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Gaits of Heaven: A Dog Lover's Mystery Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 7, 2006


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, November 7, 2006
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Product Details

  • Series: A Dog Lover's Mystery
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425211878
  • ASIN: B000S9D4QU
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,602,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Not just dog lovers should enjoy Conant's carefully crafted 17th mystery to feature the Cambridge, Mass., dog trainer and amateur sleuth, Holly Winter (after 2004's Bride and Groom). Soon after Holly agrees to housebreak Dolfo, a golden Aussie huskapoo, for Ted and Eumie Green, quirky therapists as much in need of therapy as their patients, Holly finds Eumie dead of a drug overdose on one of her visits to their home. While the death appears to be an accident, Eumie's daughter from her first marriage, a reclusive, overweight Harvard coed, suspects murder. Ted's moody teenage son from his earlier marriage cares little that his stepmother has died. Plenty of interesting facts about Holly's favorite breed, the Alaskan malamute, coupled with the humorous portrait of the Boston-area therapeutic community, help make this a particularly delightful cozy. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Dog-trainer Holly Winter, now married to veterinarian Steve Delaney, donated dog- training classes to a fund-raising auction for a Cambridge, Massachusetts, private school. The winning bidders, psychotherapists Ted and Eumie Green, have a 60-pound Aussie huskapoo in dire need of training. Once involved, Holly learns that the dog's lack of obedience skills is only the tip of the iceberg. The Green family is totally dysfunctional. When Eumie dies of a drug overdose, her daughter, Caprice, is sure that it was murder. Unhappy and obese, Caprice knows all the family secrets. The ensuing investigation exposes the quirky community of therapists in Cambridge as well as a complicated web of interpersonal relationships. Dog-loving cozy readers may find the canines far more appealing than the humans, but Conant tells her story with good humor. Her fans will enjoy Holly's latest case. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I was born in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. The best friends of my childhood were pointers named Stuffy and Nonny. I had imaginary companions as well: a cat named Thirsty Melirsty Medrinkable, a family of dogs, and parents called Mommy and Daddy Suh. Thirsty and the dog family slowly faded away. The Suhs, however, perished suddenly; they ate fish guts and died. My career as a mystery writer thus began in early childhood: I invented animals, and I killed off fictional human beings.

Now, many decades later, I live just outside Boston. My husband is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Cambridge. Our daughter, Jessica, who is also my coauthor, lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their young son. My husband and I have an Alaskan malamute, Django (pronounced 'Jango') and two Chartreux cats, Kansas City (K.C.) and Shadow Celeste. The malamutes in my Holly Winter books are composites, but the cats in Scratch the Surface, Edith and Brigitte, are portraits of my own Chartreux.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jean Leinhauser VINE VOICE on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read and enjoyed all of the previous books in this series, so much so that I pre-ordered this one and eagerly awaited it. But I found it not up to the previous standards. For me there was too much ado about

dysfunctional, doped up psychotherapists and their distinctly un-charming disfunctional children, and not nearly enough about Holly and Steve and their relationship, and not enough about the delightful Malamutes Rowdy and Kimi.

Often in books and on TV, when a romantically charged relationship results finally in marriage things become

less interesting, and that has happened here. I missed Holly's hilarilously awful father, and his amusing

second wife. My favorite characters got short shrift in favor of a not very appealing cast of misfits.

The brightest spot for me was Dolfo, a bizarre-looking mutt who had been passed of as a hot new dog breed, a Golden Aussie Huskapoo, to his clueless owners, who don't want to inhibit him by making him wear a collar

or leash.

In an unlikely ending a platoon of therapists meet in a vain attempt to unite the unpleasant troubled family,

but most of them are too drugged to care.

Any good series is allowed one weak one, and for me, this was it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By pjf on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book.

I know that Holly as a character is written to be rather superficial. She's dazzled by big names and celebrity, whether it's Julia Child or famous dog trainers, fashionable street addresses, educational and dog institutions, brand named dog food or titled pooches. All have gotten her gushing approbation, and for the most part, her naive enthusiasm has been a fun ride.

The flip side is that she just as strongly sounds out against anything she doesn't like: cheap addresses and clothing, poor hygiene and personal habits, garish jewelry and stereotypical characterizations have all gotten a lot of page time. Most of the books in the series seem to rise or fall on a maniac/depressive line. When Holly (or Susan?) is up, she gushes about what she loves (dogs usually, or whatever) the carping asides are minimal and the books are interesting and fun.

When she's down, the characters are drawn harshly and critically, Holly dwells on unpleasant details, asides and negative or even prejudiced descriptions and the book is not fun.

This book is not a happy one. Holly starts off the book being critical of her mother, surprisingly since formerly she always spoke of her in glowing terms. But now she blames Marissa for posthumously causing her ring nerves, and for being a "hypercompetent martinet". I admit I got tired of Holly complaining in past books about her father, who seemed generally good hearted, and whose pull with the AKC she never hesitated to draw on when needed, but was so embarrasing to her in other ways that she tried to avoid him the rest of the time. I was hoping after her marriage to Steve she'd reconcile more with Buck, grow up a little. Instead it seems she's now started after Marissa.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Susan Conant, Gaits of Heaven (Berkley, 2006)

I was prepared to give this a mediocre review and pass it off as a relatively unmemorable mystery until Conant started talking about how awful it is to be overweight. From there, the longer the book went on, the more offensive it got. And it's not a case of Conant making fun of fat people. It's worse than that-- it's pity. Cloying, stinking pity that glops all over everything else in the book. It's at that point that the book goes from being mediocre to being terrible. I'd planned to give this my usual review, with a paragraph of plot summary and then a breakdown of the book's good and bad points, but I find that I can no longer remember any good points. Aside from the obvious (pointed out above), the pacing is godawful, the mystery setup is handled clumsily, and the resolution, as it does with so many bad mysteries, involves getting everyone into a room and having the solution to the mystery spoon-fed to them. (And us, of course, for the few who didn't see it coming a mile off.) I read a book or two as bad as this in the last month, but I didn't read any that were worse. *
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Knitty on May 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I almost gave up on this book twice, something I rarely do, especially with an author I've read before.

There was virtually no joy in this book at all. The psychobabble of the therapists that surround Holly would drive me away from ever seeking help if I thought most therapists were like this.

Fiction novels are escapist reading, and I can certainly take quirky characters, but the assortment in this tale was too much. Holly went too far when she decided to throw out all of the food she thought Caprice she not eat. One more reference to green beans would have landed the book in the discard pile. Holly was not likable at all this time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By carb101 on December 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The story line and cast of characters were interesting and typical of a Holly Winter story. But the writing - yikes, what happened? There were so many convoluted sentences and lengthy diversions comparing psychiatric interventions to dog shows that the story clunked along.
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