It is Christmas in Wagtail, and Holly Miller is busy getting ready for her first celebration of the holiday in Not a Creature Was Purring by Krista Davis. A few days before Christmas, Holly’s Oma, which is German for grandmother, and her best friend, Rose, break the news to Holly that the Thackleberry family are coming to Wagtail for Christmas. Not sure what ominous warning this entails, Holly is taken aback to learn that they are the family of the fiancee of Holmes, Rose’s grandson and the man Holly is in love with. When Dale Thackleberry arrives, Holly is delighted by this kind, giving man who has been sending lots of presents to Wagtail to deliver to children around the community. Dale owns the Thackleberry company that makes decorative clothes for dogs. But most of his family does not take after Dale’s generosity. His wife, Vivian, steals the tip money that Dale has left on the resistant restaurant table. His grandson Blake behaves lazy and disdainful of everything around him. Granddaughter Norma Jean, Holmes’s fiancee, has such expensive, highbrow tastes that she will only drink Mistletoe Cactus Dew, which comes from the water in the rainforest that lands on the cacti and thus never touches land. No one from Wagtail approves of Norms Jean for Holmes.
As Christmas draws closer, Holly gets summoned to the house of a new resident who has been bothering the town with a giant Grinch in his yard that plays loud music and uses a spotlight. While there, Trixie, Holly’s Jack Russell terrier, follows her habit of finding bodies by locating Dale, hidden stabbed inside the Grinch. And all his odious family can do is fight over his money. But it turns out that there is less of that than anyone expected. And it comes out that Holly’s Aunt Bertie, usually a cranky old woman, has actually been having an affair with Dale for years. However, he has been afraid to serve her with his divorce papers because of the fact that she has a bad heart. So could Aunt Bertie be the murderer?
This book takes us on a wild ride throughout the town of Wagtail, as Holly tries to work on solving the murder with the only police officer in the town. The plot has some creative touches in the mystery and keeps up guessing as we go, giving us first one and then another suspect in the case.
The characters in the book also are creative. I enjoyed seeing Holmes and finally getting to meet his fiancee, who shows herself to be a real piece of work. The character of Blake, aka, The Blakester, also evokes strong feelings. In addition, Holly’s dog, Trixie, and cat, Twinkletoes, are as realistic of characters as the humans. I did wish that the book had described Oma’s dog, who is mentioned without even stating her breed, let alone giving any further descriptions of the dog.
It was a lot of fun to visit the town of Wagtail again. It is so delightful to see all the animals that get along, even though I don’t see that working realistically in real life. Too much conflict would arise with so many animals who are strangers to each other but exist in such close proximity to each other. But for the purposes of this book, Wagtail is a wonderful, imaginative place. I just wish that we could have spent more time visiting the town instead of being given the assumption that we know everything about the town. Some readers might not even have visited Wagtail before, so they likely would not have been as able to appreciate the book as a regular visitor to Wagtail. In addition, the ambiance of the town adds real sparkle to the books.
Elise Arsenault does a good job of performing this audiobook and serving as a tour guide to Wagtail. She has such a happy- sounding voice that she is highly suited to reading the book for us. I find her to be an effective narrator.
I really had fun listening to Not a Creature Was Purring. My trip to Wagtail left me a little disappointed in getting to see the details of the town. But I did really appreciate the interesting mystery. I give the book five stars.
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