It's A Dog Eat Diet Guru World
Donna Huston Murray: No Bones About It
Everything seems to promise a nice normal summer for the Barnes family. Gin's husband finds himself embroiled in the off-season duties of a private school headmaster: building a new gym and juggling day camp coordinators. The kids spend their days at the camp, one as a counselor in training, the other as a camper. Gin gets to spend her quality time in a power struggle with a cantankerous pup named Gretsky.
A call from an old not-so-friendly-friend lands Gin collar deep in the doggedly brutal murder of diet guru Karl Vogel. The suspect? The same not so amiable acquaintance, Linda Arden, professional dog trainer and ex-spouse of the deceased. The means? Vogel's prized German shepherd, Tibor. Police find the pooch at Vogel's side, snout covered in blood. Bite marks edge the hole ripped in his master's throat.
Now it's up to Gin not only to prove Linda's innocence but to spring Tibor as well, saving him from a canine death penalty. If Linda did program the guard dog to bite the hand -- or throat -- that fed him, she faces life in "kennel," and Tibor faces his own lethal injection. Standing in the way of mistress's and dog's vindication are a menagerie of potential suspects: a former employee fired for gaining weight, a grieving father who blamed Vogel for his daughter's death, dissatisfied customers and a very vocal, local animal rights activist.
Against the manicured and white picket-fenced suburban landscape of Philadelphia's Main Line, Murray sets a cast of characters almost as odd as the situation they're dealt. Mingling the tedium of traditional housewife duties (if raising two virtual teenagers can be considered tedium) with the thrill of amateur sleuthing, Murray paints the portrait of an unconventional detective -- a good thing, since the murder of Karl Vogel appears anything but conventional. Murray combines the domestic and criminal aspects of Gin's life so seamlessly the reader doesn't notice how starkly the two aspects contradict each other.
So who really killed Karl Vogel? And did his faithful companion really apply the fatal hickey? It seems only Tibor really knows for sure, and he's not letting the cat out of the bag just yet.
Diana L. Marsh
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