St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2006. ISBN 0-312-94192-7.
Reviewed by Trilla Pando
Posted on 01/30/2008
Dixie Hemingway (no kin to Ernest, she tells you on the first page) lives on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida. Her career as a sheriff's deputy ended when her young daughter and her husband, also a deputy, were killed in a car accident.
Now she is up every morning at four a.m. to make her rounds as a pet sitter. She prefers dealing with animals rather than people. But all is not as quiet and tranquil as she'd hoped. One morning when she arrives to care for Ghost, a gray Abyssinian cat, she can't find te cat but does find the house in disarray. When she feeds the finally-located puss, she finds a dead man in the water bowl. This is just the beginning of the complicated story. Where is Ghost's owner, the beautiful Marilee? What part is played by the young piano prodigy who lives next door?
While this mystery is classified as a "cozy," it has darker and deeper issues. The author, a psychologist, uses her knowledge to a good advantage as Dixie works to heal from her tragedy while she deals with her pets, her family (she lives in an apartment adjacent to the house of her fireman brother and his partner), and the complexities of this murder.
The book is well-plotted and Dixie Hemmingway emerges as a strong and independent woman who still has deep vulnerabilities. What's more, the author has an excellent sense of place. This sleepy key in the Gulf of Mexico comes to life.
This is the first book in this mystery series, I trust there will be many more. The reader should know that there is some discussion of pornography (not explicit) and that several of the characters are gay. Not a problem for most of us, but be aware.
Blaize Clement lives and writes in Sarasota, Florida. She spent her career as a psychologist in Houston. On her website she declares, "Bios are so boring!" She then offers a long and unorthodox rundown on her life, her views and her interest. You can check it out on her website.
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