Series: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on 2/25/14
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal mystery
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
Also in this series: To Die Fur, Marked Fur Murder
Also by this author: To Die Fur, Marked Fur Murder
Introducing an animal-loving Gal Friday with a telepathic cat, a shapeshifting dog, and a ghost of a chance of solving supernatural crime…
Meet Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster. Trusted employee of eccentric zillionairess Zelda Zoransky, Foxtrot manages a mansion, a private zoo, and anything else that strikes her boss’s fancy. Her job title is Administrative Assistant, but chaos handler would be more accurate. Especially after she glimpses a giant ghost-beast in Zelda’s pet cemetery. For some strange reason, Foxtrot is seeing animal spirits. And, ready or not, the fur’s about to hit the fan…
Still reeling, Foxtrot comes home to find her cat, Tango—her dead cat Tango—alive and well and communicating telepathically. But that’s not all: There’s an ectoplasmic dog named Tiny who changes breeds with a shake of his tail…and can sniff out a clue like nobody’s business. So when a coworker drops dead while organizing closets, Tiny is on the case. Can Foxtrot and her new companions ferret out the killer among a menagerie of suspects—human and otherwise—before death takes another bite?
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Take one reincarnated cat, one ghostly dog, a haunted animal graveyard, an extremely competent general factotum, and a zany house party. Add a large helping of mystery, a dollop of murder, a leavening of humor, and an unusual take on animal afterlife. Stir vigorously. The result is Dixie Lyle’s delightful debut paranormal cozy mystery, A Taste Fur Murder.
Lyle has chosen a unique premise for her new series, but it works. There’s plenty of tension, enough humor in the right places to lighten things up, and the mystery is sufficiently puzzling to keep the reader interested. Foxtrot’s first-person narration allows us into her head — a good choice, since in addition to letting us see her feelings and deductions, it gives us access to her telepathic communication with Tango and Tiny.
I really like Foxtrot. She’s smart but not always wise; she’s very competent at her job but a bit unsure when it comes to her personal relationships. Her sense of humor helps her regain her bearings when her entire worldview is upended and she is drafted by supernatural powers to save a pet graveyard. But the humor is never overplayed, and the scene where she finally stops holding Tango at a distance almost made me cry. I couldn’t help thinking of my own childhood cat and how I would feel if he could come back to me.
It’s not a perfect book. Two of the crucial clues come only toward the end, and Foxtrot (and Lyle) withhold one of them because it would be too much of a giveaway. As a reader who prefers the Christie style of fairness, where all clues are given as the detective encounters them (though they may appear insignificant or be hidden among red herrings), I did find that slightly irritating. But the mystery as a whole is well-plotted, and certainly makes for a fun and entertaining read.
Overall, I really enjoyed A Taste Fur Murder. The secondary characters are eccentric and interesting, from Tango,Tiny, and the denizens of the animal graveyard to ZZ, Foxtrot’s wealthy employer, and her assorted employees and house guests. There’s even a hint of a possible romance between Foxtrot and another character. I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes, and what other mysteries will come along to challenge the team. Book two, To Die Fur, comes out on Aug. 26 of this year.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering where Whiskey comes into it (the series is called Whiskey, Tango & Foxtrot Mysteries)… well, you’ll just have to read the book!
Rating: 4 stars
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2014