The Cat Sitter’s Cradle Review
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When author Blaize Clement passed away in 2011, she left behind a solid fan base of loyal readers who mourned the loss of not just the author but also her popular Dixie Hemingway cozy mystery series. But the news of the author’s passing came with the news that Clement had spent the last several weeks of her life working with her son, John, to discuss Dixie’s future adventures. It’s no surprise that the news received a mixed response; readers were thrilled that Dixie would live on but still skeptical of a new author’s abilities to continue the series. As it turns out, though, they didn’t have much to worry about.

The Cat Sitter’s Cradle opens on one hectic morning for the beloved pet sitter. While she’s out for a walk with one of her clients’ pets, she discovers a frightened young woman who’s just given birth to a baby girl. With help from a friend, Dixie finds a safe place for the woman and her baby to stay before racing off to meet with her newest client, Roy Harwick, the arrogant executive of a controversial oil company.

  
 
From there, things only get crazier for poor Dixie. Not only does she have pets to walk and a new baby to care for, but she also finds herself dealing with an exotic bird, a distraught teen, and her own fear of starting a new relationship with handsome lawyer Ethan Crane. And then she discovers a dead body, and things really start to heat up.

Fans of Clement’s Dixie Hemingway mysteries will be relieved to find that John does a respectable job of picking up where his late mother left off. Of course, there are times when the storytelling feels a bit awkward—as if John were still trying to settle into Blaize’s tone—but much of the writing feels surprisingly comfortable. For the most part, he manages to continue in his mother’s footsteps while adding his own style.

Dixie, meanwhile, is still as lovable as ever. The former cop turned pet sitter is both spunky and sensitive, packing a pistol to track down a killer in one chapter and caring for cats or babies or visiting the elderly the next. Though she often seems quite a bit older than her thirty-some years, she’s the kind of character that you’ll enjoy following from one adventure to the next.

At the same time, though, the story also comes with its share of nagging little issues and far-fetched storylines. It seems unlikely, for instance, that someone would hire a pet sitter and check into a hotel in order to give a speech in a city that’s located just an hour away from home. There’s a lot going on here—a number of storylines to juggle—and some tend to get lost in the shuffle for long stretches of time, but it all comes together relatively well (if not necessarily believably).

Still, it’s nice to see that John was able to carry on with the series—and that Siesta Key’s favorite pet sitter will be able to stay on the case. The Cat Sitter’s Cradle is another enjoyable installment in the series, suggesting that Dixie has been left in good hands. Of course, Blaize had already started working on Dixie’s eighth adventure at the time of her death, so only time will tell where John will go with the series once he’s left on his own.


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