This was my first introduction to Linda Johnston and her books. I love animals and while poodles, that play are central role in this book, are not my favorite dogs, I usually enjoy all books that have dogs of any kind as a central character. This book was not one of my favorites. While the story line is interesting and the writing is well done, the author seems to focus for my taste too much on the aspect of humanely treating animals on film sets. To me, humanely treating animals anywhere is important, but here the constant harping back to observing animals on set is interrupting the storyline.
The author spends quite a bit of time in the beginning to explain the work of the American Humane Association. And while it is laudable to include this real life organization and its important work in this book, the story has a hard time getting started and as a reader I felt at times exasperated wondering when we could get to the actual story.
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The story, as indicated, plays on a film set for the movie "Sheba’s Story", in which white miniature poodles play an important role and to ensure their safe treatment and handling, protagonist Lauren Vancouver is present at all times. In real life, the owner of rescue kennel. Lauren Vancouver is assisting with the handling of the dogs and ensuring the safety. Also on the set are her close friend, Carlie Stellan, a veterinarian, and a representative of the American Humane Association, Grant. Of course, interests of animal lovers and a tight production schedule do not always go hand in hand and so Carlie has one day a loud argument with the film’s director regarding a scene that Carlie feels put the dogs at risk. When the director is shortly thereafter killed in a hit and run, the argument that Carlie had with him gains a new meaning and Laura finds herself in the position of having to track down the drive responsible for the hit and run as a means to ensure that Carlie’s name is cleared.
Once the story gets going, the mystery has some nice touches and dog lovers will find plenty of scenes enjoyable to read. They certainly can empathize with Laura, who is a fervent animal lover, and seems at times stumped by the mystery, but through persistence and luck ensures that all comes to a good end.