Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review: Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs (mystery)

Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs: A Dixie Hemingway Mystery, Blaize Clement (St. Martin’s Press, 292 pages, 2009, $24.99)

A Cat Mystery?

Just the titles of this series are intriguingly fun: Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter, Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund, Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues, Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof and the one I read, Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs.

If you are a Kinsey Millhone (by Sue Grafton) fan, loved the Travis McGree series (by John MacDonald), have read everything starring Tess Monaghan (by Baltimorean Laura Lippman), or are just getting to know Stephanie Plum (by Janet Evanovich), you will love Dixie Hemingway.

A Killer of a Thriller, A Fascinating Family and a Luscious Setting

I was so glad I flew from coast to coast this week and was able to finish the entire book: the ending is a killer of a thriller! And though I guessed how certain parts of the story would interrelate, the ending surprised me but made total sense in retrospect.

Dixie is a former peace officer (and widow) turned petsitter who occasionally refers to her daughter (deceased, but we don’t know why), the time she killed a man, and being brought up by her grandmother and older brother, whom she still adores. Childhood friends play a major role in Raining, with the exception of her investigator boyfriend from Louisiana whom she is just starting to get to know.

"You are There"

Starting rather slow but replete ‘you are there’ descriptions of one of the Florida keys inhabited by a single petsitter with a fascinating family, Raining even has a rainy day! I can still see the egrets and other tropical birds, taste the tantalizing cuisine that Dixie’s brother whips up and smell the lush greenery of south Florida. Putting all that together with drugs, houseboats, gazebos, kidnappings, running with greyhounds, giving kitties pills and flying with birds, makes a fun read.

Yes, a Cat Mystery!

A cast of characters and a plot or two that seem contrived but turn out rather well-connected and explained in the end, Raining is a book that will get me to the library or the bookstore or the Internet to find the others in the series, even though I am a dog person rather than a cat person. After all, I did enjoy several The Cat Who . . .  books by Lilian Jackson Braun and Dixie also takes care of birds and dogs.

Other books in the series include Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons, and The Cat Sitter's Pajamas. Cat Sitter's Cradle, the latest book in the series, in conjunction with her son, writer John Clement, was published in 2013.

(I purchased this book for review. The series is available at the Howard County Maryland Public Library.)
(This review first appeared at on 1 Nov 2013.)

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