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Animal Appetite


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Dogs, which lie at the core of this swift and engrossing mystery, delight, comfort, protect‘and provide vital clues. Holly Winter, a Cambridge, Mass., dog trainer and columnist, accepts a bet that she canwrite a meaningful essay about anything but dogs. Originally beguiled by the tale of 18th-century Indian captive Hannah Duston, she is soon taken up with the story of the death, 18 years ago, of small-press publisher Jack Andrews, whose death by poison had been deemed a suicide by some and a murder by others. What rivets Holly is the fact that Jack's purebred golden retriever was tied up in his office, thus indicating that someone who disliked animals had been present. But the presumed murderer died crashing his car to avoid hitting a dog in the road. As Holly, in her own haphazard but relentless fashion, begins to investigate, she finds more canine coincidences and connections to the academic world with which she is frequently in contact. Conant offers a delightful send-up of both Harvard scholars and dog lovers. Questions abound: How does the recent poisoning of an historian with ties to both Jack and Hannah relate to Jack's death? Did Jack's eccentric wife kill him for the life insurance money? Was his dog trainer (also his lover) involved? Author of 10 other Dog Lover mysteries, Conant (Stud Rites) presents a witty, independent, yet fallible sleuth with inordinate pride in her two Alaskan Malamutes. Why not?‘they steal every scene. (Apr.)

The 18-year-old murder of a book publisher interested in showing dogs sidetracks Holly Winter from her research into the life of a New England woman abducted by Indians. She finally solves the case but nearly gets killed in the process. For all those dog-loving readers.

YA‘To win a bet with a friend that she can write about something other than dogs, Holly Winter begins in-depth research into the life of Hannah Dunston, a local 17th-century heroine who turns out to have been a murderer. Clues into Hannah's past lead to the murder of Jack Winter Andrews 18 years ago and the mysterious circumstances of finding his golden retriever tied to his desk at the crime scene. Holly diligently searches through libraries and other people's cluttered basements to discover the identity of Jack's killer, the location of his illegitimate son, and Holly's own tie to Hannah Dunston. Conant adeptly weaves Andrews's murder together with the legend of Hannah Dunston, resulting in an intriguing mesh of converging facts. The author keeps readers entertained between major breakthroughs in the story by relating all sorts of pointers about dogs in general, and more specifically Holly's own malamutes, who play a role in solving the crime. Holly comes across as self-assured, independent, and knowledgeable, and all of the other characters are precisely drawn through subtle details and expertly manipulated facts. During the last chapters, the suspense and tension build rapidly, although the twist at the end is somewhat convenient. Readers who enjoy the dogs in Virginia Lanier's series will also enjoy Conant's mysteries.‘Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

"Swift and engrossing. . .A delightful send-up of both Harvard scholars and dog lovers."

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