Wednesday 20 May 2020

Bells, Tails, & Murder: (A Dickens & Christie Mystery #1) by Kathy Penn

Bells, Tails, & Murder: (A Dickens & Christie Mystery)
A Cotswolds village . . . a grieving heroine . . . two furry sidekicks . . . and a murder!
Do you like heroines who’ve lived a little? Who’ve suffered life’s ups and downs but kept on trucking? Then you’ll love Leta Parker and her new friends in the Cotswold village of Astonbury.
When tragedy strikes Leta Parker’s life, the successful banker and closet sleuth chases a lifelong dream to retire to England. Leaving her friends and neighbors in Atlanta, she settles into Astonbury with her talkative dog and cat, Dickens and Christie. 
Picture her driving a refurbished London taxi to the bookshop and the tearoom, enjoying leisurely walks with Dickens the dog, and sipping coffee in the garden with Christie, her sassy cat.
When Leta stumbles across the dead body of a new acquaintance, her inner Nancy Drew comes out. Before you know it, she’s enlisted the help of Wendy, a retired English teacher friend—and even Wendy’s elderly mum.
Two whipsmart retirees, one spunky senior citizen, and a feisty dog and cat are on the case!
Who better to unearth clues from their friends in the village? Even Dickens and Christie get in on the act gathering intelligence from their four-legged friends and pointing out the obvious to Leta.
What do authors A. A. Milne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and J. M. Barrie have to do with all this?
Is their connection with the Cotswolds merely an interesting bit of trivia, or is it more? Will Leta and Wendy let their literary noses lead them astray?
You’ll be captivated as this unlikely team chases clues and ferrets out a long-buried secret—a scenario that would make any BBC cozy mystery producer proud.  No matter the clues uncovered by Dickens and Christie, you’ll be hard-pressed to guess who the villain is unless, like Leta, you’re able to “talk to the animals.” 
Grab a copy of Bell, Book, and Murder today—book one of a new and finely crafted Cozy Animal Mystery Series by author Kathy Manos Penn.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Bells, Tails, and Murder by Kathy Penn is a TREAT for all readers !!  This is the first book in her Dickens & Christie Mystery series and it will knock your socks off !!!
I will warn readers that you will be sad for a quick minute when you start reading this book.  When you begin you are with Leta and her husband, Henry, while they are enjoying a bike ride unfortunately Henry is in an accident and dies.  Fast forward, or in this case, turn the page, and you are with Leta who has moved from the States to the village of Astonbury in the Cotswolds in England.  She has purchased an old schoolhouse turned into a quaint cottage, made a bunch of friends and is getting ready to pick up her dog, Dickens and cat Christie from the airport....and boy do they have a lot to say !!  
The Dickens & Christie Mystery series has a unique twist in that Leta can understand and talk to animals !!  As you read Bells, Tails, & Murder you will love the conversations Leta has with the two pets as well as other animals in the story.
After you get use to Dickens and Christie carrying on conversations with Leta, you are heading to a cocktail party at The Olde Mill Inn with Leta and Dickens.  Dickens, you will see, gets to tag along with Leta as a lot of places welcome dogs in the village....some even accommodating with dog beds throughout them.  Anyway Dickens is a big hit at the party with everyone and we get to meet a lot of Leta's friends.
The morning after the cocktail party Leta decides to take Dickens for a walk by the cricket pavalion but as soon as they get out of the car, Dickens takes off behind the building and won't stop barking !!  When Leta finally catches up to him, he is beside a person laying head down on the ground.  Leta determines that the person is dead and also the identity.  It is Alice who is a friend of practically everyone in the village as well as housekeeper, baker and maid for Leta and others in the village including The Olde Mill Inn.
Leta teams up with Wendy and her mother Belle to try to find out who killed Alice and why. When the three go to Alice's place to check on her cat, they find the place has been ramshacked and Leta sees some of her knick knacks there.  They come to find out that other people have things missing when they look.  When Wendy's brother Peter is involved in an accident and Leta finds an old book of Bella's on a bookshelf in the Inn, things get dicey for Leta.
Readers will love digging into this book.  And you will have no trouble keeping track of the main characters in the story because Penn has provided you a list of characters with descriptions in the front of the book....sorry she doesn't tell you who the murderer have to work with Leta and crew to figure that out.  

Review by Missi M.

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