cover image LEAD A HORSE TO MURDER: A Reigning Cats & Dogs Mystery

LEAD A HORSE TO MURDER: A Reigning Cats & Dogs Mystery

Cynthia Baxter, . . Bantam, $6.99 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-553-58643-5

An early morning call brings Jessica Popper, D.V.M., to Heatherfield, an exclusive Long Island estate, in Baxter's cleverly constructed mystery chock-full of dysfunctional characters all hiding motives for murder. While tending to the sprained tendon of one of Andrew MacKinnon's prized horses, Jessie admires a breathtakingly skilled and handsome polo player practicing off in the distance. But by the time she's helped the horse back to health, the polo player, Eduardo Garcia, has been poisoned to death. Jessie can't get the image of the talented Argentine horseman out of her mind, and despite her humble roots, manages to ingratiate herself into MacKinnon's world and gain entrée to Heatherfield's many polo soirees and events. In a series of unlikely, though amusing, social maneuvers, Jessie gets to know everyone from Callie, MacKinnon's overweight and surly daughter, to Inez, the observant Puerto Rican maid, in an effort to solve the crime. Baxter (Putting on the Dog ) relies at times on clunky dialogue to plug in needed details about the intricacies of polo, but this isn't likely to stop readers—and particularly pet lovers—from savoring this delightful cozy. Agent, Faith Hamlin. (May)