Series: An Animals in Focus Mystery #1
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Release Date: October 2012
Buying Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble The Book Depository
Book Blurb from goodreads:
Dogs, cats, and murderous misdeeds.
Animal photographer and dog show handler Janet MacPhail knows it’s the sure-footed, finely trained canine competitors that steal the attention in the obedience ring. But all eyes are on widely disliked star handler Abigail Dorn when she falls down dead at the drop on recall command with her border collie, Pip, an Obedience Trial Champion.
Janet suspects foul play when she uncovers a bitter rivalry between Abby and Suzette, the owner of Fly, Pip’s top-ranking competitor. Balancing her dementia-afflicted mother, threats aimed at her beloved pets, and a flirty-hunk dog handler, Janet investigates as another murder takes place. And her nosing around reveals an ugly scandal in the dog show circuit.
If you aren’t a dog lover, this might not be the right book for you. I like dogs but I’m not a dog lover and at times the story dragged. We get an up close and detailed look at dog shows and their culture, as well as a look at breeding purebred dogs. Mixed in with the murder mysteries are a sweet budding romance and the travails of an aging parent.
Janet is likable; she isn’t a morning person, loves animals, has bills to pay, puts housekeeping low on her priority list (which actually works to her benefit later in the story), and has family problems. When a competitor and acquaintance, Abigail, literally falls ill at a show, she rushes over to help but Abigail dies en route to the hospital. She helps Abigail’s husband by taking the dog, Pip, home to her house for a few days. That’s when the trouble begins. She is hounded by another competitor and Pip’s breeder to turn Pip over to them and the police keep questioning her. She gets drawn deeper and deeper into the investigation, unable to turn away.
Boneham pushes one suspect very hard; so hard that I became convinced that that person wasn’t actually responsible. There are other suspects and I thought I knew who it was. Boneham sprinkles clues and red herrings throughout the story, leaving the reader wondering just who the killer is. The ending was a bit cliched, and the dog details could get incredibly dry. The book goes on too long, it could have been trimmed by a quarter and been the better for it. The story was okay but I doubt I’ll bother with the next book.
This review first appeared at BookTrib. I borrowed this book from my library.