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Caturday Reads: Andy Carpenter returns in The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

An Andy Carpenter Mystery

by David Rosenfelt

St. Martin's Press

Minotaur Books

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 18 Oct 2016


Some writers are gifted humorists. Others are gifted mystery authors. David Rosenfelt just happens to be both. The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is not a humorous mystery. Rosenfelt's trademark, self deprecating wit enlivens an otherwise serious story. It is his wit, along with his complex and always fascinating legal mysteries that keeps readers coming back for more...that and the dogs.

Defense Lawyer Andy Carpenter prefers caring for dogs to fighting courtroom battles. That doesn't stop him from taking Pup's case. After the successful resolution of a civil dispute regarding the legality of Pups fostering puppies in her home, the neighbor who complained is found murdered. Pups is the obvious suspect. Andy Carpenter knows she is innocent, but proving it means finding the real killer.

Part of what I like about this series is that it approaches investigations from the defending lawyers standpoint. It is a refreshing departure from the standard amateur detective or police procedural novel (both of which I love). Also, as an animal lover, I find the fact that every story involves dogs is greatly appealing. The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is set during the holidays, but I wouldn't call it a Christmas novel. It can definitely be enjoyed all year round. (Still it would make a fantastic present for animal lovers on your list.)


I received a copy of The Twelve Dogs of Christmas from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Defense lawyer Andy Carpenter usually tries to avoid taking on new cases at all costs. But this time, he’s happy—eager, even—to take the case that’s just come his way. Andy’s long-time friend Martha “Pups” Boyer takes in stray puppies that the local dog rescue center can’t handle, raises them until they’re old enough to adopt, and then finds good homes for them. Not everyone admires the work Pups does as much as Andy does, however. With Christmas just around the corner, one of Pups’s neighbors has just reported Pups to the city for having more than the legal number of pets in her home under the local zoning laws.

Andy happily takes Pups’s case, and he feels confident in a positive outcome. Who could punish someone for rescuing puppies, after all, especially at Christmastime? But things get a lot more complicated when Randy Hennessey, the neighbor who registered the complaint against Pups, turns up dead. Pups had loudly and publicly threatened Hennessey after he filed his complaint, and Pups was also the one to find his body. All the evidence seems to point to Pups as the killer, and suddenly Andy has a murder case on his hands. He doesn’t believe Pups could be guilty, but as he starts digging deeper into the truth behind Hennessey’s murder, Andy may find himself facing a killer more dangerous than he ever imagined.

With his trademark wit, larger-than-life characters, and clever plotting, David Rosenfelt delivers another gripping mystery.

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