holly Miller has to sort through her guest list for suspects in this all new Paws & Claws mystery in the New York Times bestselling series.

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….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We return to Wagtail, Virginia just in time for the  ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ Pet Adoption Ball being thrown by the Wagtail Animal Guardians or WAG for short. The ladies and their pets have all checked in at the Sugar Maple Inn and Holly, Oma Liesel, Zelda, Mr. Huckle, Gingersnap, Twinkletoes, and Trixie are making them all feel welcome. But they are concerned about another precious pup. The Geman Shepherd of a local retired recently widowed judge is missing. His housekeeper has called in a pet detective but before he can return the dog to the judge, Trixie, Holly’s rescue dog who has a habit of finding dead bodies, finds a dead pet detective. It seems the detective has connections to several WAG members.  There are also several strange things happening that put other lives in peril. It’s time for Holly and Trixie to find out what the heck is going on including who killed the pet detective.

I absolutely love the pet-friendly town of Wagtail. With a new puppy in the house, who we love to take everywhere with us, Wagtail would be a perfect vacation spot. Even a dead body or two is an issue because I love a good mystery and would do anything I could to help Holly crate a killer.

The core group of characters, human, canine, and feline, are so cleverly crafted. They all have huge hearts and love catering to their guest’s needs and having Wagtail become a great tourist destination. They are all engaging and genuine. I get such a kick out of Holly jumping on a golf cart and being quickly followed by Trixie and sometimes Twinkletoes. The pets are not just window dressing they are vital to the story.

We are introduced to several new characters and their pets. I love that Ms. Davis knows this may be confusing at first so she graciously includes a complete list of characters before the story begins. The WAG ladies are a diverse group with their own issues and secrets. They spend a lot of time together and know each other’s quirks and how to work best together but even they don’t know all of each other’s secrets. The judge and his housekeeper also play prominent roles. They also have issues and secrets.

The story unfolds at a very fast pace with subplots tightly tangled with the main mystery/s. There is truly a plethora of suspects with a variety of motives. Twists and turns muddied my thinking several times and just when I thought I had the killer leashed another twist sent me off in another direction and still I was barking up the wrong tree. I was gobsmacked when everything was revealed. The author plotted out a fantastic mystery.

In addition to the marvelous characters and the mysteries they were wrapped in the Sugar Maple Inn serves up a menu of delicious food for its guests. The pet-friendly versions are really interesting and thought-provoking. We don’t prepare special meals for our pooch but there are some great easy-to-make options included in this book. I just may have to try some of them out. A pet cookbook with the recipes from this series would be fun.

Big Little Spies is a delightful addition to this series. The title truly fits. I do get a little melancholy when I reach the final page of books in this series because I really enjoy spending time with these characters. I can’t wait to return to Wagtail. This visit ended much too soon.

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About The Author 

New York Times Bestselling author Krista Davis writes the Paws and Claws Mysteries set on fictional Wagtail Mountain, a resort where people vacation with their pets. The first book in the series is the New York Times Bestselling Murder, She Barked. Krista also writes the Domestic Diva Mysteries and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and sweets. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with dogs, cats, and a hidden stash of chocolate.

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Coming May 25, 2021

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”