There are so many cozy mystery series being published today that I have chosen a select few to follow. The “Paws & Claws” series by Krista Davis is one of my absolute favorites, and I highly recommend it to all fans of the genre. Although each title can be read as a standalone, I suggest beginning with Book 1, “Murder, She Barked”, if you are new to the series.
“Mission Impawsible” is the fourth installment in this delightful series set in fictitious Wagtail, Virginia, at an inn that caters to pet owners and their furry friends. This time around, main character Holly has to solve a murder in the midst of a pet-based matchmaking event hosted by the Sugar Maple Inn. Because of this event, the town is full of suspects, potential love interests, and adorable animals, making Holly’s search for the killer even more challenging. I happily give this book five out of five thick, savory slices of Bergenost!
What makes this book (and series) so special, you may ask? In my opinion, the single most important element of any mystery is the development of the crime-related plot. It needs to make sense, be intricate enough to not have an obvious solution, but also provide enough clues that the reader can figure it out about the same time as the heroine. “Mission Impawsible” does this extremely well. There are plenty of potential suspects with plausible motivations, plenty of clues (and red herrings) to unravel, and the reveal at the end is logical based on everything that has happened before. I was able to correctly guess the identity of the killer, but not early enough in the book to make the rest of it boring.
Characters are another key aspect of any cozy mystery, and the protagonist of this series, Holly Miller, is ideal. She is likable and funny without being over the top, and is portrayed as intelligent and competent in her job. I especially like the fact that she comes across as a real person, with believable relationship issues and a genuine thankfulness that she lives in a place in which her meals are provided. I tend to be a bit annoyed by those “perfect” characters who are able to whip up a dinner spread for six unexpected guests with only the three random items they find in the fridge. I really appreciate that Holly isn’t the perfect chef and hostess, but the kind of real, everyday woman I can identify with. The other characters (both human and animal) are also well-drawn and entertaining, adding just the right amount of fun and quirkiness to the mix.
Many cozies include recipes at the end of the book; this one is no exception. What makes this section above average is the fact that recipes from the story for both people AND animals are featured. As a bonus, they tend to be reasonable enough (in terms of ingredients and cooking expertise required) that the average person could prepare them successfully.
You can learn more about Krista and her books on her website. To really get to know her, follow her on Facebook. You’ll enjoy author chats, giveaways, and more. If you’re really lucky, your pet might be chosen as an official Wagtail Ambassador and receive a swanky bandanna like the one Musket is sporting!