cover image A Nose for Justice

A Nose for Justice

Rita Mae Brown, Ballantine, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-345-51181-2

Wings Ranch near Reno, owned by Jeep Reed, who served as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot) during WWII, provides the appealing backdrop for the intriguing first in a new, canine-centered series from bestseller Brown (Cat of the Century). One of Nevada's wealthiest women, Jeep has outlived two "life partners," Daniel Marks and Dorothy Jocham, and welcomes a visit from her great-niece, former Wall Street banker Magdalene "Mags" Rogers. Suspicious explosions of local water pumps disturb their peace, along with an environmentalist's shooting "suicide" and a pump company employee's disappearance. Jeep, Mags, and their two dogs—King, a shepherd mix, and Baxter, a wire-haired dachshund—also discover a really cold corpse and, among the bones, a 19th-century Russian "Star of Guard" ring buried in Jeep's barn. The water issues subplot slows the action at times and the dogs don't have enough to do, but the search for the skeleton's identity will keep most readers turning the pages. (Oct.)