A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder By Krista Davis: Review/Giveaway/Thanksgiving Post

Nov 12, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow & Krista Davis

This week we have a review of a mystery set at Thanksgiving–A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder by Krista Davis, along with a Thanksgiving guest post from Krista. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder: A Paws and Claws Mystery By Krista Davis
Review by Cynthia Chow

It’s the winter holiday season for Wagtail, Virginia, and the pet-centric, pet-friendly tourist attracting town is celebrating with their Christkindlmarket and its annual Wagtail Dog and Cat Gingerbread House Contest. A partner with her Oma in their pet-welcoming Sugar Maple Inn, Holly Miller is enjoying the influx of guests and growth of town business. A new convention center has just been built and is about to open when an old oak tree on the property breaks, sparking controversy over the previous owner’s will which forbade it ever being cut down. Suspicion over cranky Orly Biffle’s motives for his codicil quickly arises when they find shoes cemented inside of the dying tree, shoes that happen to be attached to a human body.

Holly takes on the responsibility of sifting through the missing persons reports as she attempts to discern the identity of the body, eventually narrowing down the list of probables to that of Boomer Jenkins. Their “Fonzie” fled town on a motorcycle twenty years ago, leaving behind a number of broken hearts, jilted fiancées, angry parents, and jealous rivals. His connections to Wagtail residents overlap with a number of Biffle family members and local residents, all of whom either loved or hated him outright. An attack on Holly’s boyfriend Holmes has her assessing her priorities, especially when her own mother unexpectedly arrives in town. Along with the news that her second marriage is ending, Nell DuPuy announces that has come to Holly and Wagtail’s adorable hobbit-like homes and pet-welcoming community with plans on moving in and bringing along Holly’s maternal grandparents. Holly’s previous successful ventures into murder investigations have her working alongside the police as they narrow down suspects, track down a missing young gingerbread baker, and of course, ensure that everyone and their fur babies have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Having sniffed out an inordinate number of dead bodies, it only makes sense that Jack Russell Terrier Trixie would have her own guide advising fellow canines on how to best sniff out crime and assist their humans in solving murders. In this eighth of the series, the adorable short columns from Trixie’s viewpoint are interspersed throughout with her providing her viewpoint on scent tracking and how to pick out nefarious culprits. It’s Holly’s feline Twinkletoes who ultimately comes to the rescue in a rather dramatic fashion though, culminating in a conclusion that is satisfying for those who like their criminals to be unlikable and deserving punishment. This is a delightful holiday read for those who love to indulge their pets, as there is an abundance of recipes and many scenes depicting the bond between humans and their companions. Holly’s family is genuinely likable and engaging, with even her irritable Aunt Birdie showing affection during the admittedly stressful season that brings people together. Pet and human recipes, gingerbread houses, and good old-fashioned sleuthing make this the perfect gift to give and receive during the holiday season.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

The Joy of Thanksgiving
By Krista Davis

When I wrote The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, I set it at Thanksgiving because it’s a national holiday that nearly everyone loves. Loads of food, family, friends, parades, and football! There’s a certain happiness about a day (or a long weekend!) off. And unless you’re the one cooking, it’s relatively stressless. There’s no worrying about gifts. No rush to decorate the house inside and out. And there’s a big enough variety of food to accommodate most diets. It’s like a big, relaxed party! You don’t even have to have a table large enough to accommodate everyone because some of the people will be watching football.

Krista Davis

I had a lot of fun writing about it again in my latest book, A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder. In that book, Orly Biffle left an expensive piece of land to Wagtail. His children are miffed that he didn’t leave it to them, and they have tried to fight the town to get the land they thought they deserved to inherit. That means major confrontations with the mayor, Liesel Miller.

Liesel, better known as Oma, and her granddaughter Holly, own the Sugar Maple Inn. When a member of the Biffle clan is injured in an accident the day before Thanksgiving, Oma and Holly realize that a grand feast and cooking is the last thing the Biffles are thinking about now that one of them is in the hospital. In spite of their differences, Oma and Holly include them in their big Thanksgiving feast. As Oma says, “Of course we will invite them all. We are not at war with the Biffles.”

I think that’s part of the joy and magic of Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday where it’s easy to include friends and neighbors. A great time to make amends and set aside differences. It’s a time to invite people who can’t go to see their loved ones and people who are all alone.

Having been on the cooking end of the holiday, I readily admit that it’s the most intensive cooking holiday for me. Especially when people must have their favorites. “I don’t care what you serve as long as there’s…” Fill in the blank. Cranberries from a can. Cranberries cooked with sugar and orange juice. A pumpkin roll. A pumpkin pie. An apple pie. A pecan pie. Cornbread dressing. Sausage dressing. Oyster dressing. Mashed potatoes. Grandma’s biscuits. It’s a never-ending list, and it is extremely time consuming to cook it all. I usually have to start the Sunday before Thanksgiving to accommodate all the requests. Thank heaven for freezers. But it’s only once a year. And I have heard from friends that they love the cooking part because it’s the only time of the year all the adult sisters can get together, laugh, share memories, and drink wine while they’re cooking. That’s a whole other celebration of love.

Adding people outside the family to your celebration can also have an added benefit. Most people behave better when others are present. That’s not a rule you can count on completely. Add enough booze and someone is likely to start an argument, but hopefully it can be diffused quickly with the appearance of the much coveted pie.

Whether you have dinner delivered or make it yourself doesn’t matter because it’s the joy of togetherness that wins the day.

To enter to win a copy of A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “guide,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 19, 2022. 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, it will be deleted after the contest. 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 goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Read more about Holly and her furry sleuths Twinkletoes and Trixie in A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder, published by Berkley. The first book in the series is Murder, She Barked. Krista also writes the Domestic Diva Mysteries and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and sweets. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with dogs, cats, and a hidden stash of chocolate. You can learn more on her website.

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’m having a big tree cut down soon.
    Hope there’s no surprises in it.
    Sounds like a great read. thanks

    • It is just us two at Thanksgiving as the rest of the family is in another state, but we make calls to each other. I have all of your books and love dogs, and this one sounds intriguing with a body in the tree. Would love it.

  2. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  3. A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder by Krista Davis would be a purr-fect cozy for mystery lovers to read.

    • Such a cute series and a Christmas setting makes it all the more magical. Gotta read this!

  4. One of my favorite cozy mystery writers and this sounds like another good read by Krista Davis.

  5. I am a fan! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Our daughter’s name is Holly?

    • Love this series. Thanks for the chance.

  7. Love this series!

  8. Beautiful book cover. I enjoy this series along with her other ones.

  9. This book sounds like an absolutely fabulous read and with cats in the mixture it sounds purrfect. Thanks for your great generosity.

  10. We have a winner!


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