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Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund: A Dixie Hemingway Mystery    by Blaize Clement order for
Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund
by Blaize Clement
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Duplicity Dogged the Dachsund - the second in a series starring Florida ex-cop, licensed pet-sitter Dixie Hemingway - is the most enjoyable cozy mystery I've read in a long time. Readers first met Dixie in Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter. A deputy with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department three years before, she had resigned after being devastated by grief when her husband and three-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident.

Now Dixie lives 'on the edge of the Gulf' in a stark apartment above the carport next to the house where her firefighter brother Michael lives with his partner Paco, an undercover cop. Dixie runs her own business caring for pets whose owners are away. The mystery begins to unfold when Dixie is walking an elderly dachsund named Mame. The dog discovers a dead body, that of wealthy Conrad Ferrelli, son of a famous clown, whose Doberman pinscher (Reggie) Dixie also often walks. In fact, Dixie saw Ferrelli's BMW speed past her just before Mame chewed the corpse's finger, and waved and smiled at the unseen driver - was it the murderer?

Dixie calls the cops. The handsome Lieutenant Guidry shows up - they've met in a previous homicide investigation, and Dixie's feelings for him are complicated and uneasy, 'because he had forced me to move out of the dark web I'd spun round myself.' Dixie supports the victim's lovely wife Stevie and continues to care for Reggie. She begins to gather clues to the killing, including a fascinating connection to the circus, and clowns in particular - the murder victim was in the process of setting up a charitable foundation for retired circus professionals, something in conflict with a moneymaking scheme of his elder brother's. And might there be a link to Paco's current investigation?

As Dixie zeroes in on motives and Guidry informs her of the especially abhorrent murder method the psychopathic killer used, a series of attempts are made on the pet sitter's life, and solving the mystery quickly becomes both pressing and personal. In addition to the mystery itself and its spunky heroine, I enjoyed following Dixie's pet-sitting activities, and loved the author's lyrical descriptions of beach sunsets, that made me want to be there watching alongside Dixie. I look forward to more in this super series.

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