Krista Davis - Dishing Up Some Divas - Dark Streets
An author that I’ve recently discovered has actually been around for a while – Krista Davis!
Krista resides in Virginia with her family which include a gregarious Ocicat named Mochie (just like her domestic diva heroine, Sophie Winston!). Krista’s love of mysteries was fueled early on by Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and then grew to encompass such luminaries as Agatha Christie et al.
Krista writes two series for Penguin: the first one I discovered was the Domestic Diva series.
This series centers around the adventures of two “divas” who live in the same town –Sophie Winston and Natasha Smith, childhood rivals. In the first book, THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME, the two women are competing against each other at the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. Sophie is particularly anxious to win, seeing as how Natasha’s just stolen her husband! However, Sophie's search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse. And when the police find her name and photo inside the victim's car, they think she has some explaining to do. Sophie will have to set her trussing aside to solve the murder—or she'll be serving up prison grub—and that definitely wouldn't be a good thing.
In THE DIVA TAKES THE CAKE, Sophie Winston's sister, Hannah, is getting married-again! And if you ask Sophie, her future brother-in-law is no prince. But is he a killer? That's the question on everyone's mind when his ex-wife is found hanging from a pergola. This is one event Sophie and her sister hadn't planned on. As hidden family secrets begin to come to light, Sophie finds the list of suspects is almost as long as the list of wedding guests. Will the real killer be seated on the groom's side or the bride's? Or will he be standing at the altar?
My favorite is THE DIVA HAUNTS A HOUSE! Sophie is getting into the Halloween spirit- her decorations for a community haunted house are so good, it's scary. Not to be outdone, rival domestic diva Natasha is throwing a spooktacular Halloween party at her house. But when Sophie arrives, she discovers one of Natasha's guests dead in a Halloween display, and a pale, fanged partygoer fleeing the scene. Could the killer be a real vampire-the same one rumored to have lived in Sophie's haunted house back when it was a boardinghouse? Good thing a domestic diva never runs out of garlic.
In the most recent release, THE DIVA WRAPS IT UP, There seem to be more mishaps than mistletoe this holiday season. First, Horace Scroggins tumbles from a balcony during his office Christmas party. Then, Sophie’s neighbor takes a fall from his ladder while decorating his roof with lights. But it’s the cookie swap that really starts her wondering who’s naughty or nice. Sophie arrives at the annual event with high spirits and thirteen dozen chocolate-drizzled gingersnaps. But when an argument erupts and a murder ensues, it becomes clear that the recent string of events is anything but accidental. Now Sophie has to make a list of suspects and check it twice!
Making a sharp detour from divas, Krista’s heroine Holly Miller runs a pet hotel in the “Paws and Claws” Mystery series! We meet Holly in the first volume, MURDER SHE BARKED.
Holly Miller's life has gone to the dogs. She has no job, her boyfriend's former flame is sniffing around, and a scruffy but loveable Jack Russell Terrier is scattering crumbs all over her borrowed car. Just when she thought things couldn't get worse, a troubling phone call about her grandmother sends her rushing home to the family inn on Wagtail Mountain.
The staff—and a frisky Calico kitten named Twinkletoes—adopts Holly and her new dog on arrival. But someone in this friendly town is bad to the bone. One of the employees at the inn has been killed in a hit-and-run accident—which is looking anything but accidental. Now Holly and her furry companions will have to nose out the murderer before someone else gets muzzled.
An absolutely fabulous start to a charming series (it’s even got recipes for animals and humans!)
Pet lovers will love the charming pets, which are more prominent in this series than in the Domestic Diva. But both are chock full of mystery!
The second volume, THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER, released December 2, finds Holly’s Inn filled with guests who believe in ghosts! Not only has Halloween descended on Wagtail, so has a TV series, Apparition Apprehenders, a reality show dedicated to investigating local supernatural legends. Holly has her hands full with the ghost hunters – until her Jack Russell Trixie and cat, Twinkletoes, discover the body of a woman drowned in the town’s most infamous location – the local bathhouse. In spite of the creepy similarities to the legend, Holly’s convinced it’s the work of a flesh and blood killer, and she’s got to race to find him/her before someone gives up the ghost, so to speak!
Treat yourself and try one…or both…of these series. I think you’ll be glad you did!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few! Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Find them at: www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or at www.tclotempio.com