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by Mike Resnick
Seventh Street, November 2012
212 pages
ISBN: 1616147105

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A private investigator's working life does definitely not go the way that it is portrayed in many books and movies. Generally speaking, the kinds of jobs that a PI takes on involve cheating spouses or inglorious matters. Eli Paxton's latest assignment involves trying to find a missing dog, a Weimaraner and winner of the Westminster Best in Show award. You would be wrong if you thought that made the dog very valuable. Unlike horse breeding, breeding dogs isn't very lucrative. However, to Maurice Nettles and his wife, Baroness is priceless. She was a difficult dog to raise, and her value is emotional rather than financial. When she fails to arrive on a flight from a show, Paxton is hired to find her.

Most of the leads that Eli follows are dead ends. There is no evidence that the dog was ever shipped in the first place. When Paxton uncovers information that shows somebody falsified the records, he finds himself embroiled in a situation far more complicated than finding a missing pet. The investigation leads to a Mexican drug operation, and several people who were associated with the transportation of the dog are murdered, with Eli almost joining their ranks.

DOG IN THE MANGER is well plotted, although it seemed to me that there were far too many murders for the situation. The most appealing part of the book is the character of Eli Paxton. He is presented in a very realistic wayŚno beautiful blondes coming in to his office or grand heroics for him. He reminds me very much of one of my favorite PIs, Nameless, from the series by Bill Pronzini. He works with the police and doesn't engage in reckless behavior.

Resnick is best known for his work in science fiction for which he has won many awards. DOG IN THE MANGER was first published in 1995. However, Resnick had a lot of commitments for science fiction works and couldn't afford to invest time developing the book into the series that he envisioned. Fortunately, Seventh Street Books rediscovered the work, and Resnick is on target to write at least three more books in the Paxton series. That's good news for fans of PI crime fiction.

ž Formerly a training development manager for a large company, Maddy is now retired and continues to enable the addiction of crime fiction fans as owner of the online discussion group, 4 Mystery Addicts(4MA), while avidly reading in every possible free moment herself.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, December 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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