The More the Terrier
A Lauren Vancouver "Pet Rescue" Mystery by Linda O. Johnston
Review: HotRescue — a privately operated pet rescue shelter — manager Lauren Vancouver is torn between concern for her former mentor when she's accused of murder and her horror that she had turned into an animal hoarder in The More the Terrier, the second mystery in this series by Linda O. Johnston.
Lauren and Mamie Spelling had had a falling out years earlier, but when Mamie calls Lauren pleading for her help, she goes to her aid. Lauren is shocked when she arrives at Mamie's modest home to find it filled with cages of cats and dogs, all malnourished. Mamie blames an animal shelter network owner, Bethany Urber, of putting her in the position of hoarding animals, something Lauren simply cannot understand. Lauren calls the authorities, and Mamie is taking into custody but not before Lauren meets Bethany and experiences first-hand the holier-than-thou attitude she takes with respect to everyone around her; she even calls her company Better Than Any Pet Rescues. Mamie is released a few days later pending a full investigation, but Lauren is taken aback once again when Mamie calls her in a panic: "Lauren? Please, help me! I'm at Better Than Any Pet Rescues. I'm with Bethany … and she's dead!"
Johnston is clearly passionate about animal rescue and shelter operations, the scope and depth of which tend to dominate the murder mystery plot in The More the Terrier. The dynamics within the business — and it is indeed a very dynamic business — are very interesting … up to a point. A lack of balance illustrates what is probably the most serious issue with this book as a cozy-style mystery, that the murder investigation always seems far removed from — and of significantly less importance to — the business itself. A smaller problem — and this may be unique to this book as opposed to the series as a whole — is that Lauren seems rather aloof and not terribly committed to playing the role of amateur sleuth here. True, her old friend was doing something she abhors and the murder victim wasn't all that much of a credit to the business as a whole, so she doesn't have much invested in the outcome, regardless of who's guilty. It isn't until her personal safety is threatened late in the book that she seems to take a more focused interest in the case.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The More the Terrier for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Berkley Prime Crime (Mass Market Paperback), March 2011
ISBN-13: 9780425240212; ISBN-10: 0425240215
Location(s) referenced in The More the Terrier: Los Angeles, California
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The More the Terrier by Linda O. Johnston — A Lauren Vancouver "Pet Rescue" Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: October 2011
List Price: $7.99