Wings Ranch near Reno, owned by Jeep Reed, who served as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot) during WWII, provides the appealing backdrop for the intriguing first in a new, canine-centered series from bestseller Brown (Cat of the Century). One of Nevada's wealthiest women, Jeep has outlived two "life partners," Daniel Marks and Dorothy Jocham, and welcomes a visit from her great-niece, former Wall Street banker Magdalene "Mags" Rogers. Suspicious explosions of local water pumps disturb their peace, along with an environmentalist's shooting "suicide" and a pump company employee's disappearance. Jeep, Mags, and their two dogs--King, a shepherd mix, and Baxter, a wire-haired dachshund--also discover a really cold corpse and, among the bones, a 19th-century Russian "Star of Guard" ring buried in Jeep's barn. The water issues subplot slows the action at times and the dogs don't have enough to do, but the search for the skeleton's identity will keep most readers turning the pages. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“A hotbed of mystery and suspense . . . a humor-filled story that is loaded with quirky but lovable characters.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
“Brown creates well-drawn characters (human and quadruped), fashions a nifty plot and mixes in enough local color and history to make the read as educational as it is entertaining.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“The human and canine cast is strong and the whodunit exciting.”—The Mystery Gazette
Brown (www.ritamaebrown.com), author of the highly successful Virginia-based mystery series featuring feline detective Mrs. Murphy, introduces a new, Nevada-based series featuring two dogs, Baxter and King, and their owners, Mags and her great-aunt "Jeep." Life on Jeep's ranch is punctuated by feuds over local water rights and two unexplained deaths, which Mags, Jeep, the dogs, and the local lawmen collectively try to solve. Unfortunately, Brown's growing tendency to insert political and social commentary into the mouths of her characters is excessively prevalent here; the book also has serious plotting issues. Still, even on a bad day, Brown is a better writer than most others in the mystery genre. Two-time Audie Award nominee Johanna Parker does a highly competent job with the narration, sounding as though she's truly enjoying herself.Verdict For Brown's many fans and anyone liking mysteries that feature animals. [Also available as an ebook, a large-print hc (Wheeler), a standard hc (Ballantine), and, in September 2011, a mass-market pb (Ballantine).—Ed.]—I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA
City dog meets country dog to solve crimes ancient and modern.
Magdalene Rogers's Wall Street life is a bust. So she and her dachshund Baxter head west to her feisty great aunt Jeep, née Magdalene Reed, who welcomes Mags to her Nevada ranch with open arms. Jeep has had quite a history. She served as a WASP (Woman Airforce Service Pilot) in World War II, had two concurrent loves, one male and one female, and now runs the ranch with her adopted son Enrique and his wife Carlotta. Her transition teaches Mags about a new lifestyle while challenging tiny Baxter to fit in with Jeep's shepherd mix, King. The pups annoy each other at first: Baxter has never even dug a hole in the dirt, and King is frustrated with the dachshund's naïveté. When Enrique unearths old bones in the horse barn, the dogs' excavation skills are put to good use. Mags teams with local Deputy Pete Meadows to research the demise of the man wearing a Russian war ring. Pete may have his hands full with more current homicides. He's almost linked a string of recent murders to a war over water rights between locals and Silver State Resource Management (SSRM). Can Baxter and King get together and protect their humans before the war for water gets too close to home?
Brown (Cat of the Century, 2010, etc.) has supplanted sassy cats with clever dogs, producing much the same results: a meandering mystery as much about ideology as anything else.