Lady Vanishes (Rachel Alexander and Dash Series #4)

Lady Vanishes (Rachel Alexander and Dash Series #4)

4.5 2
by Carol Lea Benjamin

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From former detective turned noted author and dog trainer, Carol Lea Benjamin, comes the fourth book in the critically-lauded Rachel Alexander mystery series, with a sharp new package--and for the first time in mass market! 

Dash, Rachel Alexander's pit bull terrier, has come to be known as half a sleuthing team. But when not called upon to solve crimes


From former detective turned noted author and dog trainer, Carol Lea Benjamin, comes the fourth book in the critically-lauded Rachel Alexander mystery series, with a sharp new package--and for the first time in mass market! 

Dash, Rachel Alexander's pit bull terrier, has come to be known as half a sleuthing team. But when not called upon to solve crimes he has another very important job: that of a therapy dog, working with people who are developmentally challenged.

Lady, a mop-coated puli, was the therapy dog at Harbor View, a Greenwich Village home for "throw away" people. But now lady has vanished...and the owner of the home has been killed in a bizarre and mysterious hit-and-run accident. Rachel and Dash are the perfect duo to tackle this mystery: she can find the answers and Dash can bring a sense of calm and order to the residents.

As the pieces start coming together, Rachel and Dash not only expose an ugly plot, but also help some innocent victims find justice in a world that too often ignores them.



Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Shamus Award-winning author of This Dog for Hire is back with a fourth frisky adventure for dog trainer/PI Rachel Alexander and her canine sidekick, Dash. The duo have previously worked together both solving mysteries and providing therapy. Now they get the chance to demonstrate their complete skills at Harbor View, a small Greenwich Village residential treatment center for the developmentally challenged. Rachel is approached by Venus White, who asks her to look into the seemingly accidental death of one of Harbor View's owners, Harry Dietrich. The home's therapy dog, a puli named Lady, has disappeared, and Venus worries that nefarious doings are afoot. Rachel and Dash begin their respective work, but Rachel feels stymied by Venus's slow doling out of the information she needs to get results. The various residents of Harbor View, meanwhile, begin to respond to Dash's special brand of therapy--doing tricks, comforting patients, bringing them out of their silence--while Rachel works as quickly as possible to ferret out the murderer. Then Venus is badly injured in a freak accident--and Rachel suspects further foul play. Benjamin writes with great sensitivity about the plight of the residents of Harbor View, who are neglected by their families and unable to lead independent lives. Though the plot moves slowly, canine fans will relish the insights of an author who writes realistically about dogs and their relationships with people. Agent, Brandt & Brandt. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Rachel Alexander and her dog, Dash (A Hell of a Dog), work undercover in a Greenwich Village residential treatment center when one of its owners dies "accidentally" and its therapy dog goes missing. Especially good for canine fans. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Everybody who works at Harbor View, the Manhattan residential facility for a dozen autistic and Down's syndrome patients, loves the grueling work they share, but nobody loved the patients and the challenges they pose more than Lady, the mop-headed puli who worked as their therapy dog for over a year before she disappeared one night, shortly before someone ran down Harbor View co-owner Harry Dietrich on a bike and left Dr. Eli Kagan the sole owner. And when Venus White, the Harbor View manager as dreadlocked as the missing pooch, hires p.i. Rachel Alexander and her pit bull Dash to go undercover as the new therapy dog and trainer, they soon fall in love with the place and the people too, and no wonder, since their detective work doesn't go nearly as smoothly as their cover job. Nonagerian twins Dora and Cora Weissman unhesitatingly accept Dash as Lady; Jackson the painter, who's never spoken, asks to help Dash do tricks; David, the patient with a history of violence, is able to listen to music when Dash is in the room. But all these heartwarming moments aren't getting Rachel any closer to the dognapper and killer; in fact, she's about to lose even more ground, as one of her most valuable informants is due for another deadly assault. Like Rachel and Dash's three earlier cases (A Hell of a Dog, 1998, etc.), this one is indispensable for readers who love man's best friend right back. Human-watchers will find the psychology sound on everybody but the muffled killer. (Mystery Guild alternate selection)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Rachel Alexander and Dash Series , #4
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Read an Excerpt

Lady Vanishes

A Rachel Alexander Mystery
By Carol Benjamin

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Carol Benjamin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060762349

Chapter One

We Followed Dash

"Hurry," Chip said, "we can make the light."

He grabbed my hand and began to run across Hudson Street, the Don't Walk sign flashing. Dashiell broke into a run too, hitting the end of his leash as if he were in a weightpulling contest.

We stopped in front of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame to catch our breaths, and I gave Dash the eye to stop him from lifting his leg against the flimsy faux Western fence that separated the outdoor diners from the rest of the sidewalk. Had he marked one of the wagon wheels, the patron dining at the adjacent table would have gotten what's called a golden shower, not everyone's cup of tea, even here in Greenwich Village, the neighborhood that invented de gustibus non disputatem est.

I didn't ask Chip why we had to risk getting mowed down in the prime of life. It's not as if Waterloo took reservations. But New Yorkers don't argue about their relationship with time. It's always of the essence. You never kill it. More often than not, it kills you. Worst of all, if you're caught in the act of not rushing, people will think you're from Kansas.

We headed uptown a block, turning left on Charles Street, passing the little farmhouse that had been moved down here intact from the Upper East Side. On the other side of Greenwich Street, we passed a co-op that used to be a couple of warehouses, then a rental building called the Gendarme because that's where the cops were before they moved to Tenth Street. Waterloo was on the corner of Charles and Washington. It used to be a garage. Like it or not, things change.

It was midnight, and the place was in full swing. We were greeted cheerfully and shown to the only empty table, one near the pull-down frosted glass wall, which was raised high enough for us to see passersby only from the waist down, but allowed a full view of any dog who passed. Dashiell positioned himself to enjoy the show while Chip ordered a bottle of Vouvray.

"You look especially beautiful tonight," he said after the waiter left to get our wine.

A thick-set little man with ruddy skin delivered our bread, crusty rolls that, as soon as we began to tear them apart, would cover everything with fine white flour.

Chip was grinning. He reached across the table and took my hand.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing," he said. "It's just that I love you very much."

A waiter with a ponytail came with our wine.

My cell phone rang.

Listening to the caller, I watched the waiter pull an opener from the back of his belt and begin to uncork the wine.

I said, "Uh-huh" and "I do," then "I'll be there," before hanging up and slipping the phone back into my jacket pocket. Then I picked up my glass of wine and held it, thinking about what I'd just heard.


I nodded.

His eyes darkened with concern.

"You'll be careful?"

"I promise." I took a sip of wine. "When do you have to leave for the airport?"


"We shouldn't have left Betty home alone."

"She'll be fine."

I tapped my nails on the thick white paper that covered the table.

"I'm not all that hungry," I said. "Are you?"

Chip grinned. "I'll be back before you know it."


He took a sip of wine.

I slipped off my sandal and slid my bare toes up under the bottom of his pants leg.

He raised a hand to get the waiter's attention.

"Check, please," he said.

The waiter nodded.

Chip paid in cash, leaving a generous tip. Hand in hand, we followed Dash into the dark, quiet night, walking home without saying another word.

Afterward I got up, slipped on his shirt, stepped over Betty, who, typical shepherd, was sleeping in the doorway, and tiptoed through the dark cottage, Dashiell padding along behind me. Once outside, I sat on the steps, looking up at the night sky, the air I inhaled coming from the heavens, the air I exhaled returning to the stars, feeling completely alive and one with everything.

She'd said her name was Venus White and that she was the manager of Harbor View, on West Street between Twelfth and Jane, a small, privately owned residential treatment center for throwaways, high-maintenance people who needed more care than their families were willing or able to provide. Those who even had families.

She was whispering.

"Can you hear me?" she'd asked.

There was a pause then.

"Right," she said. Loud. "Remember that pin of mine you love, the Art Smith with the tiger's eye? Well, there's an exhibition of his work over at the gallery across the street from Florent, on Gansevoort Street. Do you know it? I'm going tomorrow, about noon," she'd said, for whomever she thought was listening. "Can you meet me? We can look at it together."

She whispered again. "Noon, tomorrow, the Gansevoort Gallery."

Why was someone at Harbor View calling a detective? If she were calling for pet therapy, she wouldn't have been whispering. She simply would have asked. And she wouldn't have called so late at night.

I looked down at Dashiell. Lying near the bottom step, he was asleep again, his big head leaning against the side of my foot, the way he'd always slept leaning on Emily, an autistic eleven-year-old we'd worked with at a small Brooklyn shelter. I would sit next to her and hand her crayons, and she would copy pictures out of old magazines, Dashiell snoring under the table, using her foot as a pillow. Without his presence she wouldn't have sat there, wouldn't have drawn those pictures and colored them in so carefully, wouldn't have let me sit so close or touch her once in a while ...


Excerpted from Lady Vanishes by Carol Benjamin Copyright © 2005 by Carol Benjamin.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Carol Lea Benjamin is a noted author about, and trainer of, dogs. Her award-winning books on dog behavior and training include Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog, Second-Hand Dog, and Dog Training in Ten Minutes. A former detective, Benjamin blends her knowledge of dogs with her real-life experiences to create the Rachel Alexander mystery series. Recently honored by the International Association of Canine Professionals with election to their Hall of Fame, she lives in Greenwich Village with her husband and three dogs, Dexter, Flash, and Peep.

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Lady Vanishes (Rachel Alexander and Dash Series #4) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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