To Die Fur (A Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Mystery)

By: Dixie Lyle



“Uh-huh,” he said. “So was there some sort of confrontation?”

“You could say that. The Metcalfes were talking in the lounge when Teresa arrived. She walked right up and—well, she was very blunt. Told him he could do better and she should get lost. I thought there was going to be a fistfight.”

“How did Mr. Metcalfe take it?”

“He was embarrassed and angry. His wife was … just angry.”

“All right. Who else is a guest?”

“Let’s see. Have you heard of Theodora Bonkle?”

“I’m afraid not.”

“She’s an author. Writes mysteries and children’s books; I’m a fan, and so is ZZ. Theodora’s an interesting person in her own right, too.”

Forrester glanced at his pad, scribbled something down. “Oh? How so?”

“Well, the fact that she used to be a he is hardly worth mentioning when compared to the rest of her life. Theodora suffers from schizophrenia, which led to her being hospitalized at one point. She was placed on medication to help control her hallucinations, which worked—but as it turned out, the drugs blunted her creativity so much she couldn’t write. She mounted a legal challenge to be taken off them for specific periods of time, and won.”

Forrester frowned. “So the court agreed it’s her right to be crazy?”

“Only now and then. And yes, this is one of the thens.”

“Okay … anybody else?”

“Dr. Efram Fimsby. He’s an exotic meteorologist, an expert on unusual weather patterns. Climate change is one of ZZ’s current obsessions, so he’s here to talk about global warming and storm systems and things like that. Like Theodora, it’s his first time here. Oh, and Rustam Gorshkov. He’s an animal psychic.”

Forrester raised his eyebrows. “He reads animal’s minds?”

<Nobody reads a mind, Einstein,> Tango remarked. <A brain isn’t a book.>

[And if it were,] Whisky added, [yours would undoubtedly be a softcover. You do understand the inherent pointlessness in telling someone they can’t read your mind by making a telepathic comment they can’t hear?]

Tango yawned and stretched, extending one paw as far as she could and stretching her toes so the claws popped out. <I was being ironic.>

“That’s what Mr. Gorshkov claims,” I said. “But it’s a little more complicated than that. See, he has a dog that paints.”

“A dog that paints.”

“Yes. He says it’s a collaboration—he stands a short distance away and concentrates, and the dog paints what he tells her to.”

“Oooookay…”

I tried for another gulp of tea, but it was empty. I set the mug down on the floor, regretfully. “And that’s about it. I’ve already given you a list of the household staff, and who was here last night.”

He nodded. “Yes, thank you. You’re very organized. There’s one more thing before you go, though.”

I knew what he was going to ask, of course.

<Here it comes.>

[If he didn’t ask, it would mean he was incompetent.]

Forrester looked up from his notes, and made eye contact with me. “What exactly was your relationship with the victim?”

“We weren’t close. In fact, we hadn’t known each other for very long.”

“But her brother works here?”

“Yes. I know him … quite a bit better.”

Forrester’s eyes softened. “How’s he holding up?”

“Ben’s sister is dead,” I said. “He’s not doing that well.”

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