Friday, March 07, 2008

All Shots - Susan Conant

All Shots
A Dog Lover’s Mystery
Susan Conant
Berkley Prime Crime


Dog trainer Holly Winter (last seen in GAITS OF HEAVEN) volunteers for a malamute rescue group in Cambridge, Mass. When she gets a call about a missing Siberian, she’s not surprised, since many people confuse the breeds. The dog was in the care of Mellie, a mentally slow woman who takes her dog-sitting duties very seriously. She tells Holly that the dog, Strike, got out under her fence. Looking around the neighborhood for Strike, Holly and her malamute Rowdy meet a woman who points them down a narrow driveway, saying she saw a dog headed that way.

It looks like no one’s home at the small cottage, but Holly checks the back yard just to be sure. Just inside the sliding glass door lies the body of a woman, amongst the wreckage of the kitchen. Food, dishes, and even the contents of a few fish tanks litter the floor. There’s blood around the body, and what can only be gunshot wounds in the woman’s back.

Later that evening, Kevin Dennehy, the cop next door, arrives a Holly’s home and is thrilled to see her alive. The preliminary ID of the dead woman gave her name as Holly Winter. Holly explains that there are two women with the same name living in Cambridge. The second Holly is an academic at Harvard, and mix-ups are not uncommon. Then Kevin reveals that the dead woman had utility bills and bank statements for both Hollys in her possession. It looks like she was planning to steal at least one identity. She also had a photo of a rare blue malamute. Holly is more interested in tracking down the dog than in delving into the murder, but it soon becomes clear that one leads to the other.

This time around, Holly is mostly on her own, since both her husband and her tenant are out of town. Niece Leah makes an appearance, and Kevin keeps her connected to the investigation. But it’s mostly Rowdy, Kimi, and Sammy providing backup in this installment. The mystery is interesting, if a bit thin, and Holly unaccountably misses a few fairly obvious connections. There’s plenty of time devoted to the lives of dogs (Holly’s and others’) and that’s sure to please fans of this longtime series who read for the dog information and tips.

Rating: 6
November 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21744-3


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