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A Deadly Tail
A Whiskey, Tango & Foxtrot Paranormal Mystery #4
by Dixie Lyle
St Martin, $7.99, 352pp
Published: February 2016

This is the fourth Whiskey, Tango & Foxtrot paranormal mystery and like the previous three this is a delightful romp. Deirdre "Foxtrot" Lancaster works as administrative assistant to Zelda Zoransky, an eccentric billionaire whose estate ranges from large spacious lawns to a menagerie to a pet cemetery that is more than meets the eye. Working for Zelda covers everything from making sure the lawns are mowed to arranging for the guests and their comfort during the numerous salons that Zelda holds. Foxtrot has a second job as well, one she cannot speak about, as Guardian of the Crossroads. The pet cemetery is a portal where dead pets can cross over to see their deceased owners and there are always a lot of spirit animals hanging around. In this work she is aided by her telepathic cat, Tango, and her ectoplasmic, shapeshifting  dog, Whiskey, both of whom speak to her and each other telepathically.

This time around Zelda has agreed to let a movie film at the estate, a zombie movie. Soon there is a murder and attempted murder. Also afoot is Tango’s argument with Whiskey as to whether cats or dogs are better actors which results in Tango putting on a show in the cemetery starring spirits of passed pets. Among those showing up for auditions are Lassie (well, Pal, the dog who played Lassie), Benji and Trigger.

The mystery is satisfying and the cast, human and animal, is delightful. There are several laugh-out-loud moments (the escaped ostrich and the spirits goats among them)  as well as some interesting historical pet spirits showing up such as Unsinkable Sam (a cat) and Topsy the elephant electrocuted by Thomas Edison. I highly recommend this series. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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