BLACK RIBBON by Susan Conant


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 If you've read any of Conant's earlier dogolatrous mysteries (Ruffly Speaking, 1994, etc.), you know perfectly well whether this one is your meat; if you haven't, be warned that the author's most fervent acknowledgments are reserved for her two Alaskan malamutes. The tale itself takes dog writer Holly Winter, sprightly and manic as ever, to Maine, where she's to write a story on Waggin' Tail, Maxine McGuire's upscale new camp for show dogs and their owners. Somebody there is salting the cabins with condolence cards for pets that haven't died yet, and the miscreant moves on to more serious pranks: lacing one dog's training dumbbell with a bitter coating, fraying the lead of another, reporting the death of obedience judge Phyllis Abbott (Pomeranians Nigel and Edwina) in that contemptible tabloid Dog Beat. The suspects--much-widowed Ginny Garabedian (chocolate Lab Wiz), her companion Cam White (Sheltie Nicky), newlyweds Joy and Craig (Cairn retriever Lucky), breed handling instructor Eric Grimaldi (Chesapeake Elsa)--are all thoroughly nice folks except for pushy, insulting Eva Spitteler (yellow Lab Bingo), and even canophobes will be straining at their leads waiting (and waiting) for Eva to get killed. But then what would canophobes be doing with this book anyway? Mystery close to zero, character interest ditto, a complete collapse of narrative tension once nasty Eva gets crushed under an overturned agility track--in other words, nothing to get in the way of Conant's latest rapturous paean to Humankind's Best Friend.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-47415-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1994


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