City dog meets country dog to solve crimes ancient and modern.
Magdalene Rogers’s Wall Street life is a bust. So she and her dachshund Baxter head west to her feisty great aunt Jeep, née Magdalene Reed, who welcomes Mags to her Nevada ranch with open arms. Jeep has had quite a history. She served as a WASP (Woman Airforce Service Pilot) in World War II, had two concurrent loves, one male and one female, and now runs the ranch with her adopted son Enrique and his wife Carlotta. Her transition teaches Mags about a new lifestyle while challenging tiny Baxter to fit in with Jeep’s shepherd mix, King. The pups annoy each other at first: Baxter has never even dug a hole in the dirt, and King is frustrated with the dachshund’s naïveté. When Enrique unearths old bones in the horse barn, the dogs’ excavation skills are put to good use. Mags teams with local Deputy Pete Meadows to research the demise of the man wearing a Russian war ring. Pete may have his hands full with more current homicides. He’s almost linked a string of recent murders to a war over water rights between locals and Silver State Resource Management (SSRM). Can Baxter and King get together and protect their humans before the war for water gets too close to home?
Brown (Cat of the Century, 2010, etc.) has supplanted sassy cats with clever dogs, producing much the same results: a meandering mystery as much about ideology as anything else.