I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
A pleasant, well-written cozy with likeable characters and a very solidly plotted murder mystery. The story takes place during Halloween, and a team of ghost-hunters is staying at the Sugar Maple Inn investigating the reports of hauntings in an old long-abandoned inn. When someone linked to the team is found dead outside the haunted inn, it's initially ruled accidental, but the police investigator believes otherwise and starts digging around.
If I had any qualms about whether this book was a 4-star read or not, I would still have rated it 4-stars for having an MC that passively investigates the mystery, rather than actively running around town acting like the gestapo, or accusing everyone of murder. Even when Holly goes out of her way to find answers, she does it with subtlety.
The whole fictional town of Wagtail sounds like a dream: the whole town is designed for the complete integration of cats and dogs. They are welcome everywhere and events are planned that will not only bring in tourists, but their furry family members as well. I don't think I've ever owned a cat that would welcome the opportunity to stay at an inn with me, or go to a restaurant with me, even if they'd have their own gourmet menu, but it's cool to imagine such a place and such a cat.
The mystery plotting was really well done - was it a murder? Everyone involved had an opportunity to do it and nobody had an alibi. There's a lot of misdirection, and a lot going on - whether or not it's all related or just muddying the waters adds to the complexity of the plot.
It's a cute series, but it isn't just relying on cute for appeal; the author gives the readers a bit of cozy depth too, and I'll definitely be looking for the next one.
TRIGGER WARNING: A couple of my book friends have mentioned they don't like stories that involve the use of Ouija boards. If you are one of those friends, skip this book. There are several scenes that are centered around their use.