Leighann Dobbs comes to the blog today with the first in her new series, The Oyster Cove Guesthouse
A Twist in the Tail
Set on the Maine Coast, the Oyster Cove Guesthouse came with much more than Josie, newly divorced and back in town, ever expected. From the renovations that are desperately needed, to two cats, Nero and Marlowe are in residence. When you add in the fact that her mother and Millie, the former owner of the guesthouse are currently wreaking havoc and getting into every sort of adventure (and crime) in town, she’s also got a nonagenarian maid in Flora, who seems never to clean but Josie just can’t seem to let her go. And, while Josie knows good food and was married to a reasonably well-known chef, her culinary prowess is basic at best, perhaps a bit optimistic for her hopes for the guesthouse under her watch. But, there are other things to worry about now, as one of the guests is found murdered in her basement by a rather overzealous code enforcement officer after the cats alerted them to the body. It doesn’t help that the victim is (or was) a well known and perpetually snarky food critic, and a piece of what may have been a ‘bad review’ was found in his room by the police.
Told in two major points of view, we have Josie’s struggles with the B & B, her mother’s increasing involvement in potentially dangerous situations with her best friend Millie, and simply getting the work done and paid for on the Guesthouse building proper. Then we have the conversations between Nero and Marlowe, as Nero tries to educate the ‘youngster’ in all things sleuthing. Nero, for his part is an intriguing character, having existed and lived in the Guesthouse for far more years than a cat should, with Marlowe still being ‘kittenish’ at near ten. There’s a peculiar magic in the ‘cat convos’ that point to clues and possibilities as well as a very strong sense to anyone that has had cat companions that they are judging EVERY move you make. For these two certainly have that in spades. When you add in Millie and Josie’s mother, the return of her grade school nemesis and brother’s best friend Mike as her handyman, and the finger inevitably pointing at her as the culprit, as it seems clear from a rather cursory search by the police that suspects are few on the ground, and the story takes several interesting side-trips with the cats and people on the way to finding the real murderer.
First books are often an incredible balance of introducing and outlining characters while providing those twists that make them intriguing and to be sure you want to read more. Bearing that in mind, Dobbs gives GREAT intro, and adds so many layers to the more ‘standard’ pet involved mystery that I’m totally hooked. The cats as characters are as fully developed and nuanced as humans, and are easy to visualize. Introducing Josie, her Mum and her best friend Millie, as well as the other characters around the inn are wonderfully presented and developed with care: and each encounter adds yet another layer and level to the building up of a picture one can take of this small coastal town. While the mystery itself was fairly simple to solve, it was the characters that helped to make this a wonderful story with enough tease of more to come. A wonderful installment to this series that promises to be a fun set of feel-good cozies.
Title: A Twist in the Tail
Author: Leighann Dobbs
Series: The Oyster Cove Guesthouse #1
Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 16 May, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble
From the award-winning author of the USA Today bestselling Mystic Notch Series…
‘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.
A joy to read, with a twist you’ll never guess! A page-turning new mystery series from a bestselling author, purrfect for murder mystery fans, cat lovers and everyone in between.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.