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The Beastly Bloodline by Patricia Guiver
Reviewed by Ariellan Colt

     Patricia Guiver’s sixth adventure in her Delilah Doolittle Pet detective series takes Delilah to a guest ranch named the Lazy D. A silly argument while bird watching with long standing love interest, homicide detective Jack Mallory, over the identify of a feathered subject, leaves Delilah feeling frustrated. News that her cousin Hilda Dorsett-Bragg suspects her prize horse, the Duke of Paddington, was poisoned is just what Delilah needs to bring a new sense of purpose into her life. She drops everything to join the guests at the ranch for some undercover work. When two men are killed and a fire burns down the office, Delilah suspects the crimes and the horse’s death are connected. Her undercover work is saddened by disturbing indications that her cousin Hilda is giving conflicting and foolish instructions with regard to ranch management that some think are indicative of her failing memory. Misdirecting orders for food and supplies are troublesome but mild compared to the problems that arise when an entire troupe of boy scouts is lost somewhere on a camping trip planned by and originating from the Lazy D. The addition of anxious parents to the mix of characters already working or relaxing at the ranch makes the typical English Village mystery more like a crowded city adventure. Another interesting conflict is provided by two opposing Native American groups with conflicting attitudes about dealing with Indian remains found on the ranch. Here Guiver shows her depth of character development and compassion in presenting the delicate and conflicting goals: advancing scientific knowledge of ancient civilizations vs the desire of descendants for respecting historical remains by leaving them undisturbed. Both sides are presented as thoughtful, well-meaning and level headed groups, and the disturbing issues are skillfully woven into the plot. A page-turning read that has exciting depths.


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