I am a dog person, as I have written here, here, and, um….here. So it is no surprise that I would choose a doggy book as a gift for my dear mother in law. We always give her books, as anything you plug in confounds her and any toiletry item gathers dust, literally, in her bathroom.
A book, however, gets read, exclaimed over, handed back to you for perusal, then passed on to other family members. It might possibly be posted to the other side of the country to dear Aunty Pat. Not bad value, eh? Truly the gift that keeps on giving. So I always buy books that I would like to read, ones with general appeal for the whole family.
This Christmas we gave her, among other paperbacks, Carol Lea Benjamin's The Wrong Dog. It's about a murder, service dogs, cloning, and sleuthing, but mostly about dogs. It's only just come back to me, the long turn around due to other family members getting in first. I gobbled it up in one day, and really enjoyed it.
Biomedical ethics are, I find, interesting. Just because we know how to do something like cloning, does that mean we have the right to do it? Should rich people benefit from science while others can't? How do we investigate long term consequences quickly?
Ethics aside, I enjoyed the PI, Rachel, but didn't think she was as vividly drawn as other amateur sleuths I have read. Mind you, I am thinking of Stephanie Plum, and I have read LOTS of Stephanie Plum. She is almost more familiar to me than my husband! One slight disappointment I had in this book was that the murder victim was a really nice person, one I felt sorry for because he/she really hadn't met life's potential. I prefer a not-so-nice victim!
For that reason, and the sinister tone I felt with the some-one's-watching-me scenes, I am not sure if I would call this a cozy mystery. What is the definition, anyway?
The book was very sensitive to dogs, showing how to train them, how to treat them and how to feed them. It wasn't done in an instructional way, more as part of the plot, but my dogs, London and Paris, are sure to be even more pampered than before.
I recommend you read Carol Lea Benjamin. If you are a cat-, bird- or no-pet-person you will enjoy her books, too. After all, my mother in law did.