Susan Conant continues to surprise--this time by involving dog writer Holly Winter in a wickedly amusing tale full of dastardly deeds and delightful eccentrics.
An avid devotion to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and an equally avid devotion to dogs, combine to draw Holly Winter and her two beloved malamutes, Rowdy and Kimi, into one of Conant's most original and entertaining mysteries to date.
Rowdy has finished his training as a therapy dog and now accompanies Holly on weekly visits to the Gateway Nursing Home, where they meet Althea Battlefield, still formidable at the age of ninety, and her two elderly, admiring cohorts, Hugh and Robert--all fanatic devotees of the Master (as they call Sherlock Holmes). When Althea's grandnephew is murdered at the home of her younger sister, Ceci, everyone is horrified, but it's the plight of Ceci herself--who is being victimized by an unscrupulous animal psychic--that finally unites this unlikely group in a crime-stopping spree that requires not only the finely tuned ratiocination of the Holmes admirers but the eager cooperation of an outraged Holly and the very particular talents of her willing canine accomplices.
No special knowledge of the Sherlockian canon is required for the utmost enjoyment of this engaging romp, and Conant's own devoted followers will be delighted to find her dog-loving alter ego, Holly Winter, still poking fun at the world of Cambridge eccentrics and dog fancy fanatics, but also expanding her horizons into the world of literary trivia and--yes--feline rescue, however initially reluctant.
From the Hardcover edition.
Sherlockians especially will enjoy Conant's latest dog mystery (after Animal Appetite, 1997) featuring journalist Holly Winter in her most intricate case yet. Holly and her champion Alaskan malamute, Rowdy, who has earned his Rx.D. as a certified therapy dog, regularly visit a Cambridge, Mass., nursing home. There they meet Althea Battlefield and her two elderly admirers, Hugh and Robert, all three of whom are fanatic fans of Sherlock Holmes. Holly also meets Althea's wealthy younger sister, Ceci, who is actively mourning the death of her favorite dog. When Althea's grandnephew is found dead in the backyard of Ceci's home, Hugh and Robert jump at the chance to put Sherlockian technique to the test. Ceci, like many bereaved Cambridge animal lovers, has been swindled by an unscrupulous psychic. Even Holly finds herself reluctantly impressed by the psychic's apparent abilities until the fog parts during a late-night stakeout in Ceci's yard with her elderly cohorts. Conant cleverly incorporates Holmes and Watson lore into her plot and writes eloquently of what it is like to lose a beloved pet. Her story is further enhanced by her sensitive depictions of the residents of the nursing home Holly and Rowdy visit. Though their faculties may be failing, the elders' simple enjoyment of an animal's touch speaks volumes about the good a therapy dog can accomplish. (Mar.)