Check Out Our Advertisers!
     None  Accounting/Bookkeeping
     None  Attorney - Lawyer
     None  Auto
     None  Aviation
     None  Banks and Credit Unions
     None  Carpet Cleaning
     None  Chamber of Commerce
     None  Child Care
     None  Chiropractic Care
     None  Churches
     None  Clothing and Accessories
     None  Computer Services
     None  Dental Care
     None  Dry Cleaning
     None  Drywall
     None  Electric utility
     None  Equine Services
     None  Events/Festivals
     None  Excavating
     None  Eye Care
     None  Feed Stores
     None  Field Mowing
     None  Financial Services
     None  Flooring
     None  Food Products
     None  Funeral Home
     None  Golf Courses
     None  Gun Accessories
     None  Hair/Nail Care and Cosmetics
     None  Handyman Services
     None  Health Care Facilities and Services
     None  Heating and Cooling
     None  Home Maintenance
     None  House Cleaning
     None  Insulation
     None  Insurance
     None  Internet Service
     None  Jewelry
     None  Landscaping
     None  Lawn Care
     None  Liquor Stores
     None  Orthodontist
     None  Paving/Asphalt
     None  Personal Coach
     None  Pet Grooming
     None  Pet Sitter
     None  Physician
     None  Plumbing
     None  Portable Buildings
     None  Propane Delivery
     None  Propane
     None  Property Management
     None  Racing - Cars
     None  Real Estate Services
     None  Restaurants
     None  Roofing
     None  Schools
     None  Senior Citizen's Services
     None  Senior Citizens Services
     None  Septic Services
     None  Sheds, Outbuildings
     None  Shipping Services
     None  Small Engine Repair
     None  Specialty/Gifts
     None  Storage
     None  Tax Preparation
     None  Tires
     None  Tractor, Trailer and RV Sales
     None  Upholstery
     None  Veterinarian
     None  Window Replacement
     None  Windshield Repair
     None  Winery
     None  Woodworking


 
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out (that) going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity."
– John Muir  
Contact Us | Advertise | Classified Ad | News Stands | Subscribe  

  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 7 July 2018  

None
None Black Forest News   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?  
None FFPD Column   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness  
None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business   None News Briefs   None News From D 49  
None People on the Plains   None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life  
None Rumors   None Taste of Falcon  
None
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
None
 
  “The Twelve Dogs of Christmas”
  By Robin Widmar

   Some people may enjoy reading deep, thought-provoking prose at this time of year, but my literary remedy for holiday stress focuses on lighter fare. Enter David Rosenfelt, author of the Andy Carpenter mysteries and other books. His holiday-themed novel, “The Twelve Dogs of Christmas,” shares its name with previously released children’s books and family films. Unlike those stories, however, this is a civil complaint-turned-murder mystery in which the dogs play supporting roles rather than lead characters.
   
   Martha “Pups” Boyer has saved thousands of dogs by fostering stray and unwanted puppies at her home in Paterson, New Jersey. It is a labor of love that eases the burden on overcrowded shelters, while the puppies and their mothers await forever homes. Pups is a no-nonsense woman described as “cantankerous and difficult” at best. However, a new neighbor, Randy Hennessey, is not a Pups fan.
   
   He becomes a real-life Grinch by filing a complaint against Pups for violating the city’s three-dog limit. Pups and her attorney, Andy Carpenter, feel confident they will prevail in court. After all, the case is about puppies at Christmas time. Who would dare rule against them? Even so, Carpenter remains a little nervous about bringing Pups to court because she “says exactly what’s on her mind, and what’s on her mind isn’t always flattering.”
   
   Then, Hennessey winds up dead, and Pups becomes the prime suspect in his murder.
   
   Pups staunchly proclaims her innocence –- but then, don’t most murder suspects? Carpenter wants to believe his longtime friend. He sees her as a scrappy advocate for homeless dogs, not a killer. The facts of the case do not work in her favor, though. Pups publicly threatened Hennessey after he filed his complaint. She was the person who found his body, and the murder weapon was found hidden in her basement.
   
   If all of that isn’t bad enough, ballistics tests show that the gun used in Hennessey’s murder is the same one used to kill Pups’ husband, Jake, and a local gang member in a drive-by shooting a year and a half earlier. At the time, police thought Jake Boyer was simply an unintentional victim of gang warfare. Now, they are charging Pups with two more murders.
   
   Digging into the case initially leaves Carpenter and his investigative team with more questions than answers. Jake owned substantial land holdings and had flush bank accounts. Was he actually the target of the drive-by shooting? Is Jake’s estranged son, Hank, angling to claim the estate if Pups is convicted? Or is the frugal “Puppy Lady” of Paterson simply a closet serial murderer?
   
   Carpenter’s quest for the truth meanders through the territories of familial dysfunction, marital infidelity, political blackmail, gang activities and plain old greed. The plot behind the murders is interestingly complex, but the mystery resolves neatly with loose ends tied up like a bow on a holiday package.
   
   The title of this book is somewhat deceptive. The 12 dogs (some of which are adorably rendered in Christmas stockings on the cover) are a litter of puppies that Pups took in, and they make a few early appearances before fading into the background. The holiday theme merely serves as a poignant backdrop to darker events. But those minor points can be forgiven in this light and enjoyable read. Rosenfelt’s plotting and efficient writing style move the story along at a pleasant clip. His trademark light humor and dry sarcasm are underscored by an unabashed affection for dogs that many people can relate to.
   
   One serious message clearly comes through: When it comes to giving gifts, dogs (or any animal, for that matter) are not material goods in the same category as electronic gadgets or toys. This point is driven home in a brief scene about a man who wants to adopt a dog as a surprise Christmas present for his son, but only if he can exchange or return it. He is merely looking for a gift and cannot be bothered to know whether his family even wants a dog in the first place.
   
   Considering the number of animals abandoned or surrendered to shelters following holiday gift-giving sprees, the message that dogs are not toys or gadgets is a good message for any time of year.
  
 
Facebook print this page      


  © 2004-2018 The New Falcon Herald. All rights reserved. About | Contact | Advertise | News Stands | Privacy Policy