She applied the "Page 99 Test" to Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues, the third book in the Dixie Hemingway mystery series, and reported the following:
When I went to page 99 of Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues, I first thought, "No, Ford was wrong." But by the time I'd read it several times, I had decided the test works.Read an excerpt from Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues, and learn more about the author and her work at Blaize Clement's website and her blog.
In the first sentence, Florida pet sitter Dixie Hemingway, no relation to you-know-who, wakes up unable to move. It's late at night, she's lying on the grounds of a mansion, and in dazed confusion realizes somebody has conked her on the head. By the end of the page, she understands that the gray swirls moving so artfully through the trees is smoke, and she is forcing herself to stand up and do whatever she can to avert a tragedy.
That scene pretty much sums up the quality of the entire Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series. A former deputy, Dixie went a little crazy three years ago when her husband and child were killed by a man who hit the gas pedal instead of the brake in a supermarket parking lot. Thinking that working with pets would provide escape from the pain humans cause one another, she left the sheriff's department and became a pet sitter.
Since it's a mystery series, people are murdered. And since it's a "pet mystery" series, the stories are full of lovable pets. But while the series points up the fact that the highest ideals of love and loyalty are more frequently shown by pets than by humans, the real story is about Dixie's ongoing struggle to overcome grief and live and love as a normal young woman. In each book in the series, she grows in strength and courage.
As Page 99 of the third book in the series shows, Dixie always gets up and does her best. Even if she gets banged on the head by an arsonist in the middle of the night, even if she's hallucinating and too woozy to walk, Dixie by god stands up.