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Fixed: A Gin & Tonic Mystery    by L. A. Kornetsky order for
by L. A. Kornetsky
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The second installment in this new mystery series set in Seattle finds bartender Teddy Tonica and Ginny Mallard, the owner of Mallard Services, a private concierge company, conducting an informal investigation of the animal shelter where Ginny got Georgie, her shar-pei puppy.

Money has disappeared from the shelter's account and the amateur sleuths have been enlisted to do a little snooping to quietly discover where it has gone. They're a rather unlikely investigative duo personality wise. Teddy is the people person and is quite good at reading body language and getting strangers to open up to him. Conversely, Ginny's forte is research, logical thinking and problem solving. How this pair joined forces and now dabble in detective work was explained in the series debut, Collared.

Besides the protagonists, what sets this series apart is the fact that not only are they devoted to their pets (Teddy is a cat person), but the animals do occasionally participate in the narrative. There isn't a lot of animal talk but there is just enough to keep the plot moving and make it interesting. As you might expect, Mistress Penny, the cat, is the brains of the animal unit!

As they peek behind the scenes at the private animal shelter, Teddy and Ginny uncover some disturbing information that suggests the problems here run much deeper than just a little embezzlement. When the shelter's bookkeeper is killed, the situation begins to spiral out of control and it becomes obvious there is something far more sinister happening at the shelter than the humans realize. As a side note, the resident animals are privy to the secret and although their behavior suggests something is amiss, no human can figure out why they are acting oddly.

Just as Georgie got the two principal characters out of a dangerous predicament and saved their lives in the first caper, it is up to Mistress Penny to intercede when the moment of truth arrives and, once again, there's a life threatening situation.

This novel moves at a leisurely pace but that doesn't mean it won't hold your interest. Just sit back and enjoy the interplay between this investigative odd couple and their pets and you will eventually be rewarded with some unexpected surprises. There's really no way to see where this suspense story is going or what the final, action packed chapters will reveal. Kometsky plays fair, though. She does set the ending up well enough so that you won't feel she is pulling a rabbit out of a hat to resolve the case.

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