The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas Review
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The release of the late author Blaize Clement’s annual Dixie Hemingway mystery has always been perfectly timed. The holiday excitement has faded, the weather is chilly and grey, and many of us find ourselves in that dreaded January funk. I can’t think of a better time to take a trip to the sunny beaches of Siesta Key, Florida—to solve a mystery or two while reconnecting with a few four-legged friends.

In her final adventure, Sarasota deputy turned pet sitter Dixie Hemingway is going about her daily rounds—grooming kittens and walking dogs—when she stumbles onto yet another crime. Dixie’s good friend, pro football player Cupcake Trillin, is vacationing in Italy with his wife, so it’s Dixie’s job to care for their two adventurous cats. When she lets herself into the house, however, she finds that she and the cats aren’t alone. There’s a mostly-naked redhead lounging in one of Cupcake’s shirts, claiming to be his wife.

Dixie leaves the house to call Cupcake—and then 911. By the time the police arrive, there’s a dead woman in Cupcake’s living room—and Dixie’s life has once again turned into a mess of mystery.

It may fall into the “cozy mystery” category, but The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas isn’t quite as cute and fluffy as its cover. Beneath that picture of a napping kitty in a hammock, you’ll find hardened criminals, dead bodies, professional tough guys, and some truly disturbed characters. The story takes plenty of turns into unexpected territory—from the world of high fashion to the depths of international crime. And, once again, Dixie finds herself in danger as she’s stalked by a variety of unsavory characters who want something that they seem to think she has.

At the same time, though, there’s still something about the story’s sunny setting and the cozy company of Dixie’s lovable furry clients that makes it feel like a relaxing vacation. Clement’s descriptions of the beautiful beaches and sunsets of Siesta Key are sometimes so detailed that you’ll be able to feel the warm breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, just reading it could very well lower your heart rate.

Meanwhile, though Dixie spends much of the book trying to figure out what she wants from her newly long-distance relationship with homicide detective Guidry, the personal stuff is kept to a minimum. It’s still there—but, instead of the heavy drama of Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons, it’s lighter and more relaxed. Of course, that means that there’s a little less character development this time around—but the mystery is more than enough to keep you entertained.

Though the case isn’t as intricate as those found in more serious crime thrillers, the easy-going setting and tabloid-worthy story make The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas a welcome winter weather read. If you’re suffering from the January funk, you might want to plan a visit to Dixie’s sunny seaside home.

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