Friday, April 2, 2021

Dog-Free Dinner (Auntie Clem’s Bakery, Christmas Short), by P.D. Workman

P.D. Workman, December 2020

In Bald Eagle Falls, Tennessee, baker Erin Price, and her friend and assistant Vic, or Vicky, are prepping Christmas dinner for their friends, police officer Terry Piper, and local handyman and jack of all trades Willie Anderson. Growing up in foster homes has left Erin with no love for Christmas, but for Vic, it's a favorite time of year. Erin wants to make sure it's special for her.

It becomes special in an unexpected way when the friends realize that Terry's police dog, put in the fenced back yard to enjoy his turkey giblets, has disappeared. The other three are at first very puzzled by Terry's reaction, discouraging an immediate, full-scale search. It turns out there's a pet-napping ring the police are trying to keep quiet so that the thieves don't realize the police are actively investigating. After Terry finally spills the beans, Erin and Vic organize a search anyway.

This is a short story, so it depends in part on knowledge of the characters from previous entries in the series. Useful content notes: Vic is a young, transgender woman, whose family has rejected her. Willie suffers from small town bias against him based on his family, not his own behavior.

A neat addition to a fun series.

I received this story as a freebie for Workman's newsletter subscribers, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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