Bells, Tails & Murder by Kathy Manos Penn

Posted October 10, 2022 by elzaread in Book Review / 11 Comments

Bells, Tails & Murder by Kathy Manos PennBells, Tails & Murder by Kathy Manos Penn
Series: A Dickens & Christie Mystery #1
on February 6th, 2020
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 252
Format: eBook
Source: My Kindle
Buy on Amazon

Do you like heroines who’ve lived a little? Who’ve suffered life’s ups and downs but kept on trucking? Then you’ll love Leta Parker and her new friends in the Cotswold village of Astonbury.

When tragedy strikes Leta Parker’s life, the successful banker and closet sleuth chases a lifelong dream to retire to England. Leaving her friends and neighbors in Atlanta, she settles into Astonbury with her talkative dog and cat, Dickens and Christie.

Picture her driving a refurbished London taxi to the bookshop and the tearoom, enjoying leisurely walks with Dickens the dog, and sipping coffee in the garden with Christie, her sassy cat.

When Leta stumbles across the dead body of a new acquaintance, her inner Nancy Drew comes out. Before you know it, she’s enlisted the help of Wendy, a retired English teacher friend—and even Wendy’s elderly mum.

Two whipsmart retirees, one spunky senior citizen, and a feisty dog and cat are on the case!

Who better to unearth clues from their friends in the village? Even Dickens and Christie get in on the act gathering intelligence from their four-legged friends and pointing out the obvious to Leta.

What do authors A. A. Milne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and J. M. Barrie have to do with all this?

Is their connection with the Cotswolds merely an interesting bit of trivia, or is it more? Will Leta and Wendy let their literary noses lead them astray?

You’ll be captivated as this unlikely team chases clues and ferrets out a long-buried secret—a scenario that would make any BBC cozy mystery producer proud. No matter the clues uncovered by Dickens and Christie, you’ll be hard-pressed to guess who the villain is unless, like Leta, you’re able to “talk to the animals.”

Grab a copy of Bell, Book, and Murder today—book one of a new and finely crafted Cozy Animal Mystery Series by author Kathy Manos Penn.

Finally!! A human that can hear and understand cats and dogs speak. Hallelujah! Oh what fun this was! I guess we are a bit late to the party as Bells, Tails & Murder is the first in a series that by now has 9 books out for your reading pleasure. You see, my human isn’t as clever as Leta Parker and although she really does try her best, she just doesn’t comprehend what I’m trying to tell her most of the time. If she did, we would have read this book and the rest of the series years ago. Thank heavens the lovely author, Kathy Manos Penn, saw my stunning Instagram profile and immediately knew that I am a cat that will have a lot to say about Dickens and Christie, especially Christie of course.

When tragedy strikes, recently widowed Leta Parker leaves the hustle and bustle of Atlanta and moves to her life-long dream destination, The Cotswolds, England. I also had to look it up and I have to say, I can move there too. Her two talkative housemates, Dickens – a white, dwarf Great Pyrenees and Christie – a sassy and opinionated black cat, soon joins our amateur sleuth in her new surroundings.

No sooner has she settled in and made new friends, when she and Dickens stumble (quite literally) upon the body of one of her new acquaintances. In a setting like that – did you honestly think a dead body won’t pop up somewhere?

Taking the naming of her two beloved pets into account, Leta’s inner Nancy Drew springs to life and a murder needs to be solved. Throw in dealing and scamming in rare books and some not so trivial tidbits on classic authors like J.M. Barrie and A.A. Milne, and the tone is set for a brilliant cozy mystery.

I can’t wait for my Mommy to read the rest of the series and if you are just as eager as me to read more about Dickens & Christie’s adventures, Kathy would love it if you visit her.

Find het books on Amazon

See news and pics on and her Facebook Author page

See a video about the Dickens & Christie mystery series on YouTube


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11 responses to “Bells, Tails & Murder by Kathy Manos Penn

  1. I can’t resist a book featuring a cat named Christie! Especially if she has a sidekick who is a Great Pyrenees! This sounds like a fun read and an interesting series.

  2. Dear Elza,
    Christie thanks you and thinks that you two felines would get along quite well. She wanted me to let you know that in the later books in the series, her pet parent gets a backpack so she can take Christie on walks with Dickens the dog. Christie quite enjoys meeting the donkeys, Martha and Dylan. And guess what? Christie even becomes a yoga kitty. She suggests you give it a try.
    Many thanks from Christie, Dickens, and the humble author of their series.

    Kathy Manos Penn recently posted: Puddin’s Perspective on Christie the Cat
    • Dearest Kathy!

      First of all, so sorry we reply so late. My Mommy had a bit of a crazy two weeks, but hopefully we can do some catching up over this weekend. We loved your first instalment of The Dickens & Christie series and we’ll definitely read more of it.

      Oooh I would love to go on a hike. We can take Dickens and Hercules, the old Labrador with. But please can the little mutt stay at home? Good grief, she drives me insane.

      We think you have a wonderful writing style and your plot was sooo good! We hope to get to the rest of your series soon.

      Lots of Love,