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by Gerald Hammond

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7278-6801-5
Publisher: Severn House

Further proof that dogs and murder are the best ways to meet your new neighbors.

Recently qualified veterinarian Jane Highsmith can’t believe that her great-grandfather (GG) Luke Grant, 90 but still spry, accidentally fell to his death from a bridge he’d crossed every day for years. But the number of neighbors in Newton Lauder who share her opinion, she tells newcomer Roland Fox while she treats his ailing golden retriever, can be counted on the fingers of one foot. Luckily for her, Roland, whose only employment is working on his second novel, is as poor as Jane is, as open to barter for what he can’t purchase and as willing to pursue the investigation DI Ian Fellowes has declined to pursue. With the expert assistance of butler/tracker Ronnie Fiddler, the pair quickly satisfy themselves that GG was indeed murdered. On the wings of the gossip villagers assiduously exchange every time they walk their dogs, that news swiftly leaks out, and someone destroys the evidence. Worse, Jane and Roland are both sidelined with unrelated maladies, one accidental, one not. They’re summoned from adjoining hospital beds to a reading of GG’s will, which threatens to open an instant rift between Jane and her sister Violet (who’s already married Jane’s ex-fiancé) and kicks off an amusing hunt for a treasure that may be anything but treasurable.

The low-stress detection leads to two separate perpetrators, neither of whom Hammond (Crash, 2008, etc.) makes as memorable as the local canines. The hero and heroine, though, are charming.