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Evil Breeding: A Dog Lover's Mystery Hardcover – March 16, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Few readers, other than Conant's most devoted fans, will yap happily at her latest Dog Lover's mystery (after The Barker Street Regulars). Canine-crusading sleuth Holly Winter has signed a contract for a book of photographs about the famous Morris and Essex Dog Shows. In researching the events, she encounters an elderly man, B. Robert Motherway, who attended the shows as a youth. Interviewing him, Holly is introduced to his disquieting household: a son and daughter-in-law who are treated like servants, an unseen and deathly ill wife and a haughty grandson. When seemingly natural death and then outright murder visit Motherway family members, Holly pokes her nose in to scent out the truth. With the help of some anonymous letters and her shrewd friend Althea, Holly pieces together the dangerous secrets behind the Motherways' facade of patrician privilege. Canine lore and Conant's proselytizing against evil dog-breeding practices tend to swamp the meager but melodramatic plot, and her villains are so hazily sketched that readers might wonder how they engender any fear. The Barker Street Regulars was a much more accomplished story than this; hopefully Conant's next will be, too. Agent, Deborah Schneider.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Holly Winter, a Boston dog trainer, writer, and sleuth, has a contract to write a book about Rockefeller heiress Geraldine R. Dodge and her pre^-World War II Morris and Essex dog shows. In researching the book, Holly is drawn into a murder, a case of domestic abuse, and evidence of a Nazi spy ring. This twelfth Holly Winter mystery is filled with facts about dog breeding as well as training how-tos. Conant continues to develop her human and canine characters and to reveal the wonderful museums, parks and cemeteries of Boston. Unfortunately, this work is not as strong as The Barker Street Irregulars ; Conant has trouble weaving together the disparate story lines. Recommend it to devoted fans of Conant and other dog mysteries, but Lanier's Ten Little Bloodhounds (see review, p.1481) is a better example of the canine crime subgenre. John Rowen
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Modern day dog lover Holly Winters, owner of two champion Alaskan Malamutes (Rowdy and Kiwi), is enamoured with the historical persona of Geraldine. She is thrilled to be commissioned to write a book on the Morris and Essex dog shows. Holly interviews B. Robert Motherwood, a classmate of Geraldine's deceased son, who attended the shows. Holly learns more than she ever needed to know. She soon finds herself investigating murder inside of the Motherwood home.
Anyone who has read the Barker Street Regulars will be elated over the fact that some of the characters appears in EVIL BREEDING. Canine lovers will also adore this novel because of the obsessive behavior of the heroine when it comes to pampering her dogs. The gothic-like story line centers on the ugly secrets of a prominent family who will kill to keep skeletons inside the closet. Thus Susan Conant ahs written a cross appeal tale that fans of gothic, amateur detectives, and pet lovers will cherish.
This book however, carefully walks that tight-rope and never goes too far astray from what is a really cracker-jack plot. Recent history can be as fascinating as the farther away variety, as this book readily illustrates. Eugenics, whether applied to humans or animals, can be a fascinating topic of discussion; whether it should be practiced or not is another matter entirely.
Holly Winter, a writer and sometime dog-trainer, loves Alaskan Malamute Dogs. Of that there can be no question. When she lands an assignment to write the text for a photo book of a famous dog-lover, she has no idea where the tale will lead her. All the clues are nicely laid out, and the sprinkling of facts in with the fiction combine to educate as well as entertain the discerning reader. For instance, I have no idea if Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge ever really did exist, but I know that Isabella Stewart Gardner did--and left her home and immense fortune to founding the museum she named Fernway Court, and which was subsequently spectacularly robbed in 1990.
If this is a new trend--combining recent history with current day people and happenings--albeit in a rather historic setting (in this case Cambridge Massachusetts) then I'm all for it. I found this to be engaging and informative novel, and recommend it to readers of mystery novels--whether animal lovers or no.
Most recent customer reviews
I got into dog obedience because of her books.Read more
This can be said about all of Susan Conant's series.Read more