Have you ever moved to a place where you knew you were meant to be? At the moment, I’m energized and content and happier than I probably deserve. I just gave up city life for the Sugar Maple Inn on Wagtail Mountain. The inn has been in my family for decades. My grandmother, whom I call Oma (German for grandma) offered to make me a partner in the inn, and I’ve taken her up on it.
I started my first day by stepping onto the balcony outside my bedroom to look out over the town of Wagtail. Once a resort where people came for the mineral water (supposedly even Thomas Jefferson and family visited!) Wagtail had to reinvent itself when mineral springs lost popularity. Now it’s the premier vacation spot for people who want to travel with their dogs and cats. The entire town caters to them with specialty shops and activities for people and their pets. Restaurants even have dog and cat menus!
The mountain air is crisp and clear. Nothing is beeping or revving or honking, except the geese, because Wagtail is an electric golf cart community. There’s a broad pedestrian zone with a park-like area in the middle of town that’s bordered by stores. Some of the coffee shops and bakeries are already open. Early risers are running and walking with dogs and cats. And in the distance, over the tops of the roofs, the mountains shimmer in sunlight like an undulating quilt of oranges, reds, and golds.
I’m trying hard to ignore the fact that the rest of my apartment on the top of the inn is cluttered with moving boxes. I’ll get to them eventually but I’m eager to jump into my new job. I don’t want Oma to think I’m a slacker! After feeding my calico kitten, Twinkletoes, and letting Trixie, my Jack Russell Terrier, out, I join Oma in the dining room for breakfast. Talk about luxury – a gourmet breakfast every morning and no dishes to wash!
The special this morning is spiced pumpkin waffles. I eye the syrup and whipped cream that comes with it. They even have a doggie version! Trixie watches me hopefully, wagging her little tail. I know I should eat something healthy but it’s my first day here. I should celebrate, right? I cave in and order the waffles with a bowl of fresh fruit salad to make me feel better about it. That will counteract the whipped cream and syrup, won’t it? Trixie is having the little doggie version for her breakfast.
Oma tells me that the Apparition Apprehender ghost hunters are arriving today. She has to go to a meeting, so it will fall to me to make sure everything goes smoothly. No problem. I don’t believe in ghosts but it seems like everyone else in Wagtail does. I guess that’s not surprising in a town as old as Wagtail. There’s even a creepy legend about a murder at the abandoned Wagtail Springs Hotel on the other side of town. I might not believe in ghosts but I’ve learned not to spoil everyone else’s fun. After all, it’s not as though the ghost hunters could actually conjure up some old ghosts. Could they?
You can read more about Holly in The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer, the second book in the “Paws and Claws” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Murder, She Barked.
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Meet the author
Like her characters, Krista Davis has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and cupcakes. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats. The Ghost and Mrs Mewer is the second book in her Paws and Claws Mystery series. Three of those books have been nominated for Agatha awards and three have made the New York Times Bestseller list.