play-deadLounging in the back yard with your pup? Pick up  Play Dead by David Rosenfelt to while away the afternoon. Lawyer Andy Carpenter is a smart aleck, with the redeeming quality of his love for dogs (he used a windfall to found the Tara Foundation – named for his golden retriever).

A trend in mysteries  is the deployment of pets as an integral part of the plot. There’s long been a tradition of cat mysteries (Lilian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown) and now man’s best friend is catching up. Try  The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Carol Lea Benjamin or one of Susan Conant’s many (such as New Leash on Death ). After reading about their crime-solving skills, you may look at your dog with new respect.

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