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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA

Required Reading

Dog Lover's Mystery Writers
Available at: Any Bookstore

For those of you die hard mystery lovers who are also dog lovers there are several authors whose books will entertain and inspire you. You'd think after all the doggie stuff I do in a given day (including taking care of my own 3 dogs) the last thing I'd be up for is dogs in my leisure reading, but I'm hooked ! I love reading mysteries where there is a dog in the plot. My husband just rolls his eyes and doesn't pretend to understand my obsession. There are lots of new authors popping up all over the place as well as old authors incorporating dogs in their stories or at least on the cover. Dogs are a hot item now a days and they are selling books.

My favorite author is Virginia Lanier who has written several mysteries. Her main character owns a breeding kennel for working Bloodhounds. She raises and trains bloodhounds for police departments all over the country and goes on search and rescue missions looking for lost people. Her searches take her through the Okeefenoke swamp in the heart of Georgia and the text is full of details about the wildlife and hidden dangers of the swamp. The books are mindlessly entertaining and enjoyable, no cutesy personifying the dogs or making them talk. There are real sound examples of good training techniques and some interesting detective work as well. It will give you a huge appreciation for the work that bloodhounds can do.

Susan Conant also writes mysteries starring Holly Winter her main character. Holly owns two Malamutes and is active in showing her dogs at AKC obedience trials and in the dog show circuit. These books are set in Cambridge, Ma. so there are lots of familiar anecdotes which make her books all the more real. The plots are usually set around dog related themes involving breeders, handlers or training clubs giving a real accurate picture of what goes on among the professional hobbyist as well as the lay person who just likes to be around dogs. There are a lot of little suggestions and tips on how responsible dog owners should behave in public with their dogs ( a sneaky way to educate the dog loving public). Overall, her books are entertaining though I liked the older books in her series better than the more recent ones. Susan Conant is a native of Massachusetts, and lives locally, so her books definitely have a local flavor.

Laurie Berenson has also written a few dog lover's mysteries. Her books main character is a single mother with a standard poodle who is a school teacher by day with a knack for solving mysteries on the side. A newbie dog owner and handler she has a seasoned pro for an aunt who helps her learn the ropes of the show ring where she shows her poodle Faith. The stories don't always involve dog shows or dog events but the main characters participate in them as a hobby so it's a big part of most of her books. The main character's son Davie will make you wish for a child just like him, he's an excellent helper to his mom and has a great friendship with their family dog Faith.

So, now that I have you curious, go on and pick up a good book or two, cuddle up with your best friend and have a good read !

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