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Dog writer Holly Winter trains, shows, and loves her own Alaskan malamutes and helps rescue others in need of protection. When she learns that a malamute is for sale at a pet shop, Holly visits Puppy Luv, where owner Diane Sweet is doing a brisk Valentine's Day business. Hours later, Diane is the victim of a gruesome murder. Meanwhile, Holly takes responsibility for a rescue malamute, the trusting and overwhelmingly lovable Missy. Before long, however, Missy is nowhere to be found, and her disappearance is Holly's fault. Holly's desperate efforts to trace and reclaim the lost Missy lead her from the happy world of purebred dogdom to a merciless underworld where dogs mean nothing more than easy money. Is there a connection between Diane's death and the disreputable characters who furnished Puppy Luv with its constant flow of purebred puppies? Did a rival pet shop operator kill the competition? Or did a respected breeder take revenge when her kennel name appeared on the pedigree of a malamute sold by Diane? And not just any malamute, either, but the missing Missy. In search of the dog she blames herself for losing, Holly confronts the grisly remains of yet another murder. She enters a purebred hell of avarice and evil, but emerges with a story of surprising hope and triumphant love.
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About the Author

Susan Conant, a three-time recipient of the Maxwell Award for Fiction Writing given by the Dog Writers Association of America, lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with her husband. She is the author of nineteen Dog Lover's Mysteries.


Conant ( Gone to the Dogs ) turns crusader in her energetic sixth dog-lover's mystery. Dog expert Holly Winter, the winsome narrator, can't resist passing along advice to dog lovers, whether on choosing an appropriate breed or on purchasing L. L. Bean Wellingtons (``the world's only genuinely waterproof boots . . . the best two-footed friend a dog walker ever had''). This missionary spirit is quickly kindled when a fellow dog lover tells her that a local pet shop is selling a malamute that appears to have been obtained from a puppy mill. Through Holly, Conant decries the cruel and inhumane treatment dogs receive at such breeding factories and urges readers to boycott retailers that do business with them. To Holly, animal abuse is tantamount to a capital offense, so she wastes no time mourning when the pet-shop owner is murdered, but she investigates the crime for the sake of the affected animals. Mafia bosses, animal rights activists, apparently reputable breeders and still more puppy mills figure in her detection. Suspense is tighter here than in many previous Conant mysteries, and her polemics add a welcome bite. Paws up. (Dec.)

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