Stud Rites: A Dog Lover's Mystery
Bantam, 1997 (1996)
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Reviewed by Theresa Ichino
olly Winter is the doting owner of two Alaskan malamutes. She lives for her dogs. This makes earning a living somewhat precarious, as she chooses to stay in the world of dogs - specifically show dogs, even more specifically Alaskan malamutes. Holly is a writer for
magazine, which is hardly lucrative but does permit her time to enjoy her passion for canines.
n this occasion, Holly is at a national show, a very prestigious event indeed. With her are her two adored dogs, Rowdy and Kimi, her cousin Leah who handles Kimi, and the professional handler who shows Rowdy. As always, Holly has her hands full. (Two Alaskan malamutes by themselves constitute a handful.) On this occasion she is juggling the work associated with preparing the dogs with the many duties of a volunteer for Alaskan Malamute Rescue. She's taking advantage of this well-attended event to enlighten others to the evils that befall helpless dogs at the hands of callous or actively malign humans.
umans are brutal to humans too, as is evident when one of the judges is found murdered. It seems an unlucky time for the show world; another luminary connected with show dogs was killed just before this event. Holly is afraid that the murder weapon is the hideous lamp donated to the rescue group. (This is an ill-fated lamp, as it is also causing a schism in the Alaskan malamute power elite.) As always, her concern for all things doggish draws Holly into the search for a killer.
mysteries are well received, not only for the engaging characters, both canine and human, but also because of the hilarious observations made by the protagonist. Holly views the world through dog-centred lenses. In this outing, the hotel hosting the dog show is also hosting a wedding, providing comical encounters. Even if you're not a dog-lover, I recommend you to read the series, to enjoy Conant's lively views on human follies.
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