cover image The Curse of the Cockers

The Curse of the Cockers

Gerald Hammond. St. Martin's Press, $18.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-312-10446-7

Hammond offers readers more death and dog lore in the latest adventure (after Give a Dog a Name ) of Scots kennel owners, Falklands veteran John Cunningham and his wife Beth. A hit and run claims the life of a petty thief on a remote road on New Year's Eve. The incident leaves a spaniel pup abandoned. Another pup is found at the scene of a brutal killing in nearby Dundee. The Cunninghams are a soft touch when it comes to dogs in distress; their largesse extends to John's army friend Angus Todd, who is suspected of the hit and run and looks to have been expertly framed. Soon the Cunninghams are hunting down a killer. Hammond, in this series and his Keith Calder mysteries, gives us quintessential Scots: dour, pragmatic and tight-lipped to a fault. Though readers might wish for fuller development of his characters' psyches, especially regarding John's recurring illness and melancholy, Hammond doesn't scant plot or canine lore. Overall, this series continues to deliver, especially for dog-loving readers. (Mar.)