Who knew pet-sitting could be such a dangerous job?
After her husband and child were killed in an accident, Dixie Hemingway gave up police work for pet-sitting. While walking a schnauzer in Siesta Key, Fla., she runs into Joyce, who, on a walk with her own dachshund, has found an endangered resplendent quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala. As she is wrapping it up to take it home with her, a noise alerts them to a terrified young Spanish-speaking woman with a newborn baby who pleads with them not to call the police. Joyce takes her in, a good deed that will lead to trouble. Dixie’s landed a short-term job with the wealthy Harwick family, who own a spoiled cat and a gigantic tank full of expensive tropical fish—even though both of Mrs. Harwick’s children, Becca and August, live at home and could easily cover these tasks themselves. The next morning, Dixie arrives to find Becca in tears, possibly pregnant by Kenny Newman, the pool boy who’s occasionally helped Dixie with pet jobs. That night, Kenny leaves an odd message on Dixie’s answering machine. When she arrives at the Harwick house, she finds Mr. Harwick dead in the pool. Her investigative instincts kicking in, Dixie runs down clues that link the Harwicks, Kenny and the young Latina woman. Now she just has to figure out what it all means.
Clement, a veteran of seven pet sitter mysteries (The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas, 2012, etc.), is joined by her son John for this eighth, which supplements its roster of suspects with animal lore and a touch of romance.