Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Wrong Dog

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.


  1. Author and book both new to me so thanks for highlighting.

  2. Hi, Mystica, nice to hear from you again!

  3. +JMJ+

    Your mother-in-law sounds great! I'm very stingy with my own books, but I'm always cheered to hear about people who let it be, as you say, the gift that keeps on giving. =)

    It's too bad about Rachel Alexander not really standing out. =( The best thing about amateur sleuths, I think, is that they're all such strong and unforgettable characters. So it's a little sad to hear that Carol Lea Benjamin kind of missed the mark here.

    But all the same, thanks for the review and the little story to go with it! =)

  4. Hi everyone, Lesa asked me to pop on by to help with the "cozy" definition. A cozy is a mystery that has no explicit sex or language, the "murder" usually takes place "off stage" (someone comes upon a body without any gory violence, blood & guts). The heroine is usually an amateur sleuth, it takes place in a small town and has "quirky" characters. Hope this helps. :)

  5. Ok, this book takes place in New York, but otherwise is cozy. Thanks, Jeanne!

  6. Hello DeLynne, Lesa and all...

    What a cozy post. I used to love those spy, espionage, whodunnit mysteries... but so long as the story was tight-tight, really tiz-ight!!! No amateurs or bumblers please... though I loved Columbo... and I know... this is the tv Columbo I'm talking about.

  7. Hi, RYCJ. I am guessing you don't like Evanovich's Plum. Never was there a more bumbling investigator. Rachel in this book is a firm woman, knows how to do her business. Makes some mistakes, but still someone I would hire if I needed help.

  8. Delynne-- Booksploring is a big Plum fan-- she has a post about book 16. Also shows photos of the cast of the movie of the first book-- thought you might want to check it out.

  9. Funny! I had already seen it. Guess I didn't comment. Must have been sidetracked. I think they would make great movies. Lots of laughs, sexual tension and explosions. What more do you want in a movie?

  10. oh yes, that's my kind of movie right there.

    ...I'm kind of mixed about Evanovich's writing though. I don't know, maybe I read the book when she was a little tired, a mixed sort that was hysterical and ho-hum at the same time. It wasn't the Plum one, though.

  11. RYCJ, I think you have to go to an Evanovich looking for a fun read. I have a lot of tolerance for her 'ho-hum' because at times I just can't stop laughing.


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