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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Bells, Tails, and Murder by Kathy Manos Penn is a Dickens and Christie Mystery. Leta and her lovable pets are taking on a new mystery as they settle into her retirement in England. Little does she know that her retirement won’t be as quiet and peaceful as she dreamed it’d be. When she finds a body, she’s determined to find the killer even if it means putting herself in danger. She turns to her close friends for help in her investigation as her duo of lively pets helps her uncover clues. Together, they’re whisked into an exciting murder mystery that blends some of Leta’s favorite things: sleuthing clues and delightful connections to some of her favorite works of fiction.
The world is stunningly brought to life by Kathy Manos Penn who gives lovely details that make the Cotswolds setting vibrant and alive. The humor is quirky and keeps the story light with a heartwarming tone that is inviting and welcoming. Leta is a delightful sleuth with a personality that is perfect for the British sleuthing environment and is reminiscent of Jessica Fletcher. The mystery delivers fun from beginning to end and weaves several surprises throughout while introducing the variety of characters that populate Leta’s world. The story is a book lover’s dream with several literary references woven throughout, which includes the subtle use of names like Wendy and Peter, Belle, Alice, and the names of the pets with Dickens, Christie, Tigger, and Paddington.
The talking animals are a natural part of the world and are as important as the human characters with their own role in solving the mystery. Dickens and Christie are Leta’s little duo with personalities that balance each other out as they each provide Leta with a companion and friend as well as being trusty sleuthing sidekicks. Cozy mystery lovers won’t be able to get enough of Leta and her world as Penn makes you feel right at home with them and wishing to dive into this wonderful world to meet the characters. Bells, Tails, and Murder has everything you’d want in a cozy mystery: heart, talking animals, literary references, and sleuthing delights.