From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Aug. 21st, 2010
In the library last week, I found a new-to-me dog mystery writer. Carol Lea Benjamin writes a series featuring private detective Rachel Alexander and her intrepid Pit Bull partner Dashiell (as in Hammett), Dash for short. I have so far only read The Wrong Dog which is about cloning of dogs. The dog who is cloned is a Bull Terrier, a “seizure alert” dog for her person who has severe epilepsy.
It’s a good story with quite a bit of information about dogs’ ability to sense an impending seizure and how they respond in such an event. It also talks about the issue of cloning, not so much technical information, but more ethical. What would be the ramifications if we could clone our canine best friend? Would personality and emotional response be identical or just the physical characteristics? Can inherent talents like sensing seizures be passed on? These types of questions are wrapped in a story of good guys and bad guys, money and loneliness, all set in NYC’s Greenwich Village.
Dashiell doesn’t do the intellectual work of detecting, but he’s good at finding clues and he’s great protection for Rachel. I didn’t get much of a sense of what Rachel looks like – partly because in this book at least, Benjamin doesn’t say much about her appearance. Also, when seeing the name, I kept thinking of the filly who won the 2009 Kentucky Oaks and Preakness. I’m quite sure the two Rachels don’t look alike.
Carol Lea Benjamin is a dog trainer with several fiction and non-fiction dog books to her credit, and a former detective. Next time I’m at the library, I’ll be getting out another Rachel and Dash mystery.