Introducing a canine-buddy yarn featuring the Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin of the dog world.

The door opened and SHE walked in.

Tall, blond, legs up to there, wearing a dead animal. She was class, real class, the kind that made males of all species stand up and pay attention.

Sam straightened. Tucker placed his front feet on the desk to get a better look.

The blond surveyed the office, her blue eyes moving from the coat hanging on the stand, to the window with the dusty panes, to the Mickey Mouse clock on the wall and finally, to the dachshund behind the desk.

Her face broke into a broad smile.

“Oh, you’re so cute!”

Knowing how much Tucker hated being called “cute,” Sam tossed him a warning glance before sidling over and leaning against the blonde’s leg.

“Well, hello handsome.” She stroked Sam’s head, then glanced around.

“Ah, hello?” she called. “Detective O’Brian?”

Tucker cleared his throat. This was the make-or-break moment.

“Detective Bill isn’t here right now,” he said. “Sam and I are handling the agency while Bill recovers from an, er, injury.”

The woman’s eyes widened.

“You talk!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Sam said. “I’m Sam and he’s Tucker. We’ve actually solved most of Bill’s cases.”

“Talking dogs,” the woman murmured. “Maybe that’s just what I need.”

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