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John Cunningham, veteran gun-dog trainer, stumbles into a dog-switching scheme that ends up in blackmail and, eventually, murder.
Mim, one of the litter of pups born at Three Oaks Kennels, is a throwback to Clunie, a champion with a strong and difficult temperament. John's kennel-maid Daffy tries to train the highly strung pup for gunwork, but when the task proves impossible, John agrees to sell Mim to local farmer and businessman Quentin Cove.
So imagine John's surprise when a year later the supposedly gun-shy Mim begins winning at field trials. Perhaps, as Daffy believes, John wrote Mim off too soon? Or is there a more sinister reason for the bitch's sudden success? And what is it that Cove's farm manager, Dougal Webb, has learned about Three Oaks Kennels--information so damning he believes he can try a spot of blackmail? That is until he suddenly disappears...
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Filled with a satisfying blend of Scottish slang and dialects, as well as a wealth of dog-training and breeding information, this is another enjoyable tale from the ever-reliable Hammond (Bloodlines; Sting in the Tail; etc.). Dog breeder John Cunningham--and his family and staff at Three Oaks Kennels--face a crime that, if unsolved, could threaten their livelihood and their lives. When Dougal Webb, a young farm manager who was courting one of Cunningham's kennel maids, goes missing, he leaves behind evidence of some shady dealings. Since Webb had tried to blackmail Cunningham shortly before his disappearance, the breeder's entire household comes under suspicion. Meanwhile, another of Cunningham's kennel-maids is almost hit by a car, and an unidentified corpse turns up in the woods. Before the situation is set aright, the Cunninghams and the local police inspector must pick their way through a tangle of blackmail, chicanery, murder, fraud and old grievances that enmeshes the fates of characters high and low. Though the novel begins slowly, Cunningham provides an intelligent prism through which a parade of colorful, often villainous characters are refracted. From pompous landowner Sir Ian Bewlay of Marksmuir to ambitious political aspirant Timothy "Sanctimonious" Pratt, to the hardworking housemaid Mrs. Dundee, Hammond's characters ring true as brass, and his wry, subtle humor harmonizes all the doings nicely. (Dec.) FYI: Hammond also writes mysteries featuring Scottish gunsmith Keith Calder.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Scotland's exArmy officer John Cunningham (Doghouse, 1992, etc.) and his wife Beth breed gundogs at Three Oaks Kennels, with help from managers Henry and Isobel Kitts, and kennel maids Hannah and Daffy. Newborn spaniel Mimulus (Mim for short) has a champion in her immediate background, but it's soon apparent that she's gun-shya rarely curable conditionand could never successfully compete in hunting trials. Nonetheless, Quentin Cove, owner of Androssie, a neighboring estate, buys Mim from the Cunninghams and shows her in competition with some successa puzzlement to her breeder. Cove's farm manager, Dougal Webb, is also confounding the experts in his role as Hannahs suitor, since he drives an expensive car, wears a Rolex, and appears to be living beyond his means. These habits turn out to be extremely interesting to the police when Webb disappears and some time later a half-burnt corpse is found on a local hillside. When the body is finally identified as Webb, everyone at Three Oaks is questioned intensely and repeatedly by Inspector Ewell and his pretty sergeant, but it takes an outsider to point out the evidence that nails the culprit. Some interesting characters and an intriguing puzzle are all but buried in masses of dog and bird-hunting lore. Slow, repetitive going. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Hardback. Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # GOR003221982
Book Description Macmillan, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: Good. A slight tan to the page edges. Ex Library Book with usual stamps and stickers. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Seller Inventory # mon0009544579
Book Description Macmillan, London, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. First edition first printing of the ninth novel in the John Cunningham series. Light spine slant. In near fine / near fine condition. Seller Inventory # 22190
Book Description Macmillan, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. Slight lean. Seller Inventory # 12211