An inn owner’s dead-body problem provides a welcome distraction from her domestic chores.
The renovations to seaside Maine’s Oyster Cove Guesthouse hit a bump when the two resident cats, Nero and Marlowe, start wailing something terrible. Josie Waters is sure the cats can't have found another body: She hasn’t even served her guests breakfast. But when carpenter Ed O’Hara calls her to the wall demolition, sure enough, there’s a skeleton inside. Her background training as a medical examiner tells Josie that the skeleton is very, very old and nothing to be afraid of, unless of course it affects her business. Suddenly the town is abuzz with rumors that the skeleton is that of town patriarch Jedediah Biddeford, who’s long been suspected of burying treasure somewhere nearby. Now Josie’s certain her yard is going to be full of holes while her difficult guests, the Biddeford family, join the locals in hunting for the bounty. Will they even keep their shovels in the shed? A dirty floor turns out to be the least of Josie’s worries after one of the Biddefords is killed by a shovel to the head. Two deaths on her property seems like a lot to handle, but the interspersed dialogue between the feline detectives shows that Josie can expect help unraveling the case, which she thinks must be tied to the rest of the Biddefords and their struggling cheese-sculpting business. Josie seems more likely to solve the case than she is to remember to take her bread out of the oven. Over and over again.
Dobbs’ signature sense of humor lifts this above the sea of cat cozies.