Terrier Transgressions

Since Mr. Fulton’s hasty departure, the firm has taken on a new associate, Charles Longfellow III, and assigned him what promises to be a no-win case: a local couple, Bill and Ruth Hayes, were slain in their soon-to-be-sold home, and there are no witnesses, only the circumstantial evidence that the slayings were committed with handyman Brock Calhoun’s hammer. But when Charles happens to catch Angie Face-Timing with Octo-Cat (there’s a fly in his Evian!), he grabs on to his one chance to prove his client’s innocence: have Octo-Cat interview Yo-Yo, the dead couple’s Yorkshire terrier, to see if he can help them find out who murdered his family. The feline agrees on one condition: that Angie owes him a favor.

Little Yo-Yo is frantic when Octo-Cat asks him about the deaths — he’s not aware that his owners are no longer amongst the living — so Angie and Charles look for other clues. Nan and Angie visit Bill’s workplace, Bayside Printing, which is quiet and empty of customers, except for a woman waiting in the lobby to pick up her order. Then they join Charles for a walk in Yo-Yo’s neighborhood, where he demonstrates a very clear antagonism toward a FOR SALE sign bearing the image of local realtor — and sister of the defendant — Breanne Calhoun, who’s paying her brother’s legal fees. And when he gives Octo-Cat one more clue about the person who locked him in the closet with his owners, Angie, Nan, and Charlie zoom in on the estate agent and one other woman — the Hayes’ college-aged daughter, Michelle.

Using both shoeleather techniques and modern technology, Angie and Octo-Cat not only suss out the killer, but manage to sic the local TV investigative reporter — Laura Lee, Angie’s mother — as the police descend. Suddenly Brock Calhoun is rendered innocent and the formerly unwinnable case suddenly successful.

And that favor Angie promised Octo-Cat? It’s a lot more … manorly … than Angie anticipated.

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