Conant, who has delighted dog-lovers in the first nine volumes of this specialty series perhaps to the point of alienating everyone else, displays in entry ten an invigorating diversification of interest. Dog-columnist Holly Winter is dared by a therapist friend to write something about--quelle horreur!- people. Her research takes her all around Harvard Yard as she looks into the history of Massachusetts settler Hannah Duston, a tribal captive who proved handier with a hatchet than Lizzie Borden. Simultaneously, Holly explores the ten-year-old murder of a local publisher--benign Jack Winter Andrews of Damned Yankee Press--and observes her two projects becoming as entangled as malamutes Rowdy and Kimi during a food fight. Stud Rites (1996) was set claustrophobically within a dog show. This time, Conant gives us a cool, merry, and informative look at academic Cambridge and a scene of sexual misunderstanding that goes from low comedy to something like tragedy. Conant still tends to overexplain jokes and her detective is still irritatingly full of pet-grooming advice. But there are human beings here and some very welcome human drama as our author slips her leash.