Pet & Christmas Mysteries By Sofie Kelly and Amber Camp

Nov 11, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

We have a pair of animal related mysteries this week and one of them even involves Christmas-Paws to Remember by Sofie Kelly & Trotting Into Trouble by Amber Camp. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of both books and links to purchase them from Amazon at the end of each review–you may not see those links if you have adblocker.

Paws to Remember by Sofie Kelly
Review by Sandra Murphy

When a young woman disappeared thirty-six years ago, everyone assumed she’d run away. She was pregnant, pressured to give the baby up for adoption, and wouldn’t tell who the father was. The problem was, her car was found in a ditch off a snowy road. There was a sighting at the bus station – but how did she get there? Can a case that old be solved?

The artists’ cooperative building is old and in need of repairs but a cold snap, cold for even a Minnesota December, bursts a pipe and ruins the drywall. Maggie, who runs the co-op, calls on Kathleen and her cat Owen for help when a rat is discovered. They’re also on hand when a body is found inside the wall.

Knowing the last time the building had that kind of work done was almost 40 years ago, it’s logical to assume the body is of the missing girl, Lily Abbott. Although Kathleen’s fiancé is on the case, Kathleen is asked to look into the case by a woman who has a vested interest in the outcome. It’s nothing dangerous, just a few questions – or so they think. One possible clue is a half heart necklace, common years ago where each of the lovers wore it as a reminder of the other.

Kathleen has helped Marcus solve a few cases in the past but none as old as this one looks to be. If it is Lily, some witnesses have moved, have forgotten details, or have died in the meantime. Kathleen and Marcus are planning a trip to Boston to be with her family for Christmas and are running into one obstacle after another. The case proves to be equally frustrating. Will they be able to solve a mystery that’s been long buried? And at what cost?

This is book 15 in the popular series, most reviewed in KRL. Kathleen is the dependable friend you’d call in an emergency, the one you’d want to go shopping with, or to have chocolate pudding cake with (not sharing) at Eric’s diner. Her friends would welcome you to join them. As Kathleen is the librarian, she’s at the heart of the town. Although her cats have magical abilities, it enhances the story rather than distracting from it. And in this book, readers will get to know Fifi, the male dog who lives next door and is afraid of the cats. What more could you want? A good mystery, a cat, and a dog.

Trotting Into Trouble by Amber Camp
Review by Sandra Murphy

Mallory runs a horse rescue and rehabilitates abused horses. Some can be rehomed, some can be used for riding lessons, and some just need time to recover. Ruby, the newest resident, was starved and dehydrated—then she came down with colic which can be life-threatening.

In the midst of that situation, a man stops by to adopt a horse and Mallory recognizes him as her old high school coach. Since none of her horses are available, he leaves, griping all the way to his truck.

When there’s a report of a horse running loose, the Sheriff asks for Mallory’s help in the capture before it gets into traffic and is injured or worse. It’s also hunting season which adds another layer of danger. Before she can catch the horse, a drunken hunter crashes through the bushes, runs into her, and mumbles about a dead body before passing out.

Mallory calls for help and goes after the spooked horse. She finds both the horse and the dead body in question. It’s Coach Griggs.

She’s just helped the Sheriff solve the murder of her next-door neighbor and so is understandably curious about Coach’s killer. She receives threats, her tires are punctured, a message is scratched into the paint, and her fences are cut. It’s time to figure out who killed Coach and why to be done with threats, harassment, and danger.

This is the second book in the series. I like Mallory. She is a risk taker but not the type to put herself into harm’s way on purpose. Her helper, Tanner, is always ready to do whatever it takes with the horses and now the murder too. Mallory’s almost-romance with Andy has its problems but also has potential. Of course, the star of the book is Biscuit, the resident donkey. In this case, he has competition with Timmy, a little dog with a big personality and bigger voice. He has teeth and isn’t afraid to use them. Luckily for Mallory, he’s just visiting but readers will hope to see him again in future books.

Love animals, horses in particular? Camp knows horses. Love a good mystery? She knows mysteries too. Her books are a thoroughly good read. Canter With a Killer is the first in the series and was reviewed in KRL.

To enter to win a copy of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “pets & christmas” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 18, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I’ve been keeping up with Sofia’s series.
    the other would be new. Sounds good too.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. I’ve been reading both of Sofia’s series. The other one sounds like a good series to start. Count me in!

  3. I love the Magical Cats series. The other is new to me, but books with animal themes are always so cute.

  4. Sounds like two great books
    Would really like to read both of them.

  5. I would love a chance to win these please and thank you! You had me at Christmas, cat with magical abilities, & dog, and horses(to be honest you had me at animals and christmas)! both books sound really good and I love the covers too.

  6. We have a winner!


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