Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Aloha to Krista Davis and MURDER, SHE BARKED - Book Review


The Sugar Maple Inn in Wagtail, Virginia, is the country's premiere vacation hot spot for pet owners who can’t bear to leave their furry friends behind. But this tourist town smells trouble when a killer goes on the prowl....

Holly Miller's life has gone to the dogs. She has no job, her boyfriend's former flame is sniffing around, and a scruffy but loveable Jack Russell Terrier is scattering crumbs all over her borrowed car. Just when she thought things couldn't get worse, a troubling phone call about her grandmother sends her rushing home to the family inn on Wagtail Mountain.

The staff—and a frisky Calico kitten named Twinkletoes—adopts Holly and her new dog on arrival. But someone in this friendly town is bad to the bone. One of the employees at the inn has been killed in a hit-and-run accident—which is looking anything but accidental. Now Holly and her furry companions will have to nose out the murderer before someone else gets muzzled.

Military families enjoy Dog Beach near Pearl Harbor

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Krista Davis is a veteran writer with nine books from her Domestic Diva Mystery series.  She adds to her resume with MURDER, SHE BAKED, Book One in the Paws and Claws mystery series.  The new series features Holly Miller, an unemployed fundraiser in Washington, DC.  She abruptly leaves dinner with her boyfriend, Ben, when she receives a telephone call that her grandmother, Liesel, is ill.  Holly drives several hours in the rain, rescues an abandoned dog, and reports a fire on the outskirts of Wagtail - a sleepy mountain town which has morphed into a pet friendly resort.  

Holly treasures her memories of summers spent at her grandmother's inn. Yet she is taken back by the modern expansion and the unprecedented crime that has occurred. Liesel acknowledges something is amiss in Wagtail and suggests they investigate together.  Liesel's friend, Rose, balks at this suggestion, claiming Liesel has watched one too many episodes of MURDER SHE WROTE, hence the name of the book.

Holly takes on the role of amateur sleuth while training her new dog, Trixie, and contemplating the future of her relationship with her DC boyfriend, Ben. As she pokes around town, she reacquaints herself with friends she made during her childhood vacations. In fact, Davis introduces many characters in MURDER, SHE BARKED which could be overwhelming for one book.  Yet Davis is building the foundation of character development for additional books in the series. Likewise, the plot is burdened with multiple story lines ... but the action kept my attention. I was surprised by how the mysteries were solved.  
The creme de la creme of MURDER, SHE BARKED was the close relationship between Holly and Liesel. Davis pays tribute to Liesel with cultural references to her Germanic heritage.

Recommended read for fans of cozy mysteries, small towns, independent heroines, and four legged pets!

Resident cat at the Byodo In Temple

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about a "pet friendly" resort - would you take your pet on vacation with you?  My cats are too independent to travel with me.  I would enjoy having a resident cat at the resort!

2. Comments are open through Saturday, February 27, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, February 28.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Books 2 and 3 in the series ... 


  1. I'm without pets, but the cats have always stayed home. I know what you mean by independent.

  2. No my cat wouldn't love that

  3. We've always had excellent boarding facilities no matter where we've lived. They always had such great times, that the dogs would get excited when I'd turn onto the road!!!

  4. My cat does not like to travel at all, she cries the whole trip, so incredibly sad! I guess she's a real homebody :)

  5. None of my pets enjoy traveling so we always leave them home :)

  6. No pets, so not an issue for us.

  7. My cats do not like to travel. A dog would though

  8. I have no pets, but our son has taken his dog with him on some of his travels.

  9. My fur baby hates traveling he's a home boy

  10. I don't know that our cats or dog would enjoy that. I would love a resident cat, though!!

  11. We had to travel from MS to PA with our beagle - it wasn't a happy experience. Poor thing got sick but that could have been the tranquilizer we got from the vet thinking it would help. We went to breakfast at a hotel that allowed animals and heard her howling because the maid tried to clean the room lol

  12. We took our dog Sandy on several trips with us. We have not taken our current pup Wyatt on a trip yet. I am sure we will though.

  13. we used to take our dog camping, but it really depends on the animal - some love riding in a car, others don't

  14. We have had cats and dogs for years. Currently we have 3 dogs, a snake, and a peacock. We do not take our pet on vacation with us. We love them, but dragging them around with us is not our idea of a vacation. There are lots of places they cannot go and leaving them in a room or vehicle is not an option. Resident pets at resorts would be OK and would be nice.

  15. We usually leave the cats and dog at home, however one of the cats and the dog might do really well going on vacation depending on where we go. The other 2 cats would be miserable.

  16. Training a new dog is enough work besides taking up sleuthing! Sounds like a cute read.

    My husband and I have traveled with our husky before. Northern Minnesota has beautiful lakes and trails which is a perfect hiking vacation for bringing a four legged friend along.

  17. I don't know anything about pet friendly resorts. Have no pets.
    Patty B43

  18. We have always had pets and no we do not take them on vacation with us. Traveling with them when we PCS is bad enough. Vacation is a time to get away form everyday life, relax, and enjoy. Dragging dogs, etc. all over the country doesn't fit. Plus in most cases they really wouldn't enjoy being stuck in a car or motel room much of the time.
    For those who like to take their pets with them, resorts that are pet friendly are perfect. It is also nice when resorts have "resident pets" for us all to enjoy.

  19. I don't know anything about pet friendly accomodations.
    Karen T.