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The Case of the Roasted Onion (The Casebook of Dr. McKenzie) Mass Market Paperback – September 5, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The author of the popular Hemlock Falls mystery series, Claudia Bishop also writes a fantasy series for American Scholastic, Inc. under the name of Mary Stanton. Death Dines at 8:30 is her first editorial effort.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Casebook of Dr. McKenzie (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1st Printing edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425212238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425212233
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,526,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After tenured professor Austin McKenzie retires, he and his wife Madeline move to their farm in Trumansberg, New York, just outside Ithaca. Due to a bad investment on Austin's part, he has a big loan that must be repaid so he opens up a big animal vet practice. He hires two assistants, Joe and Allegra who are competitive with each other but loyal to the McKenzies.

After receiving an invitation to be the delegate at the Earlsdown Three Day Event from venture capitalist and horse owner Brewster McClellan, Austin accepts because the fee for his services is $15,000. Dr. Grazley who was in charge of the horse Brewster was running in the event is murdered as was Dr. Schumacher who preceded Dr Grazley. Austin believes Brewster is behind the murders because they both owned a piece of the horse and were partners in another business venture. Austin sets out to solve the homicides but it is only when a third member of the syndicate is murdered do the McKenzies and their two assistants concoct a plan to smoke the murderer out.

The first mystery in "The Casebook of Dr. McKenzie" takes place in the same arena as the Hemlock Falls mysteries. This is a cleverly constructed who-done-it with so many layers to peel that the protagonists have to stay alert for any clue because the killer left almost no evidence behind. The love between Austin and Madeline permeates the whole storyline and uplifts the audience to see two passionate seniors care about one another and life in general.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have enjoyed the Hemlock Falls mysteries, however this effort doesn't live up to them. The language is stilted and pretentious, the characters are all rather pompus except for the two veterinary assistants who are always fighting, but you never are quite sure why. The story takes many twists and turns and was sometimes difficult to follow. Perhaps if the reader was very familiar with the venue, ie: the 'horse competition scene', the story would be more interesting. For me, it just didn't make the grade.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The fact that I am partial to horse mysteries is a bit of a mystery to me - I don't particularly like horses, you see. But this book by Claudia Bishop is the first in a new series from The Casebook of Dr, McKenzie, a rural vet, and includes other animals in addition to horses. And in case you were wondering about the unusual title, a roasted onion is involved in a traditional cure for colic in horses.

Prompted by a financial reversal, Dr. Austin McKenzie (with the help of his fiesty but fun wife Madeline) has set up a rural vetrinary practice after many years in academia. When he is offered a large amount of money to be the Vetrinarian Delegate at a multi-day horse show, he realizes he will need to hire an assistant to help with the practice during his absence, and two young vetrinary students enter the story.

But Dr. McKenzie has been asked to be a part the horse show because the previous invitee has been murdered. This death is quickly followed by several others and McKenzie must delve into the crimes to save his own skin.

I liked this book. The plot is good, the characters are interesting, and the world of horse events and a vetrinary practice absorb the reader. My two niggly criticisms of this book both involve diaglog. First, the annoying banter between the vetrinary students goes on too long and it is out of character for the McKenzies to tolerate this rudeness. Second, the conversations between the McKenzies are a little cloying. But these are minor issues and shouldn't interfere with your enjoyment of this book.

Hard core cozy readers will probably find some of the content not to their liking and might want to avoid this one, but everyone else should be okay with it.

Favorite character? There are several good ones, but the escape artist Pony is my favorite. Did I guess it? Sort of. Will I read more? Yes.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although this is a new series, Claudia Bishop is no newcomer, so this book doesn't suffer from any of the new author problems found in other series firsts. This series features Dr. Austin McKenzie (Austin), his wife, Madeline, and two veterinary students, Joe and Ally. Austin is 72, recently retired from a lifetime of teaching and research, and forced by an unfortunate investment to take up a private large (and sometimes small) animal practice. His English is proper and a bit stilted, as might be true for an academic ole duffer, and the 2 youngsters are awfully competitive with one another, but that is to be expected of vet students because of the fierce competition for one of the very limited spaces in the vet program at Cornell (the vet school in this story). They also seem almost like children to the older childless couple, so some of the banter could be from sibling-like rivalry.
The characters are well drawn, interesting people, revealing some of their backgrounds in this book. I'm sure we'll see a lot more in the books to come. The plot has enough twists to make it enjoyable, and the sleuthing is amateurish, but they are learning quickly, and it is fun.
Think James Herriot meets Diagnosis Murder (Dick van Dyke), and you just about have it.
There were a few typos, and this is the second author recently to confuse rifles with shotguns, but those were minor irritations.
This looks like a fine series, and I'm looking forward eagerly to the next installments.
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