Nov 24, 2007
Long Island veterinarian Jessica Popper is more than busy. Not only is she visiting clients in her mobile clinic, which she refers to as her "clinic-on-wheels," and hosting a segment of Pet People on local TV, but she has to fit in the plans of several other people.
Her friend and landlady, Betty Vandervoort, insists that Jessica try to solve the murder of actor and playwright Simon Wainwright, who is a member of an amateur theater group that
Betty has joined, and whose body was found stuffed in a trunk in a dressing room in the theater. When one of the actors decides to leave the play after the murder, Jessica is offered a small part. As a member of the group, she is now in a position to observe and interview all the cast members, the prime suspects in the murder. .
Jessica has other things to worry about as well. She is to be the maid of honor at Betty's wedding and also has to prepare for the visit of her fiance's parents. Nick's parents bring their pampered little dog Mitzi and stays with Jessica and Nick in their tiny cottage, already filled with Jessica's pets - two dogs, two cats, a talkative parrot, plus a Jackson's chameleon.
To make matters worse for Jessica, Nick objects to her detecting and her other activities, which he says take too much time away from him. Newsday reporter Forrester Sloan tries to step into Nick's shoes and into Jessica's love life while helping her in her detecting. Police lieutenant Anthony Falcone tries to discourage Jessica at every turn from interfering in the murder investigation.
In the end, after several scary moments and at least one attempt on her life, Jessica does find the killer and manages to also smooth out her personal life.
We learn a lot about theater production as well, as we follow Jessica through her rehearsals, her costume and make up sessions, and her observations on how complex lighting and scenery add to the success of a play.
Witty dialogue and interesting sub-plots make this an enjoyable, "cozy" read. This is the sixth book in the Reigning Cats and Dogs Mystery series by Cynthia Baxter.