Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Doberman Wore Black: Review

The Doberman Wore Black (1983) is the first of two mysteries by Barbara Moore which feature Gordon Christy, a recent veterinary school graduate. Christy has been working in Denver, but longs to practice in the mountains. When Dr. Potter needs someone to fill in at his practice in Vail, Colorado, Christy jumps at the opportunity. He hasn't even made it to the mountain resort town when he first encounters the Doberman.

She is sitting in the back of a recklessly-driven MG that forces him off the road. The next time he sees her, she is guarding the body of the reckless driver who has been shot and killed in an elegant condominium. The police call him in to handle the dog so they can investigate the crime scene and then ask him to take her to Potter's clinic and keep tabs on her until the mystery is solved. It isn't long before Christy realizes that they were justified in worrying about their "star witness." Someone takes a shot or two at her when he takes her for a walk and later she is fed antifreeze while in the outside run at the clinic. What is it that the Doberman will do if she sees the killer that has him/her so worried?  Christy's growing attachment to the dog and MG's real owner lead him further into the mystery...until the killer finally sees the young vet as a threat as well.

This is a fairly uncomplicated, light cozy mystery. Christy is not heavy into detecting and there really aren't a lot of clues strewn about. But the setting is good, the veterinary practice makes a nice background and we learn quite a bit about the various dog breeds and treatments without feeling like we're in the middle of a veterinary info dump. The characters are reasonably well-drawn and one has hopes that Moore is able to build on her solid beginning in the second installment. ★★★ for a pleasant, comfortable read.

[Note: I just went on a little hunt for the second book. It looks like one's hopes might be dashed. The reviews I've found are not encouraging and, given that there were no more books after The Wolf Whispered Death, I suspect it did not do well. I'm also mildly confused. A big deal is made about how Christy longs for a job in the mountains. And at the end of the book it looks like he's all set to be a partner in Dr. Potter's practice in Colorado. So, why the heck does the next book have him in Arizona????]

This fulfills the "Dog" category on the Vintage Silver Scavenger Hunt.

All challenges fulfilled: Vintage Mystery Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Triple Dog Dare, My Kind of Mystery, Mystery Reporter, Cloak & Dagger, Color Coded Challenge, Charity Challenge, Outdo Yourself, 100 Plus Challenge, Women Challenge, Mad Reviewer, What an Animal, Cruizin Thru the Cozies


Gram said...

I read both of them years ago and hoped for more...didn't find them.

fredamans said...

Sometimes a light cozy is exactly what I need, so I will keep this book in mind. I am drawn to the dog theme any how.

Jacquie said...

I had both those paperbacks until about 2 years ago when I went through a major purging of my shelves. Wish I had the second one now to give to you. :)

Bev Hankins said...

Kind thought, Jacqueline. I wonder if you remember what you thought of the second one? The reviews I found weren't too promising.

Barb said...

Cute cover and I may see if I can get my hands on at least the first one. I am a sucker for dogs.