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A New Leash on Death

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Holly Winter's life is going to the dogs, but that's just fine with her. She's a feisty, 30-something dog-lover, and her expertise in the breeding, training, and caring for canines is just one of her inbred talents. She's also a grand champion at tracking down criminals of the two-legged kind. When a dog owner is murdered at a training session, Holly enlists the victim's b Holly Winter's life is going to the dogs, but that's just fine with her. She's a feisty, 30-something dog-lover, and her expertise in the breeding, training, and caring for canines is just one of her inbred talents. She's also a grand champion at tracking down criminals of the two-legged kind. When a dog owner is murdered at a training session, Holly enlists the victim's big Malamute to find the killer.


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Holly Winter's life is going to the dogs, but that's just fine with her. She's a feisty, 30-something dog-lover, and her expertise in the breeding, training, and caring for canines is just one of her inbred talents. She's also a grand champion at tracking down criminals of the two-legged kind. When a dog owner is murdered at a training session, Holly enlists the victim's b Holly Winter's life is going to the dogs, but that's just fine with her. She's a feisty, 30-something dog-lover, and her expertise in the breeding, training, and caring for canines is just one of her inbred talents. She's also a grand champion at tracking down criminals of the two-legged kind. When a dog owner is murdered at a training session, Holly enlists the victim's big Malamute to find the killer.

30 review for A New Leash on Death

  1. 5 out of 5

    Li'l Owl

    A highly enjoyable whodunnit combined with a full compliment of colorful characters and a number of facts about dogs! What's not to love?! My name is Holly Winter. It's not my fault. Until I was born, my parents, or, as they always said, my sire and dam, hadn't had any practice in naming people. In the week before my birth, two of their golden retriever bitches produced a total of seventeen puppies. I was number eighteen. I'm lucky not to be "Buck's Little Lady" or "Marissa's Winsome Miss." Every A highly enjoyable whodunnit combined with a full compliment of colorful characters and a number of facts about dogs! What's not to love?! My name is Holly Winter. It's not my fault. Until I was born, my parents, or, as they always said, my sire and dam, hadn't had any practice in naming people. In the week before my birth, two of their golden retriever bitches produced a total of seventeen puppies. I was number eighteen. I'm lucky not to be "Buck's Little Lady" or "Marissa's Winsome Miss." Every Thursday night you can find Holly at the local armory where the Cambridge Dog Training Club run thier weekly training sessions.  On this particular Thursday, friends and members of the club lose one of their own. When Dr. Frank Stanton fails to return to his dog during a training class, no one is immediately alarmed. Dr. Stanton is getting on in years and his hearing isn't what it used to be. When Holly and her friend, Gerry, go looking for him, they discover that it's not the Dr's hearing that prevents him from returning to his dog. I saw Gerry bend over, and when I heard his sick groan, I started running. Dr. Stanton lay on the lawn just inside the gate. They find Dr. Stanton laying motionless, strangled to death with his dog's leash. Stanton's face was hideously distorted in some way I'd never seen before. Sprawled there under the floodlight, he looked like a rag doll wearing the kind of rubber Halloween mask. My involvement with Dr. Stanton's death was, like my name, Buck and Marissa's fault. If I'd been brought up to have a normal attitude about adopting a dead man's dog, I'd never have tried to find Rowdy's AKC registration papers. But, then, I'd also be the kind of person who'd feed supermarket dog chow instead of Eukanuba, and I'd never insist on precision heeling, and no one would ever have known who killed the old man. ****** A New Leash on Death by Susan Conant is the first in the A Dog Lover's Mystery series. I enjoyed this fun whodunit mystery, complete with a full compliment of colorful characters that I couldn't help but grow fond of! The storyline is plausible and well thought out and there are many interesting facts about dog breeds, obedience and showing along the way. As the mystery of who killed Dr. Stanton played out, there were several anxious moments, a few crafy red herrings, and a nifty, surprising conclusion that I hadn't worked out before it was revealed. Even if you're not a dog lover this is an entertaining, fast read. If you DO love dogs and are searching for a light, cozy mystery, this series is for you! I will definitely be reading more of this fun series!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    I remember reading this soon after it first came out and enjoying it, so when I needed a bit of fluff for a sleepless night I picked it up again. I have obedience trained several dogs, though only for the purposes of making the dogs good companions and citizens, not for competitions, so at first read it was fun to see some of the challenges the MC faces when she takes on the victim's dog. Re-reading it 20+ years later, it wasn't quite so much fun, though the plot is so light that I'd pretty much I remember reading this soon after it first came out and enjoying it, so when I needed a bit of fluff for a sleepless night I picked it up again. I have obedience trained several dogs, though only for the purposes of making the dogs good companions and citizens, not for competitions, so at first read it was fun to see some of the challenges the MC faces when she takes on the victim's dog. Re-reading it 20+ years later, it wasn't quite so much fun, though the plot is so light that I'd pretty much forgotten whodunit. The MC is arrogantly sure that her way to do things is the way, and she lays down the law right and left on the "right" way to train, feed, or care for everything from dogs to boyfriends and family members. Holly doesn't seem to like anyone or anything very much, even her father, to whom she consistently refers as "Buck"--never "Dad" or "my father." Conant's idea of giving the reader a feel for the city of Cambridge also seems to consist mainly of negative criticisms of its customs, laws, attitudes and even the way others decorate their houses. Nice lady. Holly's almost as b*tchy as she accuses Robichaud of being. I didn't notice this when I read it all those years ago, but her negativity really stood out at this reading. I hope that means I have become a pleasanter person than I was in those days. Another point: did Conant get extra money for all that product placement? There are repeated references to Eukanuba/Science Diet and various dog-grooming products, and she even goes so far as to state that "ANF, like any premium dry dogfood, provides a complete balanced diet"! Holly doesn't put on her navy-blue windbreaker to go outside, she dons her "navy-blue Gore-Tex Main windbreaker that cost X-amount of money from L. L. Bean, but was worth every penny." She cites restaurant and store names, supposedly to provide authenticity to her fictional Cambridge, but again, it reads like an ad: Crate and Barrel, Cambridge Alternative Power, Harvest, etc. In her world, no one owns or trains a loveable mutt to teach it to be a companion; no, for Holly it's all about showing a pedigreed animal. If she can't find Rowdy's papers, she doesn't really want him. Oh, he's sweet, but what does she want with a dog she can't show? Several characters advise getting an ILP number, but that's not good enough for her. According to Holly, dog-training is her religion, and apparently her dog-god must have a pedigree to be divine. Ugh. No mention of the horrors of overbreeding, which causes serious health problems in search of a "more attractive" conformation. Her attitude to the crossbred dogs and cats she encounters in shelters was repulsive. Please, folks, if what you want is a furry friend, please visit shelters and rescue organisations first. Talk to the people there, and find a forever friend. What disappointed me the most though was the ending which is pure tell-not-show. Not to mention the silliness of the encounter with the villain. I see this is yet another series starter. Will I read any more? Perhaps, if I can't sleep.

  3. 5 out of 5

    StillReadingBooks

    I went into the library one afternoon in a flurry because I only had a half hour before I picked up Meredith. My plan was to pick up a couple of books to read. Marissa (in a baby carrier... easier than stroller)started to fuss as soon as I hit the mystery aisles (2011 is the year of the cozy mysteries). I had to grab something and go. I say this title and thought,"A dog mystery... no way. I have been reading cat mysteries (the cat who...) let's try a dog mystery. I am a dog trainer for goodness I went into the library one afternoon in a flurry because I only had a half hour before I picked up Meredith. My plan was to pick up a couple of books to read. Marissa (in a baby carrier... easier than stroller)started to fuss as soon as I hit the mystery aisles (2011 is the year of the cozy mysteries). I had to grab something and go. I say this title and thought,"A dog mystery... no way. I have been reading cat mysteries (the cat who...) let's try a dog mystery. I am a dog trainer for goodness sake." In the bag went the first two in the series. The writing is not brilliant, but it gets the job done. The author, Susan Conant, does a great job of moving the story along at a quick pace. I was interested in the dog training. Funny how the field of dog training has changed so much in 10 years. She talks of choke collars, wolf dogs, and the monks of New Skete. All things that are pretty dated in the dog training world now. Funny how the AKC information in the books pretty much hasn't changed. Neither have dog training clubs. Ha, ha, ha,... Anyway the main character and narrator, Holly Winter writes for Dog's Life, but in her free time helps out with training at a dog training club that she belongs to and use to train at until the death of her golden. Her parents are former breeder of goldens, and let's face it they are good obedience dogs. Someone of the training club gets killed at a training session one night and Holly inherits the dog by default. It is an Alaskan Malamute named Rowdy, which is an interesting breed selection that has caused me to read up on the breed a little bit. IT is Rowdy's breed papers that draw Holly into working toward solving this murder. I think the author wove Holly into the mystery in a believable way. She really didn't set out to the solve the mystery; she just found herself involved. I liked that: It seemed believable. What I also thought was interesting was the detail given to the physical lay out of streets and such but yet, I am not really sure what all these characters look like. Little development physically, but you did get to know them. I am slightly curious to see how they carry through to the rest of the series. My favorite line in this book... "A strong man next to you in bed is a comfort, but real security is a German shepherd bitch on guard at he door." (136)

  4. 5 out of 5

    C.

    Could not finish. After taking breaks to eat or whatever, had to force myself to return to this, until I just gave up! Too much like reading a dog(especially Malamutes) encyclopedia, instead of a story!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I loved this cozy! Holly Winter's life revolves around dogs, training them, entering local obedience shows and writing about them. She has a social circle of like-minded friends at the local obedience training school held in the Cambridge armory. I have a cat but I faithfully watch the National dog shows on TV and know most of the dogs in my neighborhood. I loved all the dog info and some of the training details. At an evening at the armory, one of their long-time members is murdered and Holly e I loved this cozy! Holly Winter's life revolves around dogs, training them, entering local obedience shows and writing about them. She has a social circle of like-minded friends at the local obedience training school held in the Cambridge armory. I have a cat but I faithfully watch the National dog shows on TV and know most of the dogs in my neighborhood. I loved all the dog info and some of the training details. At an evening at the armory, one of their long-time members is murdered and Holly ends up taking his Alaskan malamute, Rowdy, home with her. Holly gets more involved in the who, what, when & why of things when she & Rowdy were intentionally OD'd with valium sending them both to their respective hospitals. Things will get worse as the hunt is on. Just a few of the characters were fleshed out to any degree and I am hoping for more character development as the series progresses. If you like cozies and are into dogs, this is worth checking out. If you are a fast reader & have the time, it probably could be read in one sitting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Overall I liked this book. The mystery wasn't that great but I liked the characters and learning about the dog showing world, there was lots of good information about that. Overall I liked this book. The mystery wasn't that great but I liked the characters and learning about the dog showing world, there was lots of good information about that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    I finshed this most welcomed book by Susan Conant. For quite some time I have been wishing for an intelligent and interesting series with dogs...lots and lots of dogs. And not just pure bred dogs...rescues, mixed-the whole nine yards. Thank-you Susan conant for listening and answering dog lovers and lovers of cozies. This was a wonderful way to begin new series for me that almost ended with me having tears in my eyes. For a good reason not a bad one. This wonderful mystery centers on Rowdy, a ma I finshed this most welcomed book by Susan Conant. For quite some time I have been wishing for an intelligent and interesting series with dogs...lots and lots of dogs. And not just pure bred dogs...rescues, mixed-the whole nine yards. Thank-you Susan conant for listening and answering dog lovers and lovers of cozies. This was a wonderful way to begin new series for me that almost ended with me having tears in my eyes. For a good reason not a bad one. This wonderful mystery centers on Rowdy, a magnificent malamute that enters Holly winters life from who knows where. And that's the mystery. Where and from whom did Rowdy come from and why is Rowdy's original owner a mystery? Then we have the training sessions at the armory. The armory is big enough for all the dogs to train and be judged...then it also becomes big enough for the murder of Dr. Stanton. The author included a romance between Holly and Steve (Vetinarian) who unearth clues to the murder by deligently searching for Rowdy's original owner. It all slowly links together. Characters: Holly Winter-Current owner of Rowdy and columnist for Dog's Life. Rowdy-orphaned Malamute, cared for by Holly. Steve-Holly's romantic partner and Vet. Dr. Stanton-trainer par excellence of dogs & replacement of Margaret Robichaud. Roger-Dr. Stanton's nephew I highly reccomend this wonderful book to any animal lovers and lovers of cozy mysteries. It has a little bit of everything-romance, mystery and a bit of humor. The one element that this book has that all the other mysteries I've read doesn't have is information/education on dogs for dog owners. I found so many interesting elements that I could compare to my own dogs. My one request...Susan Conant please let me know when you write a mystery with Dachshunds in it. Ellen

  8. 4 out of 5

    crayolaab

    After following the Iditarod closely this year, I was in the mood for some dog-related reading. Since I just re-read the Sue Henry series last year, I decided on these books by Susan Conant. I first read this series years ago, they are about a woman who writes articles for Dog's Life magazine and shows malamutes. This first book introduces the writer, her likeable boyfriend and her first malamute Rowdy, whom she inherits from a man in her training club when he is murdered. The characters are like After following the Iditarod closely this year, I was in the mood for some dog-related reading. Since I just re-read the Sue Henry series last year, I decided on these books by Susan Conant. I first read this series years ago, they are about a woman who writes articles for Dog's Life magazine and shows malamutes. This first book introduces the writer, her likeable boyfriend and her first malamute Rowdy, whom she inherits from a man in her training club when he is murdered. The characters are likeable and the facts about dog training and care are really interwoven nicely throughout the story. I always learn a lot in these books!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Didn't finish book. I was looking for a mystery with dogs in it....not a Dogs for Dummies with a mystery. It just felt like there was so much dog details, that the author never got on with the story. Just got repetitive and old. Didn't finish book. I was looking for a mystery with dogs in it....not a Dogs for Dummies with a mystery. It just felt like there was so much dog details, that the author never got on with the story. Just got repetitive and old.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    Very disappointing. I will probably not read any more in the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    In the first installment of Susan Conant's A Dog Lover's Mystery Series, A New Leash on Death, this cozy brought us something for everybody who loves dogs. Holly Winter was a thirty-year-old dog lover who knew everything about breeding, training and caring for dogs, plus a grand champion winner in dog shows, and a columnist for Dog's Life magazine. She went to a training class at the Cambridge Dog Training Club just to help out and witnessed the murder of Dr. Frank Stanton. That's when she enlis In the first installment of Susan Conant's A Dog Lover's Mystery Series, A New Leash on Death, this cozy brought us something for everybody who loves dogs. Holly Winter was a thirty-year-old dog lover who knew everything about breeding, training and caring for dogs, plus a grand champion winner in dog shows, and a columnist for Dog's Life magazine. She went to a training class at the Cambridge Dog Training Club just to help out and witnessed the murder of Dr. Frank Stanton. That's when she enlisted the help from Rowdy, an Alaskan Malamute, the owner's dog, to track down the killer and risked her life in the process. She also fell in love with Rowdy and wanted to make him her own, since she mourned the loss of her golden retriever.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Knapp

    After reading several cat mystery books, and finding them not only interesting but fun to read, I was expecting this "dog lover's mystery" to have a more comical lean to it as well. It did not. It did have a lot of information though, about training and showing dogs, and some history about certain breeds too. So although it wasn't amusing, it was informative as well as a fair mystery tale. Nothing great, no "edge of the seat" type story-telling. But it kept me engaged from start to end. After reading several cat mystery books, and finding them not only interesting but fun to read, I was expecting this "dog lover's mystery" to have a more comical lean to it as well. It did not. It did have a lot of information though, about training and showing dogs, and some history about certain breeds too. So although it wasn't amusing, it was informative as well as a fair mystery tale. Nothing great, no "edge of the seat" type story-telling. But it kept me engaged from start to end.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I thought the mystery was okay, and since I have the next three books, will probably read them. What I didn't like was the author's way of talking down to the reader, as if you didn't know the difference between a German Shepard and a dachshund. Also a bit too much of "I, Holly Winters am a great dog trainer and no one measures up to me" type thing. I thought the mystery was okay, and since I have the next three books, will probably read them. What I didn't like was the author's way of talking down to the reader, as if you didn't know the difference between a German Shepard and a dachshund. Also a bit too much of "I, Holly Winters am a great dog trainer and no one measures up to me" type thing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Jenn Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Schu

    Interesting setting, dog training murder. I'm sorry to say that I just didn't enjoy this one. There was very little in the way of development to the mystery. This is more of a 'how-to' and 'dog facts' book. Interesting setting, dog training murder. I'm sorry to say that I just didn't enjoy this one. There was very little in the way of development to the mystery. This is more of a 'how-to' and 'dog facts' book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    What a great time I had reading this book. Very well written mystery. Not once did I get tired of reading about the Malamute dog breed... AND a Malamute is not a Huskie! 😂 I'm now reading the entire series. What a great time I had reading this book. Very well written mystery. Not once did I get tired of reading about the Malamute dog breed... AND a Malamute is not a Huskie! 😂 I'm now reading the entire series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    An OK book. I'm very much a dog person and a mystery person so I was excited to give this a read, but this book felt a little unbalanced. I think the plot got a little lost in dog world details. I didn't find myself getting attached to any of the characters. Maybe they become more dimensional as the series progresses? The whodidit wasn't especially earth-shattering, and the ending overall felt a little "meh". It didn't suck me in, but it did keep me reading, though it took me longer to read this An OK book. I'm very much a dog person and a mystery person so I was excited to give this a read, but this book felt a little unbalanced. I think the plot got a little lost in dog world details. I didn't find myself getting attached to any of the characters. Maybe they become more dimensional as the series progresses? The whodidit wasn't especially earth-shattering, and the ending overall felt a little "meh". It didn't suck me in, but it did keep me reading, though it took me longer to read this than most books of the same length (or even longer) . Usually I give debut books some slack, so if I come across the second installment I will definitely give it a try, but I don't think it is a series I'll be searching high and low for.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sassafras Lowrey

    I really forgot how fun this series was - i read some of it as a kid in the 90s but now I want to read all of it . i don't even like murder mysteries in general but ummm dogs, dog shows, training, yes please I really forgot how fun this series was - i read some of it as a kid in the 90s but now I want to read all of it . i don't even like murder mysteries in general but ummm dogs, dog shows, training, yes please

  18. 5 out of 5

    Djlaureth Jezebelle

    I'm a fan of the genre, my grandmother loved murder mysteries and police procedural books quite a bit. If you like dogs and think that "The Cat Who..." series needs a companion "Dog who.." series, this is the one for you! I'm a fan of the genre, my grandmother loved murder mysteries and police procedural books quite a bit. If you like dogs and think that "The Cat Who..." series needs a companion "Dog who.." series, this is the one for you!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Billing

    Amiable fluff. Gets the dog stuff right.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lizfm

    I read this series decades ago and really liked the first several.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I love her relationship with her dog. I liked her as a person a very fun read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Doris Ware

    A good book. First one in a series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Wanted a story about a dog, not about how to train a dog.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    Pretty good cozy mystery.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Lots of info about dog breeds and the AKA. Plus a murder! I liked all of it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is a new author for me. She really loves dogs and I enjoyed all the “doggy” details. I will read any of her other books that come my way :) .

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Harvey

    Fun read I enjoyed this immensely as both a writer and an Alaskan Malamute mommy. If I had a complaint, maybe more Malamute action. ;)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joan Skinner

    Quick fun read. Since I show dogs in obedience very fun.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gale Wilkinson

    New series for me. I like it very much.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lori Whitwam

    This is the first book in Susan Conant's "Dog Lovers" mystery series featuring Holly Winter (writer for a dog magazine) and her Alaskan Malamutes in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I read this when it first came out and have followed the series ever since. It has been fascinating to watch Conant's own dog philosophy and knowledge evolve through the years. She is responsible for my interest in obedience training, and why I eventually got a golden retriever puppy instead of a Malamute with which to part This is the first book in Susan Conant's "Dog Lovers" mystery series featuring Holly Winter (writer for a dog magazine) and her Alaskan Malamutes in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I read this when it first came out and have followed the series ever since. It has been fascinating to watch Conant's own dog philosophy and knowledge evolve through the years. She is responsible for my interest in obedience training, and why I eventually got a golden retriever puppy instead of a Malamute with which to participate in this activity (Malamutes = NOT for novice obedience trainers!). Which means she led me to the canine love of my life, Ripley, who was with me for 12 perfect years, and why I've now had five OTHER goldens in my life! Conant's books cover many topics relating to dogs, from care/feeding, to training, to puppy mills and animal abuse, responsible ownership, the dog community, to the unique role dogs play in all our lives. She truly "gets" dogs, and her informational passages, as Holly explains things to the reader through narrative, or to a character in the book, fascinate me. This author adores dogs, and it shows in every page of every book. Yes, some books are better than others, but this series, as a whole, is outstanding. I do recommend, though, that they read in order as much as possible, because some relationships and canine additions might give you unwanted "clues" to the outcome of previous books if you read them out of order.

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