"I was cleaning the gun. An accident."
Horse veterinarian Gail McCarthy doesn't particularly like her horseshoer, Dominic Castillo. For one thing, he was always late for a job. Worse, given the slightest pleasant word or look from one of his female clients, he'd jump into his act of irresisitible lover. There was no doubt, though, that Dominic Castillo was by far the best shoer in the area, and if brushing off Dominic was the additional price for shoeing her three beloved horses, Gail was ready.
On this day, when she got home from her daily round of ailing horses, she found that Dominic was nowhere to be seen. First angry, then puzzled to find one of her horses with three new shoes but nothing on his fourth foot, she started searching the premises - and came upon him lying on the barn floor bleeding and barely able to talk. Finally, he opened his eyes and said weakly, "I was cleaning the gun. An accident."
Not until the ambulance takes the injured man to the hospital and the police start pulling everything apart in the barn and surroundings does Gail get her scattered wits together and ponder the injured man's "last words." Also, that it makes no sense that he would shoe three of her horse's feet and then go off to the barn to clean his gun. When Blue, her current and quite probably permanent lover, comes home from work, she's come to think that the cops suspect she shot the man - possibly because he was forcing his attentions on her.
Dominic Castillo had many enemies, and Gail's worry was that the killer would think the horseshoer had pointed out her to his killer, even though the detective, Matt Johnson, saw her as a suspect in the man's murder. As events seemed more and more to prove that this, indeed, was the danger she was in, Gail felt that the only way to protect herself was to find the person who had shot Castillo.
Laura Crum has combined a delightful heroine, a glimpse at her unusual career, and her crime solving talent with another fond look at the horses who do more than run races and the people who love them.