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The Dogfather: A Dog Lover's Mystery Hardcover – February 4, 2003


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About the Author

Susant Conant is a three-time recipient of the Maxwell Award for Fiction Writing given by the Dog Writer's Association of America. She lives with her husband, two cats, and two Alaskan malamutes.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime; 1 edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425188388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425188385
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,896,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

I don't understand the interest in these criminals.
L. M Young
The characters as usual are quirky and interesting and the mystery is very good.
Moe811
A fun mystery, Holly becomes the dog trainer of the mafia.
Shadowhelm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Moe811 on February 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Holly is assisting the local capo, Enzio Guarini to train his beautiful Elkhound puppy. The customs and lifestyle of a mob boss is totally alien to her. When one of his associates is murdered while holding Rowdy and Kimi, things really start to go out of control.
I really enjoyed this one. Ms. Conant has returned to the dog aspect of her first mysteries and the novel is all the better for it. The characters as usual are quirky and interesting and the mystery is very good. I am also glad to see Steve easing back into the picture. It is about time one of Rowdy's puppies appeared in a book also! Great and very quick read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Once again, Susan Conant delivers a masterfully written mystery featuring Holly Winter, dog writer/trainer living in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
When Holly agrees to train a mob boss's new puppy, she doesn't count on getting involved in a mob murder. Interrupting the session to search for dog treats, she returns to find a dead body. The mob quickly removes the evidence, but Holly remains nervous, with good reason. Another shoot-out gives her a fright and lands her neighbor in the hospital.
Holly doesn't track clues and the murderer's identity is a surprise, although a clever one. While I kept turning the pages, I felt a little cheated of a true mystery. Holly's dog savvy remains unquestioned but I wish the author had given her a murder that drew on her unique skills and talents. A spoof? An author who can't resist the "dogfather" pun?
Regardless, I most liked the stories where Holly speaks the language of dogs to uncover the murderer. Here Holly turns over the stage to the ...well, Dogfather.
Holly's training tips are valuable as always (bits of roast beef work well as treats!) and we can welcome back her former lover, Steve the veterinarian. The author has created a quandary for herself: Mystery heroines with romantic interests tend to lose their allure, and Steve is such a terrific catch that Holly's resistance makes no sense.
Even Holly is beginning to realize he's a prize.
And Holly's cat Tracker needs to mellow out. She needs to consult a cat therapist! I have one dog and two cats and everybody needs attention, every day.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on March 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mobster Enzio Guarini loves dogs. So when his new puppy doesn't behave, he sends his henchmen out to bring him Holly Winter, dog trainer and fellow dog lover. Holly knows enough about the mob, and about Guarini's reputation, to accept the job, but when one of Guarini's assistants is killed during a training session, Holly knows she's in over her head. And Guarini's attempts to help her, including intimidating an A.K.C. judge and possibly blowing up her car, let her know that she's in trouble. Of course, for Holly, trouble is a given. As if the mob weren't bad enough, she's got hostile FBI agents camped out front and an ex-boyfriend who seems to want to reconnect but somehow keeps missing.
Author Susan Conant writes a funny and entertaining mystery. The dogs are well integrated and are real dogs (not super-dogs who talk, solve mysteries by themselves, and otherwise dominate the story). Holly continually uses her dog training insights to 'help' her deal with people, adding to the humor but also increasing Holly's depth of personality. Of course, her problems with boyfriends, the FBI, and the mob increase the author's sympathy for Holly as she tries to figure out the right thing to do.
Conant's writing is funny and highly readable. THE DOGFATHER is perfect light reading, a cute mystery, and will appeal even to readers who don't care much about dogs (dog fans will love it).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Holly Winter, the heroine of this series, has always been tough and funny. Lately, Holly's become more irritating than tough and the humor in the books has diminished. "The Dogfather" is a fun weekend or evening read but definitely not up to Ms. Conant's usual level. In this installment, Holly becomes an unwilling "Dog Trainer to the Mob", making her way through a stereotypically east-coast Italian group of wiseguys, afraid of boss Enzio and his underworld underlings. In the course of the story, our strong Holly, usually so able to take care of herself, is reduced to watching as her career is jeopardized and her car destroyed. She doesn't trust the FBI; won't tell her friend, police officer Kevin; and puts friends and neighbors in harm's way. All in all, one wonders if she is still suffering the effects of the head injury she sustained in a previous book. The ending is untidy, as an item mentioned briefly in the course of the story becomes an unrealistic motive. And sadly, the Steve & Holly storyline is limping along. Ms. Conant's efforts to keep the two apart, in a misunderstanding about flowers, is straight out of a crummy romance novel. Holly badly needs to give that poor guy a break, before everyone loses patience. In their treatment of Steve, Holly and Steve's soon-to-be ex-wife are actually similarly thoughtless and unkind. Perhaps Rita, Holly's tenant/therapist, should point this out to Holly so that we don't lose what was one of the best relationships in this series. Finally, it is time Ms. Winter finds a loving home for her cat and admits that she hasn't got what it takes to be a cat-owner. Smart about dogs, sadly ignorant of the possibilities of feline friendship.
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