In Krista Davis’s second Paws and Claws Mystery book, The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer, Holly has just moved into her grandmother’s hotel as co-manager in Wagtail, a resort town that gets its claim to fame from being extremely animal-friendly. As she arrives just in time for Wagtail’s Halloween festival events, a group of ghost hunters filming a program on the ghosts that are supposed to haunt the town fill the hotel. The group is composed of four men, the leader Mark, as well as Felix, Grayson, and Brian who believe in ghosts and one woman, Eva, known as a ghost debunker. In addition, Mallory, known as Mark’s girlfriend, who takes claim for Mark’s accomplishments, shows up despite not being part of the show. That night, Holly’s strange Aunt Birdie calls at 4 a.m. claiming to be dangerously ill in order to test Holly’s devotion to her by timing how long it would take Holly to arrive at her house. In disgust, Holly takes off and comes upon a body in a shallow stream. Turning her over, Holly finds Mallory dressed in a ghost costume that she had not worn when last seen two hours earlier shortly after leaving a bar. Even though the doctor assumes she just fell into the stream due to being drunk, Holly and the local deputy suspect murder.
The problem is that of the ghost hunters, the only ones who knew Mallory, none has an alibi and all have weak motives. By getting to know these people who become her friends, Holly learns that Eva had once been engaged to Mark, but Mallory broke them up. However, the pair has gotten back in touch recently, and Eva comes to Wagtail thinking that they may be about to resume their relationship, only to find Mallory spending the weekend at Mark’s house.
Since everyone at Wagtail has at least one cat or dog, Holly has her Jack Russell terrier Trixie who adopted Holly in the previous book and her mischievous cat Twinkletoes. Trixie goes with Holly everywhere, and both critters have free run of the hotel, where they have become buddies with the pets of the ghost hunters. The pets not only had delightful flavor to the book but help in solving the mystery.
I really enjoyed this book, even more than the previous, Murder, She Barked, which was somewhat uneven in its pace. This book kept me occupied fully from start to finish. The key characters are well-developed, though there are a lot of lesser characters, such as employees of the hotel and a couple other guests, who get a bit confusing. Another detail that I really enjoyed was seeing the work of the ghost hunters and then of Eva’s demonstrations of how many so-called paranormal phenomena can be explained.
Readers of the print or kindle editions of this book also get to enjoy recipes for both human and pets as well!
Jeanie Kanaley performs the narration of this book’s audio version, and I deeply enjoyed this narrator. She has a distinct, gentle voice that I appreciated a lot. She doesn’t make strongly different voices for each character, but she doesn’t need to. I had no trouble recognizing the people in the book, and Kanaley’s friendly voice suits the details of the book well.
I really loved The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer. Just as you think you know the solution, something happens to change that. The conclusion is really satisfying, especially when the dogs help save the day! It’s a cute book, but not sappy, making for a great reading experience. I give this a hearty five stars!
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